The dire consequences of territorial annexation

The formation of an Israeli coalition government led by Netanyahu and Gantz, the leaders of Likud and Kahol Lavan, respectively, will finally end Israel's nearly 18-month political paralysis and, for now, personal rivalry after three elections. Both agreed on a number of important socio-economic and security issues. The most threatening issue they have strongly embraced, however, is the annexation of a substantial part of the Palestinian territories based on Trump's "Peace to Prosperity" plan. If Israel moves to implement the plan, it will lead to sinister consequences and drastically change Israel's character as a democratic Jewish state.

For more than ten years, Netanyahu magically used fear tactics to portray the establishment of a Palestinian state as an existential threat to Israel and promised to never allow this to happen under his watch. The annexation of large areas of the Palestinian territory will in effect exclude any possibility for the Palestinians to have their own state. Gantz accompanying Netanyahu is deeply disappointing and alarming. As a former IDF chief of staff, he knows that Israel's national security depends not on military muscles, as time has shown, but on ending the conflict with the Palestinians by establishing an independent and stable Palestinian state that collaborates fully in all countries. security issues affecting both countries.

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Unfortunately, however, the Palestinians, especially Hamas, played directly in the hands of Netanyahu, refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist and for its repeated violent provocations, which gave Netanyahu the ammunition he needs to justify his claim. that the Palestinians are more willing to destroy than Israel. coexist peacefully with Israel. Furthermore, the fact that the Palestinians missed several opportunities to reach a peace agreement with Israel and continue to indoctrinate generation after generation with anti-Israeli sentiments made it easier for Netanyahu to defend his position against the Palestinians.

Now that Netanyahu has eliminated any serious opposition challenges, despite disregarding the Palestinians' vehemence against annexation, he has put Israel on the path to an unprecedented violent confrontation with the Palestinians. In fact, once the annexation is approved, it will be impossible to reverse. Israel will build new and expand existing settlements and will inevitably violate Palestinian property rights, as it will be involved in the demolition of houses and expulsion, while controlling natural resources, challenging international law.

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Under such serious violations of human rights, Palestinians will have little to lose. Indeed, regardless of Israel's overwhelming military power, in a time of complete despair and hopelessness, the Palestinians will rise and unite. They will be willing to die honorably, instead of living in bondage and giving up their beloved state dream.

For me and the former Israelis in the military and intelligence communities, the prospect of a Palestinian uprising is a given. If Netanyahu and Gantz ignore him, it will be at their own risk and risk that they are planting the seeds of the Palestinian revolt; the question will be only when.

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Netanyahu, however, is counting on Trump to provide political support and put pressure on several key Arab states to convince Palestinians to follow the plans. After all, Trump's plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state within four years. However, a closer look at the Trump agreement and the extent of land annexation it involves clearly exposes that, under that plan, the prospect of creating a Palestinian state is just a scam.

Part of the agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz includes two articles that clearly indicate their intention to annex parts of the West Bank, according to Trump's Prosperity Peace plan:

"28. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister will act together and in coordination, in order to advance peace agreements with all our neighbors and to advance regional cooperation in various economic spheres….

“In everything related to the statement made by President Trump, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister will act in full agreement with the United States, including the issue of maps for Americans and international dialogue on the issue, while working hard. to preserve the strategic and security interests of the State of Israel, including the need to maintain regional stability, maintain peace accords and pursue future peace accords.

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"29. Despite what is written in… Article 28 above, and after discussion and consultation between the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister on the principles described above, as of July 1, 2020, the Prime Minister may bring the agreement reached with the United States States regarding the extension of sovereignty for discussion by the cabinet and the government and for the approval of the government and / or the Knesset. [emphasis added]"

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The problem is that neither Netanyahu nor Gantz understand Trump's real agenda, or just ignore it, because it doesn't really matter to them. In fact, what matters is that Trump materializes Netanyahu's vision, which Gantz seems to share, which is the establishment of Israel's sovereignty and control over the entire biblical Jewish land that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. They want to believe that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the transfer of the American embassy to the holy city only attests to his commitment to Israel's national aspiration and sees his "peace plan" as a reaffirmation of where he really is.

In reality, Trump doesn't give a damn about Israel's security and well-being – his only interest is in securing political support from the significant evangelical constituency, for whom Israel is the channel for the Messiah's return. In early July, Netanyahu hopes to receive the green light from Trump to move on with the annexation plans, scheduled to give Trump the political momentum he needs as the election campaign runs high. Furthermore, given the deadly spread of the coronavirus and the increasing fatalities, coupled with the severe economic crisis and the loss of more than 30 million jobs, Trump needs the support of evangelicals more than ever.

These developments provide Palestinians, especially Hamas, with the opportunity to thwart the Netanyahu and Gantz scheme, declaring that they are ready to unconditionally enter into good faith negotiations that would lead to peace and security based on a two-state solution, as described in various peace agreements agreed by both sides. The Palestinians cannot miss this opportunity because, once the Trump plan is implemented, their prospect of establishing a Palestinian state will diminish if they do not die completely, and violence will become the order of the day on which both sides will suffer greatly.

The impact on Israel will be no less dire if Netanyahu and Gantz continue with these annexation plans. Certain developments will certainly occur: the violence between Israel and the Palestinians will only intensify; Jordan and Egypt may well cut off their diplomatic relations, if they do not annul their peace treaties with Israel; the Gulf states that tacitly cooperate with Israel on the security and intelligence fronts will end their cooperation; the EU will condemn Israel's blind ambition in the strongest terms; dozens of countries will recognize the Palestinian state; the BDS movement would intensify significantly; anti-Semitism will reach new heights never seen before; Israel will become a pariah state; and peace will deceive Israelis as far as the eye can see.

Anyone who cares about Israel's democracy and its future national security and well-being must make its voice heard. Sooner or later, Trump will leave the political scene, and the wreckage he will leave in his wake, with the help of Netanyahu and Gantz, will be at the expense of Israel. Israel will lose its founders' vision of being a Jewish, democratic and independent state, and tragically it will lose its very raison d'être.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir …

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