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Israel's Anti-annexation Warriors Should Simply Surrender

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Credit: Amos Biderman
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz faction will not give up their last stronghold. Its leaders will fight it until the last drop of blood (except, of course, by refusing to join the government): Annexation. Annexation is extreme right, and they’re not. Annexation means diplomatic disaster and they’re opposed to that. This is how the story of annexation has turned into the last obstacle on the way to forming a government.

Haredi leaders learn harsh corona lesson as Israel sends in the troopsCredit: Haaretz

A struggle has been born, a seemingly ideological one. Ideology has returned from the land of the dead. Even the old boys’ network is aghast: Hundreds of members of Commanders for Israel's Security publicized a petition this weekend against annexation. There is hardly a single general or brigadier general in the reserves who hasn’t signed it. Look at what an enlightened Kahol Lavan we have and what just and peace-seeking officers. Anyone who still dreams of achieving a settlement can rest assured. Kahol Lavan is on guard. There won’t be any annexation.

But the annexation already happened, long ago. The perpetrators were from the Zionist center and left, the very people fighting against it now. Those behind its implementation, in effect with their very own hands, are the same generals who signed the petition. There’s not a single one among them whose hands aren’t tainted by the blood of annexation. From Gantz to the armored corps general, “Brigadier General Rabin, Yitzhak” from the petition, all have participated in the annexation that took place a long time ago. Now they are mounting the barricades against it. It won’t happen, they say. And the truth is, it already has happened, and among other reasons, because of them.

Gantz might as well surrender and give up this final stronghold of his. His struggle has no meaning. The occupied territories are an inseparable part of Israel, whether they’ve been annexed or not. Gantz, in any case, supports annexing the Jordan Valley, and the principle, as Bernard Shaw has written, has already been set, now it’s just a matter of the price.

There is no longer any Green Line, there is no longer any difference between Ra’anana and Efrat. The population is the same, the same apartheid privileges exist in both places. The struggle against annexation is a strawman. It’s doubtful whether it would ever be carried out under a U.S. president drowning in the coronavirus. But even were Trump to agree to annexation, a moment before he exits the stage of history, it would no longer be of any significance, anyway.

The reality in the territories is what has become irreversible. Annexation would actually be quite reversible. All it would take is a declaration to end it. A diplomatic agreement would put an end to sovereignty. Adolf Hitler also proclaimed annexation and later nothing remained of that. Austria is a sovereign land, and the same goes for the Sudetenland which was reclaimed by the Czechs.

The obstacle to ending annexation is in effect the frightening number of settlers who have spread out, without any of the protesters even lifting a finger, not Gantz nor any of the “Commanders for a Secure Israel.” All are partners in the project. To come out against annexation now is to give self-righteousness and hypocrisy a bad name.

The commanders’ advertisement, published the other day by Haaretz, is even more shameful. Their whole rationale relates only to the damage that would be done to Israel and the economic price of annexation. This is the only obstacle there is in the eyes of the generals in favor of eternalizing dictatorship and control over another people.

With such warriors of justice, we’re better off with avowed fascists. They at least aren’t intoxicated with the self-satisfaction of being enlightened people. They at least don’t pretend, like the generals who signed the petition, to be suddenly panicked about annexation, – something of their own doing – just because it’s going to cost us some money.

For a long time we have had just one country with two peoples, four regimes: democracy for Jews, discrimination for Israeli Arabs, military dictatorship for Palestinians in the West Bank, and prison for their brothers in the Gaza Strip. The fate of all these people are decided in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The coronavirus is the ultimate proof of the annexation that occurred long ago. If the virus were to spread through the Deheisheh refugee camp, it would swiftly spread to Kiryat Gat as well. From the camp in Jenin it would stampede over to Kiryat Shmona. From Khan Yunis it would reach Ashkelon. There is no roadblock that could stand in its way. It’s one country. Now Gantz is supposedly fighting against annexation. You’ve missed the train, and made the virus and reality laugh out loud.

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