When the settler right talks about applying sovereignty to the territories or swaths of them, they mean a unilateral and dangerous annexation. The role of the government is to maintain Israel’s ability to flourish as a Jewish and democratic state. This can best be done by keeping an open hand for peace, promoting negotiations with the Palestinians, and taking care to keep its relations with its partners in the region and beyond from deteriorating. The so-called “unity government” to be formed soon must commit not to carry out any unilateral annexation measures in the West Bank. Below is a breakdown of reasons why annexation is not in Israel’s national interest.
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.
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.
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.
As the settler right will surely promote annexation in the next government, it will send a message to the citizens of Israel, the Palestinians and the entire world that Israel favors the continuing bloody conflict and apartheid policy over democracy and peace. Responsible lawmakers must not give it a hand!