Annexation would mark the end of the Zionist dream – opinion

The coronavirus crisis will pass. On the other hand, the danger of annexation is irreversible.

A view shows the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank February 25, 2020. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
A view shows the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank February 25, 2020.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
The Passover Seder, celebrating the Israelites’ freedom from slavery, was marked this year under very different circumstances, with many Israelis alone at home, under curfew, enslaved to the coronavirus. The crisis is also sidelining the true threat to Israelis’ freedom that lies in the coalition agreement signed at this tragic/ironic timing of the holiday symbolizing freedom. The agreement will enable the annexation of Palestinian territory, placing Israel on the path to a bi-national catastrophe and perpetuating enslavement to the occupation of another people. It will culminate in one of two scenarios – an apartheid state or yet another Arab state in the Middle East. Both scenarios signal an end to the Zionist dream.
The coronavirus crisis will pass. Humanity will eventually develop a vaccine and find the way to eradicate the virus or develop immunity to the pathogen. The global economy will be hard hit, as will ours, but will recover. The State of Israel is blessed with unusually creative forces that will eventually lead it out of the economic crisis stronger, more resilient and with greater prominence on the world stage.
On the other hand, the danger of annexation is irreversible – it will wipe out the Palestinian Authority and its life-saving security coordination with Israel, boost radical Palestinian forces and pose a real threat to one of Israel’s major strategic assets, the Hashemite Kingdom. Annexation will finalize the divorce between Israel and the US Democratic Party and deepen the alienation of the liberal progressive majority in the most important country in the world and Israel’s greatest ally.
Annexation will push away the majority of the US Jewish community and alienate most Diaspora Jewry, dealing a fatal blow to our existence as the nation state of the Jewish people. Europe, Israel’s most important trade partner, will lose interest in ties with a state that perpetuates occupation. The claim that the occupation was thrust upon us and cannot be ended absent a partner on the other side will shatter. Pro-Western Arab states with which we have a strategic partnership against Iran, ISIS and al-Qaeda, will be unable to withstand popular pressure and growing hatred of Israel for burying prospects of a solution to the Palestinian issue, which continues to be a festering sore in the Muslim Arab world. The option of a bilateral solution will disappear and the Israeli-Palestinian issue will be dealt with by the International Criminal Court, in The Hague and by the forces of the boycott movement (BDS) in civil society.
Yes, a number of friends will stand by our side – mostly members of the racist, populist alliance affiliated with the traditional antisemitic camp, which supports us now only because at this point in history they see Islam and Middle Eastern refugees as a greater threat to their ethnic purity than the Jews. Yes, on this holiday celebrating freedom, we will be making a decision pushing us irrevocably into the camp of those leaders who do not believe in freedom and minority rights.
The tragedy is magnified further by the fact that those making this coalition agreement possible are people who understand the threat, who support the two-state solution and who are about to sacrifice it on the altar of the manipulated corona emergency. They could have placed the sovereignty issue at the top of the agenda where it deserves to be ("dayenu" – as we sing in the Seder, it would have been enough), but they did not. They could have refused to join the government to avoid legitimizing the annexation ("dayenu", it would have been enough), but they did not. They could have taken advantage of the majority of Knesset members they had on their side to prevent the formation of this government ("dayenu", it would have been enough), but they did not.
To draw a parallel to the four sons described in the Passover Haggadah, regrettably, the political simpletons hooked up with the wicked sons who are bent on eradicating the vision of the Declaration of Independence, rather than joining the wise sons who favor a liberal alliance consisting of Arabs and minorities of all stripes. That is how we arrived at this point in time that threatens our liberty, even as we mark the holiday of freedom.
Nadav Tamir is a Board Member at Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies; a former diplomat and policy advisor to president Peres.