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The Israeli military opposes its politicians’ annexation of the Jordan Valley

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) perform a military drill in Ramallah, West Bank on February 06, 2019 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) perform a military drill in Ramallah, West Bank on February 06, 2019 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]

Israeli generals have revealed that announcing the annexation of the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements will lead to the collapse of the Palestinian security services, because they will lose control of the public and will be seen as colluding with the occupation. The annexation plan will also result in the collapse of the PA itself because it will prove to the Palestinians its failure in the political process, although this may mean the Palestinian public will turn to Hamas, which is trying to take advantage of any security chaos in the West Bank.

Increasing Israeli voices are emerging from a number of former senior generals and senior leaders of the military and security systems, who believe that any decision to annex the West Bank constitutes a threat to the fate of Israelis, and Israel may not be able to face the consequences of such a move. However, supporters of the annexation plan do not care what may happen the next day, they seek only to fulfil their desires, although there are still many unanswered questions.

Many Israeli generals believe that the results of any annexation process, whether total or partial, will provoke reactions that Israel will not be able to confront or deal with, especially since the damage caused by annexation will have a domino effect. It will pose a threat to the security of the state, its economy and its relationship with its Arab neighbours.

Moreover, the failure of Israeli decision-makers to listen to the recommendations of those with experience in anticipating the expected consequences of the annexation plan suggests a lack of responsibility, because these experts are saying that restoring Israeli control over the Palestinians will cost the Israeli budget approximately $14.8 billion.

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Israel’s current Army Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, expressed his aggravation at the actions of his Defence Minister Naftali Bennett to lay the groundwork for annexation without involving him in these efforts. This involved gathering senior officers from various army departments, civil administration officials, the Israeli coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian territories, and legal advisers, and asking them to prepare a set of scenarios to annex the Jordan Valley and settlements.

On the ground, the decision to annex the Jordan Valley and other areas will lead to mass protests by Palestinians and weaken Jordan due to the spread of chaos and disorder that may occur on its soil. This could allow Iranian influence to enter the country, leaving Israel without a secure border as pro-Iranian militias settle in next door.

There are estimates that the Israeli announcement of a plan to annex the Jordan Valley is a game to show off and serves as a message to the Israeli public that the Jordan Valley is still on the party’s political agenda. Therefore, the idea of annexing a third of the West Bank reappears when talk of an election begins, and it is soon retracted and withdrawn after the polls close.

The Israeli call to annex the Jordan Valley is an implicit expression of its unwillingness to reach a political agreement with the Palestinians. This is because such annexation endangers the peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt. This is in addition to warnings that Palestinians will halt security coordination with Israel.

Annexing the West Bank without an agreement with the PA, is expected to seriously harm the Zionist project. There is no way to have a reduced or expanded annexation, or to say that the annexation will only include “Area C” of the West Bank or the Jewish settlements therein.

The direct damage resulting from the annexation is the cessation of security coordination with the PA, which will not be able to survive, forcing the Israeli army to deploy in all the West Bank. At that point, it is difficult to imagine the expected scenarios. They may witness the end of the Zionist dream because the international community will consider Israel a new version of the South African apartheid regime.

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

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