Jewish youth hold Israeli flags at the beginning of a rally march in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus..
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
An NGO is set to launch a campaign to thwart Israeli plans to annex the West Bank that would be implemented by any new right-wing government elected on April 9.
“The extreme right,” the NGO Commanders for Israel’s Security said, “is preparing the ground for the annexation of millions of Palestinians. We are determined to lead a large-scale public campaign that will thwart this annexation plan.”
The NGO is made up of some 300 retired IDF senior officer, including admirals, brigadier-generals and major-generals, who support a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ahead of its CIS campaign that was published in a poll, conducted on February 11-12 by Mina Zemach and Mano Geva, which showed that 47%-60% of the Israeli public opposes annexation and another 28% supports a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines.
Almost all Likud politicians running for Knesset as well as all those in the right-wing bloc including the New Right and Bayit Yehudi parties have spoken of applying sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.
CIS has also published a video in which it warns that an annexation plan would mean that 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank would be given Israeli identity cards and the ability to live anywhere within the country, including in Tel Aviv and Haifa.
In the video, Aryeh Feldman, former division head and deputy director of the Shin Bet, warned that an annexation plan would mean a one state solution.
“It would be the end of the Zionist vision and would lead to daily terrorist attacks,” he warned.
As part of its public campaign, the group said that it would “expose everything that is happening under the radar of the Israeli public, including the modes of action of the annexation lobby and the commitments given by ministers and Members of Knesset to support annexation legislation immediately after the April elections.”
The US based Israel Policy Forum plans to join with CIS’s campaign, by launching a program called “Annexation Watch” to raise awareness in Washington and among US Jews of the threat of annexing Judea and Samaria.
However, the Sovereignty Movement spearheaded by Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Mater, has been careful to have a broad platform that does not necessarily include giving citizenship to 2.6 million Palestinians.
Those who support the application of sovereignty have a broad range of opinions. It runs the gamut from offering Palestinians in the West Bank full Israeli citizenship to possibly offering them Jordanian citizenship. It could include some form of local autonomy for Palestinians that includes limited residency rights. There are also those who hold that only Area C of the West Bank – where all the Israeli settlements are located – should be annexed.
There are those who argue that in such a scenario the estimated 300,000 Palestinians in Area C could be given Palestinian citizenship without upsetting the overall demographic of a Jewish and ethnic Palestinian state.
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