What does the Netanyahu-Gantz Pact provide for the annexation of the West Bank on July 1?

The future Israeli plan to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley may be very limited compared to the recommendations in Donald Trump’s Middle East plan. The first “guidelines” for the mission of the future Israeli government Netanyahu-Gantz do not explicitly mention “annexation”.

Just days before the sword, Sunday, May 17, by an Israeli trade union government formed by yesterday’s two rivals, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz.

If the hatch was first buried to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, this emergency compound, sealed on April 20, paves the way for the annexation of the Jordan Valley and settlements on the West Bank.

Since the power sharing agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz provides presentation for the Knesset, from 1your July, of a plan to implement the US project to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This project, presented in January by US President Donald Trump, encourages Israel’s annexation of the more than 130 Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley, a strip stretching between Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea, which would become Israel’s new eastern border with Jordan.

But revealed the evening of Wednesday, May 13, the “guidelines” for the mission of the future Israeli government do not explicitly mention “annexation”.

They mention the need to “strengthen national security” and work for “peace”. Fuzzy references, which indicate that the Israeli plan was presented on 1your Next July will include limited measures, such as the only connection to Israel of settlements near Jerusalem and not all territories mentioned in Washington’s recommendations. So do some Israeli analysts who invite to take a step back from political statements.

Not unanimously in Israel

“When you look at the coalition agreement and listen to what the Trump administration and Netanyahu have said about it, you would say it’s almost an agreement reached,” notes Daniel Shapiro, former US ambassador to Israel and visiting researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “I don’t think it’s an agreement. I think it’s going to take some time,” he said in the columns in Haaretz.

In fact, Benny Gantz is not known to be a true supporter of the annexation, nor his constituents in the center and left, to believe in Israeli polls. Rather, during his campaign, the leader of the party Bleu Blanc had declared himself an application of Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley, while he wanted to coordinate with the international community.

In the agreement that binds him to Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz had to give up the veto he asked for on the subject. Still, he is quite capable of influencing the way the annexation issue is seen behind the scenes.

According to Daniel Shapiro, the voice of the former chief of staff of the Israeli army will not be ignored. For example, he notes, the leader of the Blue White Party may propose annexes that are less comprehensive than those envisaged in Donald Trump’s plan, “somewhat” more modest, and in line with the Israeli consensus – such as the large settlement block near the Green Line. (the internationally recognized Israeli borders before 1967), “the researcher specifies.

Other factors may delay the rapid presentation of an Israeli plan. First, the high Israeli military hierarchy seems to oppose the annexation. A group of 220 former generals and senior Israeli military and security services have released a statement in early April, warns that unilateral annexation actions could “jeopardize the peace treaty and security cooperation with Jordan, coordination with the Palestinian security forces and the very Jewish character of the state”.

Even a small-scale annexation, they warned, “risks turning into a large-scale annexation,” triggering “a chain reaction over which Israel will have no control.”

An expert committee is already mapping the new boundaries

From here to 1your In July, an Israeli-American cartography committee is responsible for drawing the boundaries that will be established as part of the possible annexation project.

Orson’s work has been slowed by the coronavirus crisis, during which Israel has banned foreign nationals from entering its territory, says Times of Israel. While the US has evacuated some of its diplomatic staff.

Another signal: according to a senior White House official interviewed anonymously by the Israeli television channel The Thirteenth Channel, for the White House, the calendar is “not rigid” and the date 1your July for the final presentation of an Israeli annexation plan is not “a holy date”. Which suggests that it is not impossible to postpone the presentation of the plan.

Compete for the Netanyahu era

Benjamin Netanyahu will make every effort to vote on the annexation plan as soon as possible, ahead of the US presidential election in November. But for Daniel Shapiro, the cartography committee’s work will need time to negotiate, as it will be subjected to strong pressure, especially from the settler community, which requires a broad definition of its boundaries. Consequence: “This could bring the enclosed territory far beyond the 30% that the Trump administration has indicated it would support,” the expert said.

As the former high-ranking IDF officials pointed out in their letter at the end of April, excessive attachments can destabilize the Israeli government by disrupting the fragile balance in agreements between the Hebrew state, the Palestinian Authority and neighboring countries.

One thing is certain, postpone the presentation of the Israeli annexation plan after 1your July would go against Benjamin Netanyahu. The future Israeli Prime Minister is playing the clock and is taking advantage of the relative global silence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the functioning of international organizations. However, some warnings have been issued by the UN which declared that an annexation plan would be “legally, morally, politically, totally unacceptable” or by the European Union given that an annexation would be “in violation of international law”.

With AFP