Friday, May 29, 2020

Should Israel Annex West Bank Settlements?

By any objective measure things are looking good for Israel. Thanks to the Trump administration, which has undone many of the anti-Israeli policies put in place by the Obama administration, Israel’s strategic position in the region has improved significantly.

Now, the issue on the table is the Israeli and American effort to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank. As might be expected, the Palestinian terrorists oppose this action. So does presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Biden.

In order to lure Jewish voters into voting against their interests, Biden continues to float the phony prospect of a peace plan. As it happens, there are no peace negotiations. The Palestinian terrorists do not want peace. Talking about peace is merely a lure to dupe the gullible.

As noted, the important point involves Israel’s strategic position in the region. The second important point is Israeli alliances with Arab states. The third important point is to the need to destroy the Iranian regime. On these scores the Trump administration has done excellent work.

When Biden talks about undercutting the prospects for peace he really means that he wants to undercut Israel’s position in the region. And he refuses to accept the simple fact that Israel succeeded in a place where the Palestinians failed. And that Palestinians have nothing left to do but to negotiate terms of surrender.

Here is the Biden policy:

Joe Biden said that as president he would reverse Trump administration policies that have led to Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

“I do not support annexation,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told Jewish donors on Tuesday during a fundraising webinar. “I’m going to reverse Trump administration steps which I think significantly undercut the prospects of peace.”

Biden, the former vice president, was referring to the Trump administration’s vision for peace released earlier this year that would allow Israel to annex parts of the West Bank. 

Of course, the Trump peace plan was greeted favorably by Gulf Arab states. One should not overlook this fact.

David Hornik reports on the current game of diplomatic chess:

Will Israel start “annexing”—the more accurate but cumbersome term is “applying Israeli law and/or sovereignty to”—the Jordan Valley and the Israeli West Bank communities in July?

A report by reporter-analyst Daniel Siryoti in the Israel Hayom daily strengthens the likelihood that… the Israeli move is on track for July.

As you know the Palestinian Authority has thrown a tantrum. And Turkey's president Erdogan has said that he will not let it happen. King Abdullah of Jordan has protested vehemently, but his protests seem to have been more theatrical than real. Other nations have sent a different message. 

Opponents of applying sovereignty say it will needlessly rile or even endanger Israel’s improved—though still mostly under-the-table—relations with Arab states, and will also spark a surge of Palestinian violence. But Siryoti’s report puts at least the former assumption in doubt.

“Behind the scenes,” he says, “moderate Arab leaders are in no rush to prevent Israel from pursuing the territorial bid.”

That would be in contrast to their public statements—especially in the case of Jordan’s King Abdullah, who warned of “massive conflict” with Israel and suspension of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty if Israel applies sovereignty to the lands.

Yet, says Siryoti, “over the past few months several Arab leaders have met with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and US Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz [and] in essence, given the go-ahead” for the Israeli move.

Why would Arab leaders be giving the go-ahead for Israel to finalize its control of territories it conquered in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war?

Apparently, Jared Kushner has been doing a good job here. You will never read it in the media, perhaps because of his religious persuasion. 

A “senior Jordanian official,” Siryoti writes, told him that if Jordan suspends or cancels the peace agreement [with Israel], it will undermine its position [as custodian of] the holy Islamic sites in Jerusalem.

The king also prefers to see Israeli troops near Jordan’s western border [the Jordan Valley] over Palestinian forces or a multinational peacekeeping mission. Jordan’s security forces have close ties with their Israeli counterparts and with all due respect to Palestinian interests—the king cares more about Jordanian interests. He wants to maintain the kingdom’s status in Jerusalem and his good relations with President Trump.

Perhaps more importantly, Saudi Arabia has been telling the Palestinians to cut it out. We have reported extensively on signs of a Saudi shift, and we will point out that when a country like Jordan needs financial assistance, it calls Riyadh.

The following information strikes me as significant, especially since it sustains a point I have been making for a few years now. I underscore that the Saudis respect the Trump administration, fact that you will never read in the American media:

As for Saudi Arabia, whose tacit ties with Israel have been growing, Siryoti quotes a “senior diplomat considered a confidant of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman” who told him:

…the Palestinians need to understand that the entire world, especially the Arab states, has undergone great changes…. With all due respect to the tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley, Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Jordan will not jeopardize their relationship with the Trump administration for them.

…It is time for [Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas] and his advisers to wake up and realize that global and regional interests have changed. If they again miss an opportunity to establish an independent and sovereign state alongside Israel because of the annexation of the [Jordan] Valley and some of the settlements, they will be left with nothing.

The same message is coming from Egypt.

And as for Egypt, a “senior Egyptian security official” said that moderate Arab rulers “see preventing Iran from achieving Shiite hegemony in the Middle East as more important than the Palestinian issue.” The official added, “The United States and Israel are very important [players] in the fight against Iran. No Arab leader will jeopardize his country’s own interest in curbing Iranian expansion for the Palestinians.”

So, the Palestinians have lost. They will probably be the last to know. Their only hope now is a Biden administration willing to prop up the mullahs in Tehran and to undermine Israel’s strategic interests. 


UbuMaccabee said...

Pull the trigger. Nobody is going to do a damn thing about anything right now. Good time to take action. You think China hasn't noticed?

Sam L. said...

The Palis have a track record of NEVER missing a chance to miss a chance; why would they want to blow that record?