• Highway-to-Annexation-Final.pdf
    December 2020 - Breaking the Silence

    (...) Introduction While the threat of de jure Israeli annexation of West Bank territory has lessened, de facto annexation is accelerating at a rapid and alarming pace. The Israeli political Right has stated that it hopes to grow the population to 1,000,000 settlers.1 Even if such a number is not reached, the significant road and transportation development projects that the Israeli government has advanced in the past five years make it plausible that the current settler population could double in the coming decades.Settlement expansion cannot take place without the parallel development of road, water, and electricity infrastructure. Because of this, when tracking settlement expansion, it is important to track not only the number of new housing units, which is the most common benchmark used today, but also the development of settlement infrastructure. The last major wave of transportation infrastructure development in the West Bank occurred following the Oslo Accords in the second half of the 1990s. Since then, the settler population has almost tripled. Yet infrastructure growth has not tripled correspondingly, such that today’s road and transportation infrastructure in the West Bank is at its limits and no longer suffices to serve the population, posing a significant obstacle to further settlement expansion. In order to continue to advance the Israeli settlement enterprise, massive infrastructure development and growth is necessary. There are currently dozens of new road construction projects underway or in planning in the West Bank. This construction work, which is part of the vision described in a new Israeli master plan for road and transportation development in the West Bank for the year 2045, points to continued and intensified de facto annexation. Following the formation of a coalition government in Israel in April 2020, the terms of which allowed for annexation of West Bank territory as early as July 1, 2020, attention was rightfully drawn towards the looming threat of de jure annexation. Due to the terms of the recent normalization agreements between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as the election of US President-Elect Joe Biden, the threat of dejure annexation has lessened. However, Israel’s West Bank infrastructure development work demonstrates that its longstanding policy of de facto annexation is accelerating at an unprecedented and devastating pace. This report details the ways in which road and transportation infrastructure projects further entrench Israel’s deepening hold on the occupied territories through continued suburbanization of Israeli settlements and the fragmentation of Palestinian territory, which together contribute to further cementing the reality of one state with unequal rights. All those invested in an equitable and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should see these projects as a clear declaration of Israel’s intent to further advance annexation, and the international community must intervene to halt such moves (...)