Two American observers: The annexation is likely to take place easily, but its consequences will come later

 Members of the American delegation to peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis in the Clinton and Obama administrations Robert Mali (currently chairing the International Crisis Group) and Philip Gordon (now the Council on Foreign Relations) published a lengthy article in the magazine "Foreign Policy" published On Monday (6-7-2020) they say that while the timing and scope of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan remains uncertain, "When Israel announces its expected decision to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, the world's attention will turn to the effect of immediate annexation" ... people who care about the region will be closely watched to see if the Palestinians will rise up in protest, or if the Palestinian Authority collapses or is dissolved, or if the Arab states cut their emerging relations with Israel, or if European countries impose sanctions on Israel or recognize the Palestinian state Believing it.After all warnings that annexation will lead to a catastrophe, all eyes will be on how the various parties respond to the annexation process.

And the authors add: "The good news for supporters of annexation is that while such dramatic developments are possible, it is unlikely to happen. But the bad news for them is what long-term annexation means. The formal integration by Israel of parts of the West Bank will not violate international law. Not only would he deprive the Palestinians of basic rights, but he would launch a process that would further undermine Israeli democracy, isolate Israel at the international level, and undermine US bipartisan support that was central to its success. "

And they continue: "By destroying any remaining horizons to keep the two-state solution alive, the annexation will inevitably push the present and future generations of Palestinians to claim equal rights in one political entity, and Israel's denial of those rights will weaken its support around the world."

The authors explain: “Israeli or American anti-Palestinian decisions often accompanied the predictions of a catastrophe, and these predictions often proved to be wrong. Perhaps the biggest example of this was the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which, despite its important symbolism, raised a lukewarm response. American Donald Trump and his advisers to refer to that precedent in saying that the annexation, like Jerusalem, will pass without a jolt. And as Trump said in October 2019: “Remember, they told us that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would mean the end of the world, right? But nothing happened. ”While White House advisor Killian Conway promised that there would be a“ big announcement ”of annexation when speaking to the press on June 25, jokingly said:“ There is always this dreadful approach to what may happen, and then nothing (happens). ".

But since doing so would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of Palestinian Authority employees, paralyze critical public services, and eliminate the benefits that Palestinian Authority leaders still enjoy, this type of threat is far more beneficial as a deterrent than it will be when it is actually implemented. It often accompanied Israeli or American decisions hostile to the Palestinians, and it was often proven wrong.

The Arab countries also warned of grave repercussions, according to the authors' opinion, as Jordan raised the specter of a "large-scale conflict" with Israel, while the United Arab Emirates confirmed that Israel could have annexation or normalization, but not both.

What about the Europeans? “The Europeans will also protest, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who have sent strong warnings to Israel, and they may consider more forward-looking ideas, such as banning imported goods from annexed areas, or suspending the European Union’s trade agreement,” says Mali and Gordon. And Israel, or recognition of a Palestinian state on unspecified borders, but in practice it is difficult to see many Europeans taking steps that would truly punish Israel due to their internal divisions, internal policies, and broader interests in relations with the Jewish state.

"For the United States, Trump's position is not in dispute, because the annexation, according to the position of the Israeli government, will only take place with Washington's blessing," the authors say.

But if Democratic candidate Joe Biden was elected President of the United States in the November elections, "Biden is likely to condemn the Israeli unilateral move, which he vehemently opposed, but at the same time he made clear that his broader support for Israel is unlimited, and he categorically ruled out linking Israeli steps to aid. Likewise, most Democrats in Congress, almost all of whom have expressed clear opposition to the annexation, will take a similar stance. The expected end result will be strong criticism of Israel, combined with blame on the Palestinian leadership for its refusal to negotiate under the limited annexation scenario, and some would be grateful to Netanyahu if he annexed it less than it was. Expectedly, thanking him for saving the two-state solution. With this, the annexation will continue, and the new map will be presented as a basis for future regional negotiations, and many Israelis will once again feel that they have advanced their interests without paying a price, and the series will continue.

However, the authors anticipate: "In the long run, the story will be different. Even if the annexation does not change anything on the ground on the first day, it will represent a fundamental turning point .. The annexation may be the last nail in the coffin of a real solution based on a two-state solution - on The opposite of what Netanyahu hopes for is a fake Palestinian state that is accepted according to Trump’s plan (the deal of the century). This plan will never work - not only because it is practically impossible to build a viable, sovereign, and connected Palestinian state on the remaining intermittent lands, but also for political and psychological reasons, that is, A Palestinian leader agrees to sit down with a party that has formally seized the land that they are supposed to negotiate with? Indeed, many Palestinian audiences have lost confidence in the Palestinian Authority, in talks with Israel, and in American mediation, and it will not take much for them to shift completely to another direction ".

The authors warn: "The signs of what is coming are clear among Palestinian youth in the Palestinian territories and in Israel and the diaspora, the two-state solution is seen as worse than unrealistic - it is unattractive. It has become an unattractive settlement, which will shorten the lives of those who live in the West Bank. Western and Gaza over a narrow and disjointed entity, depriving them of a real capital in Jerusalem, entrenching inequality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, giving Israelis security control over their country, and preventing even a token number of refugees from returning to their former homes. For the current Palestinian leadership, annexation will make the task Really difficult to defend the two-state solution is an almost impossible task. " "With demographics on their side, the next generation of Palestinians is likely to take this to the next logical step: Moving away from the bleak and unlikely prospect of a two-state solution to the most inspiring struggle (if it is equally implausible) for one democratic state with an equal rights policy for all. Instead of looking to the United States or the United Nations to help them negotiate with Israel, they will be more inclined to appeal to the International Criminal Court to bring charges against the occupation forces and its leaders.

The authors conclude, "Over time, annexation could have similar effects on American policy. It has already (so far) caused cracks in what was previously bipartisan (Republican and Democratic) support for Israel, and even pro-Israel Democrats in Congress are appealing. Netanyahu's lack of action. The picture can change further, especially as members of the Democratic Party are getting younger, more diverse and more in line with the broader movements for equal rights such as “Black Lives Matter.” Opinion polls show a decline in support for Israel between women, minorities, the millennial generation and liberals, who increasingly support sanctions to punish Israel for settlement expansion, human rights violations, or the use of military force in Gaza.

 

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