ז'אן-דניאל רוח, עמוס ידלין, גדעון המבורגר
Amos Yadlin
Photo: Dror Eitan
Palestinians protest in Ramallah against Israel's West Bank annexation plan

The consequence of annexation

Opinion: If the annexation of the West Bank does indeed come to pass, it will surely cost us economically, internationally, and morally - and even if there were no price to pay for this measure, it is blatantly anti-Zionist

Amos Yadlin |
Published: 06.04.20 , 21:45
There is widespread public consensus in Israel that the West Bank settlements blocs and the region westwards of the security fence will transfer to Israeli control, and that security in the Jordan Valley will remain in the hands of the IDF.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter
  • All this will come to pass, but in a future arrangement and not through the annexation plan currently being touted, whose timing is exceedingly poor and which will negatively affect Israel’s national security.
    הפגנות של פלסטינים ברמאללההפגנות של פלסטינים ברמאללה
    Palestinians protest in Ramallah against Israel's West Bank annexation plan
    (Photo: AFP)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to believe that the window of opportunity presented by having a friend in the White House may close in six months.
    This is why he is in such a hurry to present the Knesset with a plan to annex 30 percent of the West Bank, in accordance with U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan.
    הבית הלבןהבית הלבן
    Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu stands beside U.S. President Donald Trump as he unveils his Mideast peace plan at the White House in January
    (Photo: Reuters)
    By going through with such a move, Netanyahu is making two mistakes.
    Firstly, he will harm the important fight to stop Iran's nuclear progress, and secondly, he will put Israel at security, political, strategic, economic and moral risk.
    The Trump administration is busy dealing with the coronavirus crisis, the inter-superpower confrontation with China and the wave of riots throughout the country, leaving the administration with little time to spare for the Middle East.
    מהומות במינסוטהמהומות במינסוטה
    Protests in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd by a local police officer
    (Photo: AFP)
    Therefore, it is important that in our discussions with the Americans, we focus on the Iranian nuclear program.
    Iran continues to accumulate enriched materials, operate advanced centrifuges, and shorten the timetable until it passes the nuclear threshold from a year to only six months.
    International support is key to stopping Iran’s progress, as is the open and confidential cooperation with the Arab world against it.
    הפגנות בעזההפגנות בעזה
    Palestinians protest in Gaza against Donald Trump's peace plan
    (Photo: EPA)
    However, the move to annex parts of the West Bank will serve to shift the international community’s focus from Iran to Israel, encourage wall-to-wall criticism and throttle normalization and cooperation efforts with the pragmatic and anti-Iranian Sunni world, all while jeopardizing long-standing peace agreements.
    Declarative unilateral annexation does not provide Israel with any strategic benefit, only risks and costs.
    Israel has succeeded in convincing its friends around the globe that its hold on the West Bank is the result of Palestinian refusal to accept any and all peace plans, and a necessity due to security considerations.
    Annexation, though, will put Israel in the shoes of the one that refuses peace.
    The Jordan Valley, near the Sea of Galilee The Jordan Valley, near the Sea of Galilee
    The Jordan Valley, near the Sea of Galilee
    (Photo: Ynet)
    Furthermore, there is no security justification for such a move.
    The Jordan Valley today is under complete IDF control, with the 417th Regional Brigade defending the eastern border in close and inspiring cooperation with the Jordanian army.
    The process of annexation will not improve Israel’s security situation, but will surely make it worse - given the damage it will inflict on Jordan, as well as the peace treaty and military and security cooperation between the two countries.
    It will most likely also spark riots and acts of terrorism in the West Bank, cause incitement in Gaza, and divert the IDF’s attention from threats on the northern front and Iran to threats in the West Bank.
    הפגנות של פלסטינים ברמאללההפגנות של פלסטינים ברמאללה
    Protests against the annexation in Ramallah
    (Photo: EPA)
    Politically, there is no country in the world - excluding Trump’s United States - that will accept the annexation and recognize its borders.
    For the country that is in the midst of a battle to harness the world to fight the Iranian nuclear threat and the precision-missile system in Lebanon, it makes no sense to shift the gaze of Europe, Russia and China to the West Bank.
    In economic terms, the European Union - Israel's main trading partner - is threatening to rethink relations. China is no alternative to the EU , because increasing economic relations would also increase tensions with the United States.
    In addition, the map of Trump’s "deal of the century" paints a very long border for Israel, one of some 16,800 km (10,439 miles). Fencing such a lengthy frontier would cost at least NIS 160 billion.
    EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret and President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret and President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem
    EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret and President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem
    (Photo: EU Delegation to Israel)
    And finally, in the fight against Iran, Israel has the moral high ground. The Iranians constantly threaten Israel's existence, ensuring the support of the international community when it comes to self-defense.
    On the Palestinian issue, however, the world sees the two-state solution as the more ethical solution and significant annexation in the West Bank will put Israel in the position of a rogue state.
    And in any event, even if there were no costs for the annexation process, such a move is blatantly anti-Zionist and will prevent the possibility of future separation from the Palestinians while safeguarding Israel as a Jewish, democratic, secure and moral state.
    Talkbacks for this article 0