Do not annex the Jordan Valley

This is a desperate attempt by Netanyahu, a fugitive, to divert the public’s attention away from discussion of his terrible request for immunity from prosecution.

THE JORDAN VALLEY – calls to annex it are a provocative political act (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE JORDAN VALLEY – calls to annex it are a provocative political act
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that the Jordan Valley will become part of the State of Israel was a populist and provocative political act that will cause extensive damage to Israel’s security and international standing and will give it a few useless brownie points from the US president.
What happened last year that led Netanyahu to feel the need to push for Israel to annex the Jordan Valley specifically now? Have a huge number of terrorists recently crossed over the Jordan River and infiltrated the West Bank? Has there been an uptick in violent terrorist activity in Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley? Have terrorists carried out attacks in areas near the Jordan Valley, which require an immediate and forceful response from Israel? Will this declaration that Israel is going to annex the Jordan Valley serve our immediate diplomatic and security interests?
Of course, none of the above has actually happened. No event took place and no action has been taken that could serve as motive for such a dramatic move, which could completely alter Israel’s diplomatic and security reality.
The only conclusion is that this is a desperate attempt by Netanyahu, a fugitive, to divert the public’s attention away from discussion of his terrible request for immunity from prosecution. Instead of having to face the charges, suspicions and offenses, Netanyahu believes that he will succeed in garnering enough support for himself and achieve a broad enough national consensus to replace the disgust that a significant portion of the Israeli people feel for him.
If this were just another political scam that Netanyahu specializes in, it would be sufficient to expose him for his underhanded behavior and then let the public express its will on election day.
The situation we with which are currently dealing, however, has much more dire consequences, and the price the State of Israel and its citizens will be obliged to pay is far too heavy to bear.
When Netanyahu announced just before the last elections in September that he planned to annex the Jordan Valley, Jordan’s King Abdullah II was the verge of freezing the complex, sensitive and vital diplomatic relations between our countries. The official announcement could lead to a wave of increased violence in Judea and Samaria, the complete undermining of the Palestinian Authority, and the suspension of diplomatic relations with Jordan, and possibly, heaven forbid, even with Egypt, too.
It’s entirely possible that US President Donald Trump would back such a move for reasons that are incompatible with Israel’s security needs. Trump is preoccupied with his own grim problems Congress and with his impeachment trial, which most likely will not lead to a conviction. The only way Trump would make a move connected to the Middle East now is if he thought it would benefit his personal battle currently taking place in Washington, DC. We will have to face violence, terrorism, bloodshed and regional instability in both the political and security spheres.
I feel a moral responsibility to give expression to this intense feeling I have that we are in grave danger. Unfortunately, the Israeli public has lost the ability to engage in substantive, calm and respectful debate.
The Israeli government is behaving in a way that can only be understood as a desire to set the region on fire, because only terrorism, suicide and knife attacks and murders can serve as a platform on which Netanyahu and his gang of thugs can stand upon in a frantic effort to rescue his and his family’s crumbling career.
Never in the past have I uttered such harsh words against one of Israel’s politicians. Then again, never have I thought that a person in such a senior political position would knowingly act this way. Netanyahu is not doing this out of some deep conviction and faith or sense of responsibility in an effort to protect Israel.
We’re not talking about Iranian nuclear capabilities, Syrian missiles or rockets being launched into Israel by Hamas. This is pure provocation by Israel with one goal in mind: to ignite an atmosphere of hatred, disappointment, frustration and despair throughout the entire Middle East. What Netanyahu is saying, in essence, is ‘to hell with everything – so long as I can remain on the emperor’s throne just a little bit longer.’
It’s a shame that Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz let himself be dragged into the fray and made such an unnecessary statement on the matter. I’ve publicly announced that I support the Blue and White Party, that I voted for them in both of the last two elections and that I plan to vote for them in the upcoming March 2020 election. Nonetheless, this does not prevent me from expressing my disapproval of Gantz’s unbalanced and poorly thought out statement. Netanyahu’s drivel did not deserve any type of response whatsoever from the leader of the Blue and White Party.
Netanyahu, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and their supporters will probably use the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, which took place this week in Jerusalem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau – attended by an impressive list of world leaders – as proof of Israel’s solid status and its extensive international support. This argument will be used to stave off fears of the damage that might be caused by Israel’s announcement regarding annexation of the Jordan Valley.
I beseech the public to reject this false claim outright. The impressive gathering of heads of state in Israel’s capital this week is truly heartwarming and it was a marvelous demonstration of solidarity with Israel and the victims of the Holocaust and of the awe-inspiring desire of the international community to cast aside the clouds of this world’s new antisemitism that have been polluting the world in recent years.
All of the leaders who came to Israel are sympathetic to the Jewish people and our country, and perhaps with the exception of the US president and vice president, all of them have expressed their disapproval of Netanyahu’s policies and political moves he’s taken. Now that they’ve expressed their support of Israel by recognizing the importance of remembering the Holocaust, they feel comfortable expressing their disapproval of Israel’s announcement that it will annex the Jordan Valley and their willingness to take action against Israel’s political moves. These actions will cause us great harm.
And when this happens, we will not be able to do what we normally do in such circumstances: blame these countries for being antisemitic.
Just weeks after we expressed our earnest admiration to them for joining us in commemorating the horrors of the Holocaust, it will a bit hard to accuse them of antisemitism for expressing their disapproval with the provocative and dangerous adventures of an interim prime minister whose reign is coming to an end.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.