Storm clouds have gathered on the political horizon. They are already moving swiftly toward Israel. If the new government does not soon take a firm grip, it will be overwhelmed by a veritable hurricane of universal condemnation. Israel’s enemies, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, will have achieved their aim. Israel will be delegitimized in the eyes of the world.Perhaps because the new government was so long in the making, Israel’s publicity and media relations machine has still not swung into action. As a result, there is confusion in Israel and abroad about what action Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is actually proposing in the West Bank. He certainly indicated action of some sort during his election campaign. Because there has been no subsequent clarification, however, global opinion has decided that he intends unilaterally to annex Israeli-occupied areas within Area C. That perception has given rise to pre-emptive condemnation from around the world, not least from much Jewish opinion in the Diaspora.There are a number of ways to view the issue.First, the matter of land swaps is central to the Trump peace plan – rejected totally by the Palestinian Authority, but given a cautious welcome by a clutch of Arab states including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.In essence, the plan breaks through the argument over the status of the “occupied territories” – namely the areas conquered from the Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian armies in the Six Day War in 1967. In line with previous US determinations, the plan does not recognize the West Bank as Palestinian land since it belonged to no sovereign state when it was fought over and won by Israel. Accordingly, the plan allows Israel to incorporate the settlements in that area – historically known as Judea and Samaria – into Israel proper.Nevertheless, the plan envisages the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state on the areas outside the settlements, plus a Gaza greatly expanded by the yielding of Israeli territory south of the Strip. All Palestinian occupied territories would be made contiguous by way of a network of highways and a tunnel linking the West Bank to Gaza. That prospect is dependent on the Palestinian leadership fulfilling certain preconditions – such as renouncing terrorism and recognizing Israel as the Jewish state. The plan allows four years for these conditions to be met.At the White House on January 28, both Netanyahu and Benny Gantz accepted the plan, and undertook to abide by it. If the government indicates that any change in status of the West Bank is part of a firm intention to facilitate a sovereign Palestinian state, the anti-Israel situation could be largely detoxified. The onus would then be on the Palestinian leadership to justify their objection to talking peace.A second cause of confusion is to equate extending Israeli law and sovereignty to West Bank Jewish communities with “annexation.” They are not the same, but the government has so far issued no indication as to which path it is taking. Taking Israeli communities under normal Israeli jurisdiction rather than leaving them under military occupation could seem a reasonable step to much unprejudiced opinion.Third, as two experts in international security from the University of South Wales pointed out in The Jerusalem Post on June 7, Israeli action in the West Bank can be viewed from either end of the telescope. Extending Israeli jurisdiction to Jews living in the West Bank could indeed be seen as extending the scope of Israeli sovereignty. Alternatively, it could be viewed as Israel disengaging from its military occupation of Palestinians and taking its own citizens under its wing.The current problem is that there is no firm hand at the tiller of Israeli public and media relations. A clear decision needs to be taken at top leadership levels as to what exactly is proposed in regard to the West Bank. Then, the government publicity machine must carve out a firm line to disseminate to the world’s media, and get on and disseminate it.The writer is Middle East correspondent for Eurasia Review. His latest book is The Chaos in the Middle East: 2014-2016. He blogs ata-mid-east-journal.blogspot.com.