doubts hang over the implementation of Netanyahu’s project

In the midst of a health and economic crisis, no one knows whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah can implement his plan to annex a portion of the West Bank, scheduled for July 1.

Will Benjamin Netanyahu be able to implement his plan for annexing a portion of the West Bank on Wednesday, July 1? “Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows what will happen on July 1 in the following days. And Netanyahun no more,” Elias Zananiri, vice-chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Interaction Committee, told France 24. Israeli company . “But one thing is clear: the Palestinians will not accept any form of annexation,” he told France 24 on Sunday.

>> Read: What does the Netanyahu-Gantz Pact contain for annexing the West Bank on July 1?

According to the agreement signed in May between Benjamin Netanyahu and his former election rival Benny Gantz, their unitary government from Wednesday must decide on the implementation of the US plan for the Middle East, which specifically stipulates that Israel annex colonies and the Jordan Valley on the occupied West Bank. Some observers believe that the government could postpone or begin by annexing only certain colonies or blocks of colonies.

On Monday, Defense Minister BennyGantz said the project was not a priority, highlighting the coronavirus pandemic. After initially successfully containing the virus relatively well, Israel is currently registering an increase in the number of cases. In this context of the health crisis, only 5% of Israelis believe that annexation should be the government’s priority, according to a recent survey.

A quick annexation

But for Benjamin Netanyahu, the time is up. The mismanagement of the US crisis and Donald Trump’s poor investigations may suggest that the current US president will not necessarily be re-elected on November 3. Benjamin Netanyahu needs the architect for this plan who has the power to implement it. But his opponent in the White House race, Joe Biden, has strongly criticized the project and has already announced that he would not support it if he chose.

Benjamin Netanyah’s legal problems may also bring about the implementation of the plan: annexing the Palestinian territories would be a way to divert attention from the allegations of corruption, fraud and breach of trust. and the imminent annexation of the West Bank made headlines in the press and overshadowed the hearings in his trial.

To this is added the desire of Likud, the holder of the prime minister’s longevity record throughout Israel’s history, to retain power. Now he knows that annexation is important to the law, its base Strategically, if he does not annex, it will be problematic for his constituents. “

The road to an economic crisis

When Benjamin Netanyahu waits to make a decision, he must deal with the harsh criticism that his project brings. It must be said that the one-sided annexation “fears a new Israeli-Palestinian confrontation,” said analysts from AdvaCenter, a progressive think-tank based in Tel Aviv, in a publication released on June 17. “A new outbreak of violence will undoubtedly amplify the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic, just as the second intifada had aggravated the crisis generated after the bubbles burst on technology in 2000.”

The economic recession that followed the second intifada was described by Israel’s central bank as the longest in the country’s history. “During the second Intifada, the number of tourists entering Israel dropped to less than one million,” according to analysts at AdvaCenter.

A situation similar to being mistaken for the one who crosses the country today. In recent months, Israeli tourism – which is booming before the health crisis, with 4.6 million foreign visitors in 2019 – is again at half mast. Unemployment also rose to 18% from 3.4% before the pandemic. “To compensate for the losses caused by the epidemic, Israel must not only overcome Covid-19 but also stay away from conflicts,” said the same analyst.

“Appendix is ​​illegal. Full stop”

In addition to the economic aspect, Benjamin Netanyahu considers the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the Jewish settlements of the West Bank as his historical legacy. And the previous annexations of East Jerusalem (1967) and Golan Heights (1981) “were perceived as historical measures by former heads of government,” wrote Israeli journalist SeverPlocker in an editorial by Ynet. This latest annexation, according to the prime minister, will strengthen Israel’s hold on certain parts of the biblical land and allow it to better defend its borders. “

“The international community must respond quickly, warns Elias Zananiri.” I believe it is our duty to intervene and, for once, brandish the threat to Israel and tell the outgoing government that it cannot continue to act and act in spite of international law. “

“The annexation is illegal. Full stop,” Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a written statement on Monday. “All annexes. Whether 30% of the West Bank or 5%”. And to conclude: “I urge Israel to listen to its own former high officials and generals, as well as the many voices in the world and warn it not to continue on this dangerous path.”

Adapted from English by AudeMazoué