Annexation now, perhaps peace later

Opinion: Even if Israel only controls 30% of the West Bank, it is a message to the world - both allies and enemies - that the Jewish state is here to stay and it will no longer evacuate legal settlements and those who lawfully live in them

Tzvika Vogel|
Prepare, because the moment of truth is nigh. The IDF will need to prepare to answer the threats coming from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Those two fronts are becoming too heated to cool down on their own.
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  • Hezbollah and Hamas have gathered their strength and each is prepared to escalate their own 20-year war of attrition against Israel.
    5 View gallery
    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 Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Likud officials, visiting the Jordan Valley region
    (Photo: AP)
    In order to prevent such an escalation from spreading to the Syrian border and the West Bank, Israel must be the first to strike and formulate a precise strategy for future operations.
    The terrorist nations on the northern and southwestern borders of Israel know that they are on the cusp of a historic moment.
    The shadow governments of Hezbollah and Hamas have already come to the conclusion that either they tire Israel out and force concessions that will weaken it or Jerusalem will force a reality that doesn't match their visions.
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    A Hamas rally in the West Bank city of Nablus
    A Hamas rally in the West Bank city of Nablus
    A Hamas rally in the West Bank city of Nablus
    The annexation of territories in the West Bank is the building block of this reality. Israel will hold only 30% of the region, but the sheer act of application of sovereignty is a message that we are here to stay and a message to surrounding nations that their illusions of kicking us out are gone.
    We will no longer evacuate legal settlements and those who lawfully live in them.
    In the Middle East, when strength doesn't decide, there cannot be an agreement beneficial for all sides.
    When there isn't a single and clear winner, every side thinks it deserves more than it should get, therefore there will always be a reason to not sign or adhere to agreements.
    U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan is both beneficial and harmful to a certain degree for both sides.
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    הבית הלבן
    הבית הלבן
    U.S. President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu presenting the American peace plan at the White House in January
    (Photo: AP)
    This unfortunately increases the probability that it won't become a reality without a unilateral, decisive decision. Only a determination and willingness to show national and military strength will create a normative daily routine for both Israel and the Palestinians.
    Control over the Jordan Valley and Area C of the West Bank are the justified basis for a peace plan.
    It's not annexation, but merely an expansion of existing settlements. We have no need to control hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, but to protect Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and be prepared to answer any threat to us.
    It is only right and beneficial for the Palestinians to focus on their own issues instead of thinking about how to hurt us. The development of the Jordan Valley will help mark a permanent border, which will be to our strength in all future peace plans.
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    Fedayeen of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Jordan, early 1969
    Fedayeen of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Jordan, early 1969
    Fighters from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Jordan, early 1969
    (Photo: Archive)
    Keeping Jerusalem and Tel Aviv safe starts in the Jordan Valley; even Jordanian King Abdullah does not want a Palestinian state on his border. Although he was 8 at the time, he firmly remembers the events of Black September in 1970, when his father King Hussein fought Yasser Arafat.
    The peace agreement between Israel and Jordan is an asset for both. The Jordanians will not so quickly give up on the water, natural gas and intelligence Israel provides them. Their dependency on the U.S. as well is what allows us to have civil conversations with them.
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    דונלד טראמפ פגישה עם מלך ירדן
    דונלד טראמפ פגישה עם מלך ירדן
    King Abdullah of Jordan and U.S. President Donald Trump
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Jordan knows Israel is a key component in the peace process, not an obstacle.
    The only question that remains is whether the current unity government is brave enough to take control of the future and rule, or like all previous administrations of the past 20 years, fold and stick their heads in the sand to continue a pointless conflict.
    Justice and right are on our side. The power and morality of the IDF allows us to seize the historical opportunity to end Hezbollah and Hamas' extortion and rid Israel of these threats.
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