עמוס גלעד
Amos Gilad
Photo: Alex Kolmoisky
An IDF soldier near the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan

Stop the madness of West Bank annexation

Opinion: Israel's potential annexation of the territory will not only ruin relations with Jordan, but will also destabilize the Palestinian Authority, allowing terrorist organizations to get a foothold in the strategic area

Amos Gilad |
Published: 05.13.20 , 14:44
Any annexation of territory in the West Bank would deal a harmful blow to Israel's national security, mainly by destabilizing the relatively calm border with Jordan.
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  • The Hashemite Kingdom has been an ally of the Jewish State since the 1994 peace treaty. The border region between the two states has even turned into a strategic security zone that spans all the way to Iraq.
    An IDF soldier near the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan An IDF soldier near the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan
    An IDF soldier near the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan
    (Photo: AP)
    This security zone no longer is home to those same Fedayeen guerillas that terrorized the nation during the 1950s. Aside from a few sporadic interactions, the border between the two states remains peaceful, and an "invisible hand" of the Jordanian security forces should be commended for that.
    Any application of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank - especially of the strategic Jordan Valley - will be perceived by the kingdom as a violation of the historic peace treaty.
    Such a move would undermine the Jordanian government in the eyes of its population, opening the door for Iran and their proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, to finally get their foot into the strategic area.
    Why would Israel risk its national security with such brash and irrational political decisions?
    The quiet on the Jordanian border is rooted in the security cooperation with the kingdom as well as the relative calm in the Palestinian Authority-ruled areas of the West Bank - achieved through blood, sweat and tears.
    The signing of the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan The signing of the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan
    The signing of the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan
    (Photo: GPO)
    It should be remembered that the mere existence of the Palestinian Authority as a result of the agreements between Israel and The Palestine Liberation Organization.
    If, by any chance Jerusalem steers away from the clauses agreed upon in the Oslo Accords, the continued existence of the PA would be meaningless, and the area would plunge into chaos.
    The breakdown of the PA and the downfall of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - whose policies of non-violence would be viewed as irrelevant by the population - could eventually put Hamas and other terror groups in power in the West Bank.
    Again, why Israel risk destabilizing the West Bank and strengthening these terror organization? The collapse of the PA would force Israel to militarily occupy the West Bank, which is a burden on Israel's economy and military.
     יו"ר הרשות הפלסטינית אבו מאזן יו"ר הרשות הפלסטינית אבו מאזן
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, with PA officials
    (Photo: Reuters)
    A quiet eastern front in times when the northern and southern borders are boiling, is an asset to Israel's security.
    Israel's former army chiefs, some of whom are part of the new unity government, know the importance of stability along the Jordanian border. Some of them were directly involved in achieving that stability.
    The annexation could also open a diplomatic front against European nations, which could pose serious damage to Israel's economy and risk of a never-ending battle with the International Criminal Court and other international law organizations.
    The security in the Jordan Valley should be bolstered by a different method, not through populist actions which will fuel the anti-Israeli sentiment felt by the Jordanian public.
     U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    For example, encouraging Israeli families to migrate to the region, raising the population from a few thousand to tens of thousands.
    Security for Israel is of the utmost importance and there is no need for such moves to risk our defensive initiatives in the area.
    A greater question that must be answered is what will the character of such an Israel: a nation whose borders span from the Jordan River to the Sea and who's Jewish population is no longer a majority – a genuine threat to its future.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a true friend of Israel and therefore he should be convinced during his visit to pull the plan of annexation out of the proposed American peace plan.

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