Annexation of territories to the State of Israel is beginning to take root in public discourse as if it is the next natural and very best step. Some demand “only” annexation of Area C and some aspire to more. One grasps the Bible as proof of Israel’s ownership of the areas conquered in 1967 and another is filled with compassion for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who don’t receive medical care and national insurance like Israeli citizens do and, out of a growing sense of responsibility, wants to heal the curse of the occupation through annexation. It seems that the day is not far in which the words of the old song “Two banks to the Jordan, this one’s ours and that one too,” will become our anthem.
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We should first of all recall that the areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territories, to which the Fourth Geneva Convention applies. Millions of Palestinians living there aspire to establish an independent state. The countries of the world have recognized the right of the Palestinians to establish an independent state, the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to say that he supports the formula of two states for two peoples, and the UN Security Council re-affirmed this formula in a resolution it passed last week, which stated categorically that all the settlements, including the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, are illegal.
But Netanyahu and the government he heads feel that at this point of transition between one administration and another, they have been given free rein to do whatever they like without the need to account to anyone. They rely on President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets, which promise a package of pampering diplomatic moves just around the corner, such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or loosening the restraints on construction of the settlements in the territories. Wait for January 20, Trump encourages, everything will change.
But the Trump celebration has actually already begun in Jerusalem. The old American guardians of the gate are no longer relevant, the United Nations is a hollow institution and Israel will properly punish the rogue states, in Africa or Central Europe. Israel is now free to leap into the abyss, to its death. Netanyahu and the annexation chorus have forgotten to tell the public one thing. That annexation of any kind will make the State of Israel unnecessary as the national home of the Jews, will crush the Zionist vision and turn Israel into a formally apartheid state, and could trigger a bloody civil war.
Discussion of annexation is a cancerous debate that must be uprooted before it becomes a legitimate political program and a plan of action. Otherwise, no American president will be able to save Israel from itself.