18 June 2020, The Tablet

Israel at the tipping point


Israel at the tipping point

Political paintings and graffiti on the wall separating Israel and the West Bank
Photo: PA/NurPhoto, Artur Widak

 

The annexation by Israel of swathes of the West Bank, part of the Trump ‘deal of the century’, may commence in early July. A leading British Jew argues that such a step would have grave consequences not only for Palestinians, but for Israelis too

We are at a watershed moment in the modern history of Israel. The proposal to annexe land in the West Bank would not only deepen division and threaten Israel’s security: it would undermine the moral basis upon which the state claims to sit.

The annexation is partly being driven by US politics. It’s an election year, and President Donald Trump cares more about courting the Protestant evangelical vote than what is best for Israel. Annexation risks what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims is his priority: the security of Israel. Extending Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank would fundamentally damage the relationship with Jordan and Egypt. Jordan, in particular, will have to respond, given the number of Palestinians who live there, and will, at the very least, refuse to cooperate on security ­matters. Annexation would also deepen the chasm within Israeli Jewish society as well as between the Jewish diaspora and the Jewish state.

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