Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank will lead to the outbreak of violence in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian analysts have warned.
Israel is set to hold a Cabinet vote on July 1 to annex major settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank under US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” plan.
The land grab is opposed by the Palestinians, who threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it went ahead with the annexation, which will further undermine the two-state solution.
The UN earlier warned that the Israeli annexation of Palestinian land would lead to the outbreak of conflict and instability in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Last week, Palestinian resistance group Hamas described the Israeli annexation plan as a “declaration of war” against the Palestinians.
On Friday, the Israeli army said two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel without causing any damage. No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The rocket fire was a serious message on the repercussions of the annexation,” Palestinian journalist Khaldoun Barghouti told Anadolu Agency.
He said Israeli officials called for dealing seriously with threats against the annexation. “The violent Israeli response to the rocket fire also carries a message to Gaza about any possible escalation.”
Barghouti expected that the response of the Gazans to the annexation might range between resuming the weekly protests along Gaza’s buffer zone and military escalation.
"It is hard for Hamas and other factions to remain silent in light of what is happening in the West Bank,” he said.
Palestinian analyst Wadei Abunassar warned that any military escalation in Gaza could develop into a war.
“It is hard to predict the possible scenario of escalation in Gaza, which could escalate into an open war,” he told Anadolu Agency.
"Previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas were not planned. They all started as an escalation and developed into a war.”
He said failure to reach an understanding between Hamas and Israel on issues such as ceasefire and lifting the siege could cause any escalation to turn into a war."Any limited escalation could turn into a war if mediators failed to contain it,” he said.
Adnan Abu Amer, a Palestinian expert in Israeli affairs, said Gaza has always been a “main front” in responding to any Israeli aggression.
"Gaza may respond to the Israeli annexation plan, because its capabilities are greater than the besieged West Bank,” he said.
He, however, believes that any response to the annexation that emanates from inside the West Bank would have a greater impact than Gaza.
“The scene of confrontation will be in the West Bank, while Gaza will be ready for support,” he said.