Playing Along With Netanyahu's Annexation Fantasy, Gantz Is Rebranding Apartheid

Zehava Galon
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Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi and Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz, Sderot, February 24 2020
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi and Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz, Sderot, February 24, 2020.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Zehava Galon

There isn’t much left to be said about the political demise of Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, who makes sure to attach the title “alternate prime minister” to his press releases. A kind of spell to protect him from the future. He and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi committed many sins during their political journey: They betrayed their electorate, they lent a hand to the crushing of the Knesset’s power, and in the name of the emergency situation, they joined a disgraceful inflated government. But their main and most despicable sin remains the legitimacy they granted to the dangerous delusion of annexing the territories.

“Peace was and remains an important Zionist desire,” said Gantz recently. “We will work to promote Trump’s peace plan with everything it includes.” They say that the late Ariel Sharon laughed out loud when he heard the election slogan they composed for him: “I have confidence in Sharon’s peace.” Not since then has the word “peace” been as distorted.

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Ashkenazi also explained that Trump’s plan would be advanced “responsibly, while preserving Israel’s peace agreements and strategic interests.” Those are nice, hope-inspiring words, which would have us believe that what we are witnessing is not a blind rush to an apartheid state, but an orderly step, which is explained in detail in a mega-plan, which was created by the finest minds. The only problem is that the plan itself is nowhere to be found.

Gantz and Ashkenazi are former chiefs of staff and are familiar with the warnings about the collapse of the peace treaty with Jordan and an undermining of that country’s stability. They heard the discussions in the European Union about imposing sanctions against Israel and they are aware of the potential of escalation. They know that “annexation” is nothing more than new branding for an apartheid regime and unilateral withdrawal, and that Israel is risking turning the Palestinian enclaves into areas of escalation, which will make Gaza pale in comparison.

What is the plan in case of a renewed conflagration in the territories − to capture the Palestinian Authority? To impose a closure on every Bantustan, in a return to the model that failed so badly in Gaza? There are over one million newly unemployed people here, whom the government created with its own hands, and for whom it is now refusing to take responsibility. As though it’s not enough that the government spit in their faces by burning their tax money on a Ministry for Higher Education and Water Resources. Now they’re also promising to waste billions of shekels on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s messianic delusions.

The Defense Ministry is already demanding billions as “preparation of the consequences of the annexation.” Where will the money come from? God knows. And what will happen if the EU, Israel’s principal trade partner, keeps it promise of new sanctions? God knows. Money is not their responsibility. Leave it to the bureaucrats.

This government sends Ambassador Ron Dermer to get a green light for annexation from the White House, for fear that U.S. President Donald Trump may lose the presidential election. This performance makes it possible to turn the annexation into a folk tale. All you have to do is convince the local nobleman. There is no budgetary cost, there are no security risks, no diplomatic price. A government that is presuming to redraw Israel’s borders, whose only plan is “Everything will be okay.”

Gantz and Ashkenazi were chiefs of staff. I only hope that at the time they didn’t treat the lives deposited into their hands with the same negligence that they are now demonstrating with regard to annexation of the territories. Even if they hope to kill the annexation with kindness, the whitewashing services that they are providing are serving this delusion.

Do you want to kill the annexation with kindness? Demand a thorough discussion of its consequences. Explain what in your opinion will happen to the treaty with Jordan, what the annexation will cost, what the security dangers are. That’s the only way to kill a fantasy. To inject it with reality.

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