This year’s Independence Day was marked once again with the knowledge that Israel’s occupation and control over the West Bank will continue for another year, only now we are also faced with the threat of annexation.
Let it be known and crystal clear that the unilateral annexation of the West Bank or parts of it will be catastrophic. This unilateral Israeli move is based on little more than when our outgoing health minister declared that the coronavirus pandemic would be resolved by the coming of the Messiah.
Annexation will lead to probable unified Palestinian violence of the Second Intifada type; and/or the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and forcing the responsibility of governing an unwilling population of millions of Palestinians on Israel; and/or the collapse of the peace treaty with Jordan; and/or the final end of Israel as a democracy in which rights are fully determined by nationality.
For anyone who has any real knowledge of our Palestinian neighbors, the writing is on the wall. Annexation will not go down passively. Israel will not be embraced by the Arab world and the international community. Palestinians will not throw rice on Israeli soldiers in celebration of Israel taking over their land de jure. The United States post President Donald Trump will not legalize Israel’s stomping on international law. Israel’s impunity will not last forever.
For those who forget, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 from 2016 was extremely clear: “Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 … Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions...
“Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
The resolution calls on the nations of the world to distinguish between the State of Israel and the occupied territories.
“Calls upon all states…to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
This is a key statement in the resolution and perhaps one of the few points that could potentially have an impact. Israel largely ignores international law regarding the issue of Palestine and Palestinian rights. Israel is a signatory on virtually all international conventions and is a respected member of the international community regarding the implementation of international treaties, trade and participation in international organizations.
Yet, when it comes to international law regarding the occupied territories, Israel has grossly violated international law and even the High Court has granted permission to the government to act in violation of international law.
The international community as a whole and as separate nations has in large not taken Israel to task for its violations of international law. Israel has enjoyed virtual impunity with the international community being very good at passing UN resolutions and making statements, but doing almost nothing to demonstrate to Israel that the direct violation of international law that so grossly abuses the rights of the Palestinian people cannot be tolerated. The international community’s message to Israel for the past 51 years is that it can be tolerated.
With deep concern for the future of the State of Israel and for the many innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives that may once again be lost in vain, I call upon the nations of the world to be prepared to take on Israel should it move forward with the annexation of the West Bank or parts of it.
It is not enough to label products produced in settlements as an effective measure to pressure Israel. If settlements are illegal by international law, then settlement products must be treated as contraband and made illegal wherever they are sold.
If settlements are illegal by international law, then settlers who are living illegally should not be considered legally able to attain visa-free entry into countries where other Israelis can enter without a visa.
The prime minister is too drunk with power and the delusion of greatness to self-impose limitations and caution that he was known for in the past. Serious responses to possible annexation of occupied territories need to be prepared now, months in advance of Israeli steps that will be devastating to Israel, Palestine and the whole region.
The international community has failed until now in pushing and prodding the Israelis and the Palestinians into a renewed peace process. Israeli steps toward annexation are too serious to not try the utmost to prevent before it is too late.
Israeli leaders and members of Knesset from every party must know that there will be serious detrimental consequences for the State of Israel should they vote “yes” to annexation.
It is possible to prevent this act of national suicide, it is the responsibility of us all – Israeli citizens, Jews around the world and Israel’s friends in the world in particular to let it be known now, before it is too late: don’t do it! Do not pass a law to annex the West Bank or parts of it which are not part of an agreement and peace treaty with the Palestinian people.The writer is a political and social entrepreneur whose latest book, In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine, was published by Vanderbilt University Press.