Various Thoughts on Israel's Supposed Annexation/Extending of Sovereignty
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
I will admit it. I really have no idea what Benjamin Netanyahu is thinking of doing when it comes to either annexing or extending Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea-Samaria/West Bank. To be honest - I am not sure he has any clue what he is doing either. I'm not sure it changes anything in reality (though the Palestinians' recent abrogation of all signed peace agreements with Israel does), which is probably why the Palestinian street has been so quiet about it. [Note: it can't really be in violation of the Oslo Accords - which say that unilateral actions should not be undertaken - since technically they don't exist anymore after the Palestinian Authority abrogated them.]
I understand the sentiment - if the Palestinians don't want to sign an agreement with us (not just over the Trump plan but we are now in double digits when it comes to rejected plans), then we should just be done with them and that's it. The intermediary steps in Oslo, which created the various divisions in the territories to Areas A, B and C, were never meant to be a long-term solution. We were supposed to be in final-status negotiations over 20 years ago. It's kind of like how the MLB players and owners tried to come to an agreement over an upcoming baseball season and couldn't agree and then the owners just made what they wanted. I get the feeling. I understand the timing since the next US administration may not be as friendly to any unilateral Israeli acts in the territories. And who knows how long Netanyahu has as his corruption trial is already underway (and he is supposed to give up power in 17 months to Benny Gantz anyway).
I just don't know what is to gain by taking a half-ass measure besides throwing a bone to his right-wing constituents. And I am almost certain that it is going to be a limited half-ass measure if it happens at all. If you get up and say on July 1 that you are applying Israeli sovereignty to certain Israeli settlement blocks so what does that change? We already know which ones would remain inside Israel in any kind of non-Trumpian peace deal. The people living there are already Israeli citizens. If they commit crimes they are tried in Israeli civilian courts. The Israeli flag already flies there.
I'm not quite sure what would change the next day apart from 2 things happening. 1. The Palestinians get a reminder that if they don't play ball that they will not find themselves in the room where it happens 2. The Israeli public and international community gets distracted from Netanyahu's criminal trial and the news that he is trying to pass a law in the Knesset which bans spokespeople from testifying against their bosses, claiming a sort of attorney-client privilege (which would then disqualify one of the main witnesses against him) https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/new-bill-would-protect-politicians-from-their-spokespeople-632801. He just got the Knesset Finance Committee to approve his request for a retroactive tax return of 1 million shekels on his private residence in Caesarea and his vehicle. https://www.ynetnews.com/business/article/HyMzdx110I. Yes it may be the "Wild West" but Netanyahu is the one laughing all the way to the bank. As an unemployed tour guide of Israel, I (and many other non-guides) have some serious issues with that.
So if there is no (or not much) benefit for the country - and only potential fallout - I'm not too sure of the wisdom of this maneuver. If he were to really go ahead and implement the Trump plan, well then perhaps (and that is a big perhaps) the fallout would be worth it. I mean I were a high school student, I wouldn't risk potentially getting grounded by my parents by sneaking out after curfew to go to the mini-market just to buy a slushie. But if there was a major concert of my favorite band happening, well that might be worth the punishment. Not saying I'd do it [hi mom], just saying if I were to do it, I'd damn well make it worth it.
Here are some other people's thoughts about it:
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