Annexation is Bad for Israel

Following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement of his intention to apply sovereignty in (i.e. annex) the Jordan Valley, Peace Now has delivered the following statement:

Netanyahu’s promise to annex the Jordan Valley the day after the election is another testament to the infinite cynicism of a prime minister who has sunk to his neck in serious corruption cases, after for years resisting pressure from the far right to annex occupied Palestinian territory. Let us be clear. This is an election statement by a interim prime minister who has demonstrated several instances of national irresponsibility. The lengths this man will go to bow to the voices of far right leaders Ben Gvir and Smotritz reveals yet again his desperation to secure immunity in the next Knesset.

The movement added that: Unilateral annexation of the Jordan Valley or any other part of the West Bank is bad politically, in terms of security and internationally for Israel. Even if these are places that are to be incorporated into Israeli in a future agreement, which they most likely are not, unilateral annexation will severely damage the prospect of peace and bring us closer to apartheid. It seems Netanyahu is ready to sell out the future of us all and to send a message to the citizens of Israel, the Palestinians and the entire world that his political survival is important enough to fuel bloody conflict, erase Israel’s democracy, and extinguish the prospects of peace.

Political Reasons:

A unilateral move – Determining facts on the ground in a unilateral fashion makes a statement that Israel does not support peace and runs against prior agreements Israel has signed on to. Future annexation of some of the areas in the West Bank near the Green Line to Israel must be done only in the framework of final status negotiations and on the basis of minor, 1:1 land swaps for final borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state

Serious violation of the two-state solution – The annexation of the settlements will sweep the West Bank, preventing a Palestinian territorial continuum needed to reach a mutually agreed-upon two-state solution in the future.

Security Reasons:

Risk of deterioration into another wave of violence – Unilateral move could frustrate the Palestinian street and drag the area into another round of violence, as senior security officials have repeatedly warned.

Reinforcing Palestinian extremists – Unilateral annexation, without negotiations, is a blow to the moderates on the Palestinian side who still believe in the dialogue and a two-state solution, and it strengthens extremists who support one-state solution and the ongoing struggle against Israel.

International Backlash:

Damage to relations with Egypt and Jordan – Annexation will lead to unprecedented damage to relations with Egypt and Jordan, with which Israel has signed a peace treaty and cannot come to terms with unilateral annexation.

International crisis – Annexation of parts of the occupied territories and the application of sovereignty which contravene international law. Unilateral annexation that is not agreed upon and not done in the context of land swaps will not be recognized by Israel’s allies who support the two-state solution and risk leading Israel to a severe international crisis or prolonged deterioration in relations.

Throwing significant encouragement to the boycott and BDS movements – Instead of insisting on a just and moral separation between the sovereign and legitimate state of Israel and the occupied territories and settlements, the government blurs the lines between the two, thereby strengthening the movements calling for boycotting Israel and proclaiming that the occupation is a fig leaf for an apartheid Israeli state between the river and the sea.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is sending a message to the citizens of Israel, the Palestinians and the entire world that Israel favors the continuing of bloody conflict and an undemocratic one-state reality over justice, democracy and peace.

For information on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, and why an Israeli annexation of the territory to destroy any hopes for creating a viable Palestinian state, click here.