A group of IDF generals has written a letter to US President Donald Trump urging him to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation plan to apply sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.
The group, known as habit'honistim – Protectors of Israel – holds that the plan offers Israel an unparalleled security opportunity to place 30% of the West Bank within Israel’s permanent borders.
“Your farsighted vision for peace, which includes a recognition of Israel’s sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish civilization – has put wind in the wings of thousands of Israel Defense Force officers and warriors and buffeted the sails of the Israeli nation as a whole,” the group wrote.
“Mr. President, thanks to your friendship and visionary leadership, we stand now at an historic crossroad in the 4,000-year history of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel,” it continued.
“We trust that you will continue to work to secure the future peace of the people of Israel and of the Middle East as a whole by standing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he applies our sovereignty to our eastern frontier, the Jordan Valley and to our cities, villages and farms in Judea and Samaria in accordance with your visionary peace plan,” the group said.
“As God Almighty said to Joshua as he stood before the Jordan River, poised to lead the Nation of Israel to the Promised Land, so we say to you today: “Be strong and of good courage,” they wrote.
The idea of Israeli sovereignty over 30% of the West Bank, including all of the settlements, is already incorporated into Trump's peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, Israel can do so only with approval from the US. There are those who fear that Washington, with an eye to appeasing moderate Arab nations such as Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, may want a more modified plan.
Opinions are also split between Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, who wants phased or limited sovereignty.
The US wants the agreement of both Gantz and Netanyahu for any sovereignty plan. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is expected to hold meetings at the White House on the subject this week, possibly as early as today.
Opinion on the wisdom of an annexation plan is split among Israel's top security experts. A separate group of former IDF security officials known as Commanders for Israel’s Security has taken precisely the opposite stance as the Protectors of Israel.
It has argued that any annexation plan could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, threaten the stability of Jordan and potentially trigger a violent regional and local reaction.