One Giant Likud Leap Toward Apartheid

On the Likud Central Committee support for de-facto annexation in the West Bank

On December 31, 2017, the Likud Central Committee voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for party leaders in government to extend Israeli law to all of the settlements in the West Bank, a move that would effectively annex parts of Area C while continuing to maintain a system of two separate laws for Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

This is a dangerous decision that, if implemented by the government, would ignite the region, cripple prospects for a two-state solution and turn Israel into an apartheid state.

Damage to Israel’s Future as a Jewish and Democratic State

A unilateral move without consent – The imposition of sovereignty over areas in the West Bank is intended to unilaterally establish facts on the ground. Annexation of parts of the West Bank must be done solely as a territorial exchange (i.e. land swaps) in the context of negotiations toward achieving a political agreement, so as to formalize agreed-upon borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

The elimination of the two-state solution – The application of Israeli law in Area C in the West Bank constitutes de facto annexation, and thus a move that would fracture the West Bank into islands of Palestinian territory and end the possibility of establishing a viable, territorially continuous Palestinian state.

Legitimizing support for the full annexation of the West Bank – Although this is not a government decision but merely a non-binding resolution of the Likud Central Committee, this lends public legitimacy to a longstanding plan—advocated particularly but no longer exclusively by the Habayit Hayehudi party—for the full annexation of Area C in the West Bank. Anyone who wants to apply Israeli law to Area C will be signaling to the citizens of Israel, to the Palestinians and to the entire world that Israel seeks to destroy the Zionist vision for a Jewish and democratic state, and to replace it with a Messianic one: one state from the River to the Sea, with unequal rights for Palestinians living in autonomous enclaves like in the bantustans of Apartheid South Africa.

International Repercussions

Damage to relations with Egypt and Jordan – Unilateral implementation of the law would lead to unprecedented damage to Israeli relations with Egypt and Jordan, which would not be able to accept such a move.

International isolation – The application of Israeli law in the West Bank constitutes a clear violation of international law. Such a unilateral move would not be recognized by Israel’s friends who support the two-state solution, and would lead Israel into a serious international crisis with the collective Arab states.


Instead of differentiating between the sovereign, legitimate State of Israel and the Occupied Territories and settlements, the government blurs the line between the two, thereby strengthening the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and signaling to the world that Israeli law is the law of permanent occupation.