Opinion

A Lottery to Pick the Next Israeli Victims of West Bank Annexation Policy

A police officer inspects the damage to a house hit by a rocket in Mishmeret, central Israel, March 25, 2019.
Ariel Schalit,AP

In the current round of fighting in Gaza, TV stations have adopted an emergency footing of nonstop live broadcasts including endless analysis and commentary. But they don’t tell viewers the simple truth, a truth they obviously prefer not to know: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to perpetuate Hamas rule in Gaza so he can annex the West Bank.

These facts are obvious and have been partly stated by Netanyahu, but such remarks are immediately forgotten. He uses Hamas rule in Gaza to maintain the intra-Palestinian rift between Hamas and Fatah, thereby weakening the Palestinians and preventing discussions with pragmatists among them. This foils any possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, with the strategic goal of annexing the West Bank. Netanyahu now has some extra support for this in the form of Donald Trump’s recognition of the annexation of the Golan Heights.

Israelis should have figured out by now that all Netanyahu’s bellicose declarations against Hamas are specious because, if they were carried out, they would thwart the overall strategic objective. The tactic for attaining the goal is to preserve a low-simmering conflict with Hamas. In other words, Netanyahu has made a tactical decision to abandon Israeli citizens, mainly those living near Gaza, condemning them to endless rounds of rocket fire in order to fulfill the vision of annexing the West Bank.

>> On a clear day in the West Bank, you can see the Israel you lost forever

Israelis must now ask themselves if they’re interested in annexing the West Bank, and if so, what sacrifice they’re willing to make to this end. But they’re not asking themselves this question. The question of annexation isn’t up for discussion.

Perhaps the exposure of Trump’s peace plan will compel such a discussion. A recent Haaretz poll showed that 42 percent of Israelis support a complete or partial annexation, with only 34 percent supporting a two-state solution.

The latter, however, isn’t feasible. No Israeli prime minister will evict the number of settlers necessary to implement such a solution. The issue of annexing the West Bank isn’t discussed not just because it’s suppressed, but because there’s a consensus on the topic. Any argument over this died at the end of the second intifada.

But society is so confused and negligent in analyzing the most crucial issue for its future that it refuses to connect the dots, tying the rockets and Netanyahu’s need to perpetuate Hamas’ rule in order to achieve the annexation of the West Bank. Israelis are angry and resentful about the rockets but agree with and support annexation.

Clearly no one is willing to die or see his house destroyed in the service of annexation. That’s strange, because annexation would exact a much more painful and bloody price in the future.

Do Israelis really not understand that the status quo in Gaza will continue for many years, and that from time to time some Israeli family will have to sacrifice itself and its possessions to a rocket for the sake of continued Israeli rule over the West Bank?

It’s a question of luck and fate. It would be much more logical and humane to agree with Hamas that every three months a lottery be held in Israel in which a family is picked for sacrificing itself and its house. Since Hamas can’t ensure an accurate hit, the Israeli army would have to do the job. Once every three months tensions would rise, while the rest of the time everyone could sleep in peace.