Opinion: Many believe that the prime minister only makes moves that serve his own immediate interests, but the long-time leader actually wants to go down in history as the one who claimed sovereignty over parts of West Bank and Jordan Valley
Sever Plocker – www.ynetnews.com
It has been claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not have a comprehensive political worldview, only a series of reactions to events concerning Israel.
As proof, proponents of this claim present his rush to annex parts of the West Bank.
Netanyahu, his critics say, is not interested in annexing territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day-War, but intends to use the expected backlash as a means to draw out the duration of his criminal trial.
Netanyahu was indicted last year on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust and his trial began last month.
Though this assertion is not impossible, I believe Netanyahu does have his eye on history and regards annexation of the Jordan Valley and the West Bank settlements as his historic legacy, just as earlier annexations of East Jerusalem (1967) and the Golan Heights (1981) were seen as historic moves by previous heads of government.
This latest move, Netanyahu believes, will solidify Israel’s hold on parts of the biblical land of Israel and ensure defensible borders for the state.
In his first term as prime minister, Netanyahu in 1997 signed the Hebron agreement with the Palestinian Authority – dividing control of the West Bank city between Israel and the PA.
So complicated was the agreement, it was not expected to be upheld. But 23 years on, it still stands.
And although it removes most of the city from the Israel of post annexation, it is a more realistic solution than any presented by the Israeli left that still hopes for a two-state solution.
The prime minister has kept true to his long-held view, even when he was in the opposition, that the PA as it stands today – with the addition of some state symbols such as stamps and currency – is the future demilitarized Palestinian state. It is a view that is uncannily similar to the outline of Donald Trump’s peace plan.
Netanyahu’s legacy, therefore, would be ensured if his annexation plan is not foiled by political changes in the U.S. or a crisis such as a coronavirus pandemic and its ramifications.
His coalition partners in the Blue & White party are not likely to oppose annexation because it is in keeping with their ideological position.
Their concerns would be limited to the international reaction and security repercussions of the move, a relatively small hurdle to overcome.
Would violence necessarily follow a move to annex? The PA thus far is indicating its reactions would be diplomatic, including an appeal to international institutions.
Many world leaders, especially in the Arab world, would be happy to see the lion share of the problem of the Palestinians become Israel’s concern.