This summer, Israel plans to annex occupied lands in the West Bank and Jordan Valley. And it will be a great mistake. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often misreads the regional political landscape but this time his miscalculation will have grave consequences.
The move means that the concept of an independent, viable Palestinian state will no longer be possible. Moreover, Netanyahu’s plan will effectively signal the actual death of the peace process, which has been clinically dead for the past two decades anyway.
Riding on the strangely unconditional support of the Trump administration and his recent deal with inept rival Benny Gantz to form the new government, Netanyahu perhaps thought the coronavirus pandemic is a good opportunity to go ahead with such a dangerous move that has all the elements to ignite a new conflict.
So far, Arab officials are keeping silent on the Netanyahu plan. We are hoping a strong Arab position will stop the Israeli designs before they become official in July
The world is too buy fighting the COVID-19 to pay attention, although Netanyahu keeps reminding us that he is often more dangerous than the coronavirus itslef.
The Americans don’t seem to mind. They might be worried about the regional reaction but will certainly go along with Netanyahu’s wishes. It is an election year.
Both candidates, President Donald Trump and former senator Joe Biden, need the backing of those influential supporters of Israel.
The Europeans will of course protest. They usually threaten to review their relationship with Israel. Last week, the European Union warned Israel annexing parts of the occupied West Bank “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”
France’s UN ambassador, Nicolas de Riviere, went as far as saying annexation “would not pass unchallenged and shall not be overlooked in our relationship with Israel.”
But as recent history tells us, this is the limit of Europe’s so-called moral position. Business will be usual after that.
The United Nations too was angry. The UN Middle East special envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned that the Israeli move could ignite a new conflict and “destroy any hope of peace, deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution, close the door to a renewal of negotiations, and threaten efforts to advance regional peace.”
Unfortunately, no one takes the UN seriously when it comes to the Palestinian issue.
Israel knows very well that all those players don’t matter when it comes to the Middle East’s main question -- the Palestinian struggle for independence. It is the Palestinian stance in particular and the Arab’s in general that counts at the end.
So far, Arab officials are keeping silent on the Netanyahu plan. We are hoping a strong Arab position will stop the Israeli designs before they become official in July.