Shimrit Meir
Shimrit Meir
Photo: Tali Shani
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, meets with the settler leadership during a trip to Washington in January

Netanyahu badly timed his annexation schedule

Opinion: In the midst of national emergency and violent clashes on streets across America, the Trump administration may not want to deal with ramifications of PM's plans for West Bank settlements and Jordan Valley

Shimrit Meir |
Published: 06.02.20 , 23:30
There has never been an American administration with such close ties to the Israeli right-wing as that of Donald J. Trump.
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  • But the fact that settler leaders are welcome guests at the newly relocated U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and even at the White House has gone to their heads.
    בנימין נתניהו בפגישה עם ראשי מועצת ישע יהודה ושומרון בנימין נתניהו בפגישה עם ראשי מועצת ישע יהודה ושומרון
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, meets with the settler leadership during a trip to Washington in January
    (Photo: Yesha Council)
    Now they believe they can reject an American offer to green light the annexation of 30% of the West Bank on the grounds that it is not enough.
    In previous U.S. administrations, the position of Israeli security officials was always a major factor in decisions regarding the Mideast and American foreign policy in the region.
    Israel would in fact be asked to give the stamp of approval before policy was decided and opinions from the Israeli left and the right would be heard.
    But the current administration is now considering whether navigating Israel's political extremes is worth the trouble in the midst of its own national emergency.
    Settler leader Yossi Dagan, left, with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman Settler leader Yossi Dagan, left, with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
    Settler leader Yossi Dagan, left, with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
    (Photo: Archive)
    How, when police are clashing with protesters on streets all over the country, can Jared Kushner have time to listen to Israelis argue?
    On Monday, the UAE foreign minister posted on his Twitter account a call to end talk of annexation of Palestinian land.
    The tweet most likely came with a blessing from Saudi Arabia. It could be seen as a message to both Washington and Jerusalem: if the Arab nation most open to normalizing ties with Israel comes out against West Bank annexation, its position will be heard.
    The premise in Israel is that Arab nations will condemn annexation; that is a given. The question is, to what extent.
    Thus far, Egyptian, Saudi and even Jordanian reaction to the impending annexation has been minimal.
    Even the Palestinian street seems indifferent, despite the leadership in Ramallah making combative statements and announcing it has annulled all previous agreements with Israel and the United States - including on security.
    Tear gas fired by IDF troops falls among Palestinians protesting the construction of an outpost near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, Oct. 17, 2019Tear gas fired by IDF troops falls among Palestinians protesting the construction of an outpost near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, Oct. 17, 2019
    IDF troops fire tear gas at Palestinians protesting a new outpost near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, Oct. 17, 2019
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    The Palestinians are considering their next moves, which will begin with a boycott of all Israeli goods.
    One look at the images emerging from the streets of Minneapolis, New York, and Washington, D.C. in recent days shows how uprisings can erupt in a split second - in the West Bank as well as anywhere else in the world.
    ההפגנות בניו יורקההפגנות בניו יורק
    Protests in New York following the killing of George Floyd by a policeman now charged with his death
    (Photo: EPA)
    The economic difficulties in the Palestinian Authority compounded by months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic have created a critical mass of young, unemployed, and despondent men who could choose a violent path.
    It is time to make decisions and manage their ramifications. Too much uncertainty is dangerous.

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