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The race to annexation

January 15, 2020 at 3:29 am

Benny Gantz, leader of Israel’s largest opposition party Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) [Facebook]

We are witnessing the “annexation of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley” fever and the left in Israel is running to catch up to Israel. This is the meaning of what one of Israel’s senior investigative journalist, Raviv Drucker, revealed in Haaretz yesterday, January 13th, regarding Netanyahu’s real motives for announcing his intention to annex the Jordan Valley. According to a senior and reliable source in the Likud Party, the reason is Netanyahu’s keenness to take the lead and initiative after receiving information that the rival party leader Blue and White Benny Gantz intends to use what is widely considered in Israel as a trump card and make a surprise announcement before the elections that his party wants to annex the Jordan Valley. This is in the event that he wins the Knesset elections. Drucker/Haaretz warned of the risk of electoral annexation manoeuvres becoming a reality that receives the consensus of the major parties in Israel.

 Adopting annexation discourse in several circles in Israel is considered a remarkable victory for the settler’s right-wing line and a significant setback in the left-wing’s proposals and positions. It is worth noting that past dispute, which seems to have faded with Gantz’s adoption of the annexation of the Jordan Valley, was related to the extent of annexation, not the idea of annexation itself. Now the Blue and White Party, the main representative of the centre-left parties, is not only adopting the notion of ​​annexation but also the extent and size called for by the right throughout previous years.

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The fact that the left jumped on the annexation bandwagon is part of the phenomenon of the left’s decline and the diminishing support for solutions with the Palestinians, no matter how meager. This is another severe blow to those on the Palestinian side who are counting on the approach of negotiations and peaceful settlements, mainly PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The threats made by a leader of the Joint Arab List and Knesset member Ahmed al-Tibi, directed to members of the Blue and White Party, specifically Yoaz Hendal, of not voting for him as prime minister unless they stop annexation discourse, is an expression of the distress and embarrassment felt by those betting on a peaceful settlement rather than an empty threat.

It remains to mention that the confiscation of land in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as passing laws in the Knesset, is a gradual and unannounced annexation aiming to eliminate the idea of a Palestinian state. This is in spite of and perhaps even a confirmation of refusing UN Security Council resolution 2334, which is the most robust UN resolution condemning and criminalising settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

It is necessary to emphasise that the Palestinian confrontation of all the racist and colonial settlement developments in Israel cannot take place without unifying the Palestinian internal front based on what was agreed upon amongst all of the Palestinians factions, beginning with the Prisoners’ Document, the Cairo Agreement, and others.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.