Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Dror Yemini
Photo: Ynet
Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Jordan Valley promoting annexation of parts of the West Bank

Right-wing to blame for annexation delay

Opinion: Ministers from Netanyahu's own Likud party have yet to come out in support of the Trump peace plan, fearing it will at best include a freeze on settlement construction or at worst the establishment of Palestinian state

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 06.08.20, 23:23
There is no map outlining the boundaries for the annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel.
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  • Neither ministers nor IDF commanders have not seen one - and it is doubtful that even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself is familiar with such a map.
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    בנימין נתניהו בטקס נטיעת עץ לרגל חג ט"ו בשבט בבקעת הירדן
    בנימין נתניהו בטקס נטיעת עץ לרגל חג ט"ו בשבט בבקעת הירדן
    Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Jordan Valley promoting annexation of parts of the West Bank
    (Photo: AP)
    He may not know what parts of the West Bank would be approved for annexation by the U.S. administration - if any.
    The only map in existence is in the "Peace and Prosperity" document, the official Trump Middle East peace plan revealed earlier this year, and that map is in stark contradiction to any ideas raised by the Israeli right in past decades.
    The only right-winger - and who is still a right-winger - to ever agree to divide the Land of Israel and essentially cede at least 90% of Judea and Samaria is Benjamin Netanyahu.
    It happened in 2014, when Israel agreed to the first draft of a plan presented by then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Jerusalem in 2014
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Jerusalem in 2014
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Jerusalem in 2014
    (Photo: GPO)
    Avigdor Liberman, who at the time was defense minister, and Tzipi Livni, then justice minister and head of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, both supported Netanyahu's position. Neither was a member of Netanyahu's Likud party.
    Opposition came from within the Likud, and especially from Moshe Ya'alon, then Netanyahu's No. 2 in the party, who was fiercely against the Kerry plan.
    No one in the Likud came out in support of the U.S. plan, nor had they supported Netanyahu's 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University in which he advocated a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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    Benjamin Netanyahu delivering his landmark 2009 speech on the peace process at Bar-Ilan University
    Benjamin Netanyahu delivering his landmark 2009 speech on the peace process at Bar-Ilan University
    Benjamin Netanyahu delivering his landmark 2009 speech on the peace process at Bar-Ilan University
    (Photo: Michael Kramer)
    In fact, the Trump peace plan as it was presented, has not won support from any Likud member to this day.
    The right-wing is united in its opposition to the plan, with some concerned that it will lead to a construction freeze in the settlements and others fearing it will ultimately lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    Still, those supporting the move to annex parts of the West Bank say Israel should take what is on offer now and that the Palestinians can be relied on to reject the Trump plan. Therefore, they say, the danger of a Palestinian state being established is non-existent.
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    מסיבת עיתונאים באוהל הריבונות" במטרה לקדם את סיפוח הבקעה וגושי ההתיישבות עוד לפני הבחירות
    מסיבת עיתונאים באוהל הריבונות" במטרה לקדם את סיפוח הבקעה וגושי ההתיישבות עוד לפני הבחירות
    Settlement leaders oppose annexation under the Trump peace plan
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    A move to annex parts of the West Bank will pose many challenges to Israel's relations with Jordan and will evoke a European response with sanctions having already been threatened.
    Right-wing voters may differ in their view of annexation from their leaders.
    Polling shows though many on the right support Israel extending its sovereignty over West Bank territory, but a majority of them say it must be done only with the backing of the United States.
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    הפגנה מחאה שמאל נגד סיפוח שטחים דמוקרטיה כיכר רבין תל אביב
    הפגנה מחאה שמאל נגד סיפוח שטחים דמוקרטיה כיכר רבין תל אביב
    Israelis protest in Tel Aviv against West Bank annexation
    (Photo: AFP)
    The American position remains unclear. Presidential advisor and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is keenly aware of the discourse taking place in Israel in recent days and has surely been advised that he has been branded an enemy of the settler movement.
    A suspension of annexation would be blamed on those vocal elements on the right - and the Israeli left should only be grateful.
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