- General Issues
- 2011 >
- Time to Negotiate the Northern and Southern Sectors of the Israeli-West Bank Border
- President Peres and Dr. Ashrawi: Thank You for Staying on Track
- Playing the Victim Card Will Not Bring Peace
- Negotiations By the Parties
- The World Should Help the Palestinian Hunger Striker
- ...and only afterwards move to discuss the topic of Jerusalem
- A Question of Accountability
- Israel Twisting in the Wind
- Netanyahu: Too Big for His Britches
- Netanyahu's "Israeli Comfort"
- How Shaul Mofaz Can Jump-Start the Peace Process
- Netanyahu on the Brink
- Time for Taking Stock
- Israel in Wonderland
- Whatever Happened to the Quartet?
- The Palestinians Want to Negotiate
- A Time for Hope and a Call for Restraint
- Israel Can Win in Gaza, But Not Now
- Congratulations to the New State of Palestine!
- Security and Borders: Both Required for Peace
- It Is Up to Israel to Restart Peace Negotiations
- Israel and Palestine: Changing the Terms of Agreement
- The Knesset Bill to Increase the Number of Women that Elect the Chief Rabbis Is Important for Jewish Women
- Proposal on Governance of the Holy Basin
- Time for Netanyahu to Reach Across the Aisle
- Tzipi Livni's Challenge
- Women Should Be Free to Pray at the Wailing Wall
- Proposed Highway through the Jordan Valley Will Backfire on Israel
- 2014 >
- We Should Applaud Herzog and Livni for Reclaiming Zionism
- The Next Israeli Government
- West Bank Citizenry and Receipt of Individuals of Palestinian Origin
- What Next for Israel?
- Palestinian statehood
- Mischief in the Trade Legislation would Hinder Progress
- What Next for America?
- Could American Firms Choose to Gradually Disinvest from Israel?
- Boycotting Israel is not anti-Semitism
- 2016 >
- 2017 >
- 2019 >
- 2020 >
- About the Authors
Israel Must Not Annex the Jordan Valley (cont.)
Annexation is an irreversible step that will set in motion a trajectory of events that in 50 years will bring an end to Israel as a Jewish State. It goes like this: Israel annexes the Jordan valley. The Palestinians decide that there is no point in continuing to seek for Palestinian state on such a reduced territory, and they begin advocating a unitary state of Israelis and Palestinians with equal rights, including the right to vote. For the time being, Israel will be able to use its muscle to enforce the continued disenfranchisement of the Palestinians. However, with their annexation purpose plain to the world, the Israelis will undoubtedly face the accusation of apartheid. Israel will end up on course like that of South Africa, with the inevitable result that sooner or later the Palestinians will gain the vote and become the demographic majority.
At that point, Israel will no longer be a Jewish State. It will become like Lebanon, with a Jewish faction and a Palestinian faction of roughly equal size cohabiting in the government in some sort of arrangement. The resulting instability will lead many Jews to emigrate. Less Jewish and more Arab, the name Israel may give way to Palestine.
This demographic future should give any Israeli Jew pause. Yet even if Israel were to prevent the Arab population from obtaining their natural rights, would not the resulting moral corruption of Israel be even more serious? Annexation would make official the continuing subjugation of the Palestinian people. No longer residents of an occupied territory that could someday expect to regain its independence, the inhabitants of the West Bank would become a permanent subject people. Should Jews, who endured a history of oppression as a religious minority, now turn around and oppress its Palestinian neighbors in perpetuity?
Every human being has a right to freedom, justice and dignity. Palestinians will not cease yearning for freedom. They will fight, and Israel’s sons and daughters will become the jailers who keep them in their place. What will that do to the character and morality of Israel’s defense forces, citizen-soldiers who have been proud of the righteousness of their cause?
God has given Jews mastery over Israel, and expects his people to live by a higher standard, that of the covenant. The Tanakh declares that God’s covenant calls for peace and justice, for the alien as well as the Jew. If Israel flexes its muscles to expand its territory in the West Bank at the expense of a future for the Palestinians, it could face consequences akin to God’s judgments of old.
Such could be Israel's future in 50 years, as step by step, the consequences of this folly slowly fall into place. How tragic it would be, if the grandchildren of today's Israelis no longer lived in a Jewish state.
By what logic could Netanyahu commit to an action that could bring such dire consequences? The pro-settler people in Likud are energized after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave America’s approval to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Netanyahu, who was about to be indicted for corruption, saw a possibility that Gantz would be able cobble together a minority government that would remove him from office. Wanting to continue as Prime Minister at all costs despite his party's weaker showing in the last election, Netanyahu made last-ditch efforts to rally the country behind him, first by attacking militants in Gaza and now by proffering the annexation bill.
“You cannot [annex the Jordan Valley] in a minority government that depends on Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh,” he taunted Gantz, and by extension Liberman, continuing his scare campaign against the predominantly Arab Joint List whose support will still be required to create an alternative to his right-wing bloc.
Ratcheting up the pressure even more, the bill’s sponsor, Likud member Sharren Haskel, wants to fast-track the bill, exempting it from the mandatory six-week waiting period for any new legislation so that it can go to a vote next week.
Although Netanyahu remains Prime Minster for the time being, we urge all members of the Knesset to think deeply about the gravity of taking the step of annexation and what it could mean for Israel's future. This is not the time, when Israel lacks a constituted government, to act so precipitously. A step as fraught with consequence as annexation needs a broad consensus of support from the public, which currently it does not have. The Knesset will do well to shelve the annexation bill.