Israel’s Inclination to Annex Parts of the West Bank: Annexation Options and its Geographical and Political Limits

EPC | 22 Jun 2020

As he promised earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce the annexation of parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley in July 2020 in implementation of the US peace plan announced by US President Donald Trump on 28 January 2020. While the annexation process requires subsequent and extended political, legal and economic efforts, the move itself faces multiple Israeli, regional and international challenges.

This paper sheds light on the Israeli scheme of annexing parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, the problems related thereto, and the local, regional and international positions thereon. Eventually, the paper reviews the potential scenarios for the Israeli scheme.

The annexation project and the Israeli political scene

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that 1 July 2020 will mark the day of the implementation of the decision to annex Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 based on the US plan announced late January 2020 and referred to in the media as the “Deal of the Century”. According to the said US plan, Israel can annex the Jordan Valley region and areas with geographical contiguity between settlements, accounting to nearly 30 percent of the West Bank.[1] The plan specifies that Israel “will benefit from having secure and recognized borders. It will not have to uproot any settlements, and will incorporate the vast majority of Israeli settlements into contiguous Israeli territory. Israeli enclaves located inside contiguous Palestinian territory will become part of the State of Israel and be connected to it through an effective transportation system”.[2]

The annexation has an important legal dimension. Imposing Israeli sovereignty on the settlements amounts to the implementation of Israeli civil law on settlements that follow the procedures of military orders in running their everyday affairs due to the lack of recognition thereof by the Israeli law (in addition of course to the lack of recognition thereof by the international law). This means that after the annexation, the settlements will benefit from the services offered by the Israeli civilian ministries, being legally a part of the State of Israel.

Data released by the Peace Now movement indicate that the number of settlers in the West Bank (excluding Jerusalem) in 2018 reached nearly 427 thousand, accounting for 5 percent of the total population of the State of Israel. In addition, the number of settlements built by government decision reached 132, while the number of settlements built without government decision, which are called in Israeli political and judicial nomenclature “outposts”, 121 settlements.[3] The Jordan Valley alone houses 30 settlements and 18 outposts that house nearly 54 thousand people. Facts indicate that nearly five thousand Palestinians in the Valley region and within the Area C will be incorporated into Israel according to the US plan.[4]

Upon reaching an agreement to form the new Israeli coalition government late April 2020 on the basis of rotation between Likud’s leader Netanyahu  and Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance, the latter committed himself to the annexation project and the US plan without giving any details about his vision of the annexation and its limits and substance. He confirmed that he supports the annexation based on an international approval and without this step leading to regional destabilization or endangering the peace agreements signed between Israel and Arab countries, particularly the peace agreement with Jordan. The two provisions regarding the annexation within the agreement to form the coalition government underlined the need to coordinate with the US with regard to developing the maps and coordinate with the international parties to initiate the annexation on 1 July 2020 after it has been approved by the government and subsequently by the Knesset. Therefore, the coalition government agreement did not outline a detailed and clear map for the annexation, but rather a general reference to the project.

In an extended interview he gave to the right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom, Netanyahu gave some clarifications regarding his vision of the annexation. He said:

“Within . . . [the US]  package is a historic opportunity for changing the tide of history, which was pointing one way. The whole time. All the diplomatic plans proposed to us in the past asked us to concede swathes of the Land of Israel, return to the 1967 borders and divide Jerusalem. To take in refugees. This is a reversal. We aren’t the ones being forced to make concessions, rather the Palestinians are . . . If they see fit to meet and accept about 10 stringent conditions – including Israeli sovereignty west of the Jordan River, preserving a united Jerusalem, refusing to accept refugees, not uprooting Jewish communities, and Israeli sovereignty in large swathes of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], etc. – the process will move ahead. They need to acknowledge that we control security in all areas. If they consent to all this, then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state . . . an American statesman told me: ‘But Bibi, it won’t be a state’. I told him, call it what you want.”[5]

When asked by the journalist about whether the thousands of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will receive Israeli citizenship, Netanyahu’s answer was as follows: "No. They will remain a Palestinian enclave. You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them, they will remain Palestinian subjects if you will. But security control also applies to these places."

It is clear from Netanyahu’s remarks that he has not decided on the limits or substance of the annexation. In another statement, he said: “we are holding discussions with the US administration and our partners in the Israeli government on the matter. I’m trying to reach the optimal result”.[6] In a meeting with settlement leaders, Netanyahu told them that he might go for a reduced annexation, but in return, he would not freeze construction in settlements as stipulated by the US plan. He justified this assertion by saying that the annexation map has not yet been finalized. That is why he may have to annex less areas. In the same meeting, he explained that he has to move fast in this step before the US elections and that he will carry out this annexation regardless of items of the US plan.[7]

On the other hand, the leader of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance Gantz declared his commitment to the US plan. He signed the coalition government agreement that provides for the annexation in July 2020. He has a great responsibility in deciding the subject of annexation: firstly, he is the rotational Prime Minister in the second half of the current government’s tenure; and secondly, he is the defence minister in the government, that is, he is in charge of the army that is responsible for implementing the annexation. Besides, the second man in his alliance, Gabi Ashkenazi, is the foreign minister, and both men are former chiefs of staff of the Israeli army. Thirdly, his alliance rests on the social grassroots of the Israeli political centre which leans towards annexation within a comprehensive settlement with the Palestinians. Besides, the subject of annexation is not a priority among the demands of this public in the current stage that is experienced by Israel during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in the economic domain. In principle, both Gantz and Ashkenazi are not against the annexation. In a meeting he had with a group of settlement leaders in his capacity as defence minister, Gantz asked them to take what they can get, asserting that the move has to be finalized in coordination with the US and with its approval, that Israel has to make its moves while paying careful attention to what is happening on the ground, and that Israel should preserve the peace agreement with Jordan.[8]

Both Gantz and Ashkenazi belong to Israel’s conservative security trend which believes that the annexation should come within a final agreement with the Palestinians, while taking into account relations with the countries in the region. That is why Gantz will press for an extremely limited annexation. In this context, the Commanders for Israel’s Security movement, which is a non-governmental organization that brings together hundreds of Israeli military officers and expresses the views of the traditional Israeli security system, published an opinion poll on the position of the Israeli public regarding the annexation. According to the opinion poll, 25 percent of the Israeli public support the annexation, while 40 percent prefer a permanent solution based on the two-state solution.[9]

Netanyahu did not share his ideas about the annexation with his government partner, the Blue and White alliance. The Israeli army, which is ministerially accountable to Gantz, is also not aware of those ideas, nor is it aware of the annexation map that it will get prepared for on the ground. So far, it appears that Netanyahu will not share the decision on the limits of the annexation with the army and the security services.[10] This may be because he has not made up his mind yet as to the size of the annexation, or perhaps because he does not want to show that a disagreement exists between himself and the military and security establishment in Israel with regard to the annexation issue, especially that the latter tends to oppose the annexation under the current circumstances for fear that the annexation could lead to the outbreak of overall confrontations with the Palestinians, and for fear also that the strategic and security relations with Jordan could get damaged. In an interview with the German Der Spiegel magazine on 15 May 2020, Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein warned that the Israeli decision would set off a “massive conflict” with Jordan.

With regard to Gantz’s position, Yossi Beilin, former Israeli deputy foreign minister and one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, sent a message to Gantz in which he mentioned that the US administration has given Gantz a chance to prevent the Israeli annexation by making the materialization of the annexation conditional on the approval of the government coalition. Beilin says: “the US administration has made giving the green light for the annexation conditional on the approval of both Prime Ministers of Israel [Netanyahu and Gantz]. Gantz knows very well the reality more than his colleagues of new politicians. He is aware of the great advantages to be earned by Israel from the security relations with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA). He also knows that the leaders of Arab countries who whisper amity poems in our ears cannot approve such a move. The new US position gives him a pretext that was not there a few days ago. This is a chance to insist on what he used to repeat: “Israel before all”.[11]

As for the Labour Party which is taking part in the government coalition, it opposes the annexation without a final agreement with the Palestinians and coordination with the Arab countries. However, it has committed itself within the government coalition agreement not to dissolve or quit the government even if it opposes a political decision related to the annexation issue.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that settlement leaders in the West Bank are divided among themselves with respect to the annexation step and the entire US plan. On the one hand, there is the pro-Netanyahu trend which votes Likud within the settlements and considers that the annexation move is an important one in the process of completing the extension of sovereignty over all the settlements and that the US plan is a historical opportunity to legitimize settlement and prevent the establishment of the Palestinian State in the long run. As he told the settlement leaders, Netanyahu does not view the Palestinian State referred to in the US plan as a State proper, considering that Israel would have complete security control on the ground.[12]

This position was expressed by one of the theorists of the ideological right in Israel through his criticism of the position of the settlers opposed to the annexation. In an article entitled “The unseen opportunity”, the well-known Israeli rightist Nadaf Shargai indicated that the annexation is an opportunity to build once again an Israeli consensus on the Jewish State. That is why the settlers have to accept the annexation project in July, as imposing Jewish sovereignty on a part of the homeland territory in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] “is not an end, but rather a beginning”. He added that establishing sovereignty over 30 percent of the land would constitute an “important leverage in our historic attempts to redeem the land in full”.[13]

On the other hand, there is a trend among the settlers that is opposed to the current annexation and the US plan in its entirety. Their opposition stems from the fact that the annexation will not encompass all of the settlements and all the Area C in the West Bank which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the West Bank and encompasses all the settlements and settlers. They also believe that Netanyahu is heading for annexation within the framework of the US plan which also foresees the foundation of a Palestinian State on 70 percent of the land while Israel can only annex 30 percent of the area. They also oppose maintaining 15 settlements as enclaves within the Palestinian State and freezing construction in the settlements that will not currently be annexed.[14] David Elhayani, one of the opposed settler leaders and head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, said that “Trump and Kushner have proved through their plan that “they are not friends of the State of Israel and do not have Israel’s security and settlement interests in mind”.[15] This position has greatly angered Netanyahu who considered that those positions by the opposed settlers endanger the whole plan and the special relationship with the Trump administration.[16] The Yamina Party, which represents the religious Zionism and which remained outside the government coalition, expressed this view. In an interview, Ayelet Shaked of the Yamina Party said:

"Actually, the Trump plan was drawn up by Netanyahu. It should be called the Netanyahu plan. For many years, since the Bar Ilan speech, Netanyahu has been talking about a demilitarized Palestinian state, smaller than the one [Ehud] Olmert and [Tzipi] Livni talked about, but still a Palestinian state. We object to a Palestinian state. For me to support such a plan, a few changes need to be made. First, change the map. In the maps that I saw there is Palestinian contiguity and Israeli enclaves. It should be the opposite - Israeli contiguity and Palestinian enclaves. Also, according to the map we have, over 100,000 Palestinians will be granted citizenship. If we’re talking about annexing all of Area C, we can swallow citizenship for 100,000 people, but when you’re applying sovereignty to only 30 percent of the area, it’s not worth it . . . we’re not ready to have an agreement that says half of the territory goes to Palestinians. In that situation, we prefer to wait another 50 years. We have patience . . . it’s a plan that could endanger the settlements”.[17]

However, the other rightist parties, both religious and non-religious, in the government coalition support the annexation. For instance, the new rightist party Decent Behaviour (Derekh Eretz), which split from the Blue and White alliance, supports the annexation in all its forms. In an interview with Yoaz Hendel, the party chairman and Minister of Communications, regarding the limits and substance of the annexation, he said:

“I can say that the matter is under discussion. My position is giving preference to the Jordan Valley as a strategic area. It comes first. Second, sovereignty should be extended to the places with the least number of Palestinians. That is, in all places where sovereignty can be extended, I support that, provided that the number of the Arab population is small . . . There is a chance here to take more land and less people. We shall not accept the existence of a Palestinian state, but an autonomy.[18]

Palestinian, regional and international positions: can they prevent the annexation?

From the beginning, the PA had announced its absolute rejection of the US plan. It later took a series of steps in response to the Israeli annexation project expected in July. First, the PA approached the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, announcing that the annexation would release it from its obligations according to the Oslo Accords. It stopped all dealings with Israel, particularly the security coordination with it.[19] The Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced that with the annexation, the PA will “act as an independent State along the 1967 borders presently under occupation.[20] Within its endeavour to put pressure on Israel and in response to the suspension by Israel of the transfer of the PA’s tax funds because of the latter’s announcement of stopping coordination with Israel, the PA announced that it will cut the salaries of PA staff and stop money transfer to Gaza.[21] This Palestinian move is aimed at escalating the socio-economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and forcing Israel to assume responsibility as an occupying country.

In this context, the US position would be decisive in influencing the Israeli decision regarding the annexation. The US will support a reduced annexation by Israel in the West Bank. The pro-Israel Jewish lobby in the US (AIPAC) had conveyed a message to members of the US Congress that AIPAC would not object to criticism of the Israeli approaches of annexation and extension of sovereignty as long as the criticism would be limited to this subject alone.[22] The Trump administration has taken a decision to impose sanctions on members of the ICC because of the latter’s intention to open an investigation into suspicions of committing war crimes by the US army in Afghanistan and also because of the ICC’s intention to initiate an investigation into Israeli war crimes in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The US decision amounts to support of Israel at the International level and paves the way for the Israeli annexation which is deemed a war crime, considering that approaching the ICC is one of the PA’s options to counter this project.

Apart from the US position and some countries supportive of Israel, there is a consensus in the regional and international environment on rejecting the Israeli annexation project. Doubtlessly, Israel is utilizing the circumstances stemming from the coronavirus pandemic to promote this project. The European Union (EU) has expressed its opposition to the annexation. It held a special meeting for this purpose, indicating that it will take steps against Israel if it proceeds with this move. The recent visit by the German foreign minister Heiko Maas to both Israel and Jordan was intended to prevent the annexation project. The German minister released a joint statement with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman al-Safadi and the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in which they underlined that the annexation is in violation of the international law and that its prevention constitutes a primary priority.[23] During his visit to Israel, the German foreign minister warned that some European countries could impose sanctions on Israel and may proceed to recognizing the State of Palestine. He explained that Germany is not enthusiastic about imposing sanctions on Israel, but other countries are putting pressure on the EU to do so. Some European countries, such as Belgium, in addition to other countries in South America, have initiated the process of recognizing a Palestinian State.[24] During Maas’ meeting with Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi, the latter said that Israel will implement Trump’s plan responsibly by preserving the peace deals and within dialogue with our neighbours and that Israel will take the German position into consideration”.[25]

While Germany is considered one of Israel’s main friends, it is attempting to preserve the international law and the two-state solution.[26] It leads the efforts to convince Israel not to carry out the annexation in July, particularly that Germany will be presiding over the Security Council and the EU Council in the period ahead. The EU explained that the annexation would endanger the economic and academic cooperation between Israel and the EU whose support for research and development in Israel constitutes a pivotal factor for Israeli researchers and academics. According to one EU diplomat: “we have been cooperating with Israel through a large number of agreements that exclude the settlements. If Israel annexes the settlements, it would be difficult to distinguish between Israel and the settlements which would in turn endanger all the agreements with it even if in-kind sanctions were not declared”.[27]

In the context of regional positions, the UAE Ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba wrote an editorial in Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper entitled “Either normalization or annexation” in which he sent a letter via the newspaper to the Israelis, saying: “In the UAE and across much of the Arab world, we would like to believe Israel is an opportunity, not an enemy. We face too many common dangers and see the great potential of warmer ties. Israel’s decision on annexation will be an unmistakable signal of whether it sees it the same way”.[28]

The warnings and threats launched by countries and international organizations to Israel will not dissuade it from proceeding with the annexation project, except for the US which is the only power that is capable of preventing or limiting the annexation. As for the rest of the countries of the world, Israel believes that their opposition would be temporary and that things would subsequently return to normal after the annexation. It relies in this on its earlier annexation experiences, such as the annexation of Jerusalem after the 1967 war and the annexation of the Golan in 1981. Most countries opposed those moves but eventually relations were resumed between those countries and Israel. The latter sustained its annexation decision while, on its part, the world continues to consider the annexed areas occupied territories. This is an equation that Israel believes will be repeated with the current annexation project, especially if the annexation is limited to a specific area such as the Jordan Valley.

Annexation scenarios

The paper has reviewed the rationale of the Israeli annexation project that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aims to implement in July 2020. In this context, reference could be made to three possible scenarios with regard to this project.

First scenario: broad annexation according to the US plan

This scenario is based on the adoption of the annexation step in the US plan (Deal of the Century) whereby Israel can annex 30 percent of the area of the West Bank and extend Israeli sovereignty thereon. The annexation encompasses the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including the small outposts that were built without an Israeli government decision. This annexation is driven by the central trend in the Israeli Right that considers the plan a historical opportunity to annex all settlements and impose the Israeli civil law on them. The Right believes that although this annexation is partial and less than what it wants, its aspect pertaining to the Palestinian rights will not be implemented due to the Palestinian rejection of the plan. This gives Israel a starting point in completing the annexation of the remaining territories that is better than the current point.

This scenario poses difficulties for the Israeli government, as follows:

1- Opposition to this broad annexation by the Blue and White alliance which believes that the adoption of the broad annexation without a deal would constitute a threat to Israel besides being incompatible with the electoral rules of the alliance.

2- Opposition by the US itself which believes that it is too early for a broad annexation; in fact, the annexation has to be implemented within a final solution agreement with the Palestinians with the approval of Arab countries.

3- Israeli fear that this annexation will force Israel to grant citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since it cannot keep them without citizenship, otherwise it would generate a clear apartheid (racial segregation) system in the areas it will be annexing.

4- Opposition by the Israeli community to the broad annexation in view of its significant economic consequences, particularly in the current period in which the Israeli economy is experiencing great challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

5- The security risks of such an annexation which might drive towards the outbreak of violent clashes with the Palestinians that would bring back to Israeli minds the absence of stable security during the Second Intifada (Uprising). Besides, the annexation would bring about a new security burden for the military and security establishment that believes that the Iranian challenge is the most important at this stage and that the broad annexation could dissipate its concentration on that file.

6- The lack of civilian, legal, military and security readiness for the broad annexation.

7- Fear of the international isolation of Israel and the imposition of sanctions on it as a result of this step, in addition to considering this annexation a war crime.

8- This annexation entails a threat to the progress made in the Israeli-Arab relations in recent years which has been based on countering the Iranian danger and has been expanded to other cooperation domains.

Second scenario: limited annexation

This scenario is based on the idea of annexing only the Jordan Valley area which is part of the area assigned for annexation according to the US plan. It can receive an Israeli political consensus within the government, considering that the Valley is a strategic area in the Israeli security system. The factors that would make this scenario feasible are as follows:

1- The easiness of building an Israeli political consensus around it, especially within the government coalition. The annexation of the Valley would be met with a significant consensus within the Zionist political scene in Israel, considering that the disagreement between the components of this scene is between the annexation within a final agreement with the Palestinians and the approach based on a unilateral annexation. The government can promote this annexation inside Israel as a translation of the status quo and lend it legal legitimacy by extending Israeli sovereignty on those areas. Practically, the Valley is under complete Israeli control and the annexation is only an expression of that reality.

2- Promoting this annexation as part of the settlement based on the two-state solution, considering that it does not endanger the foundation of a Palestinian State according to the US plan.

3- The easiness of gaining US approval of this move as the plan has given special attention to annexing the Jordan Valley considering its security value for Israel. The scenario also fulfils the US condition of consensus over the annexation among components of the Israeli government.

4- The easiness of the security preparation for this annexation. Israel already maintains tight security control over the Valley. The annexation will only provide a proof of the army’s readiness in this respect.

5- The limited annexation does not entail granting citizenship to the Palestinians; in fact, it constitutes an important element of the settlement project that is based on the equation of “more land, less population”.

Third scenario: deferment of the annexation project

This scenario is valid but weak. The only factor that can prevent the annexation is a US request to this effect. All the international and regional moves will not be able to prevent Israel from the annexation, especially the limited annexation. The US is the only power that can force Israel to give up this project. The US could ask Israel to cancel the annexation in view of the threat it entails to regional stability, the rising US-supported Israeli-Arab relations, and the US interests in the region.

The factor that could stop the US from making this request is the approaching US elections. President Trump considers that his support for Israel in the annexation project ensures loyalty to him by the solid electoral grassroots, such as the Anglican Christians, especially that Trump’s popularity is decreasing due to his management of the coronavirus pandemic.

Conclusions

It appears from the above that Israel will proceed with the annexation project in July 2020 with US support so that the annexation would be limited, encompassing only the Jordan Valley region. Israel is aware that the annexation move would have a regional and international price. But based on its previous experience of annexing Jerusalem and the Golan, Israel looks forward to being able to afford that price which, it believes, will be temporary. Soon, everything will be back to normal in its view, based on two factors: first, the US support to Israel, and second, the existence of common issues between Israel and other countries, especially regional countries, that will eventually impose themselves and return relations to their normal pre-annexation course. Therefore, Israel will go for a limited annexation through which Netanyahu could satisfy his rightist grassroots that have his promise to take this step, satisfy his partners in the government coalition, specifically Benny Gantz, and satisfy the US that does not want a dramatic annexation move. Therefore, limited annexation would be Israel’s most plausible option based on those regional and international facts.

In case Israel implements the limited annexation decision, which is the most likely scenario, the response to the Israeli move could be as follows:

a- At the Palestinian level:

1- Approaching the ICC, considering that annexation is a war crime according to the international law. This can be done because Palestine has signed the Treaty of Rome and is a party to the Treaty. This approach will be met with US and Israeli wrath. However, the loss sustained by the PA from the annexation would be greater than this wrath which already existing and which was translated into the suspension of US aid to the PA and freezing Palestinian funds in Israel’s possession.

2- Organizing a peaceful popular mobility in the Occupied Territories against the annexation scheme.

3- Organizing an international protest movement at the level of international and civil society organizations, and seeking to coordinate international official political efforts against the annexation so that the annexation would be both politically and economically costly for Israel through driving towards the recognition of the State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders.

4- Putting an end to the state of intra-Palestinian division and consolidating the domestic front through reaching an agreement between the PA and Hamas that would put an end to the current situation and solidify the Palestinian domestic front to counter the Israeli scheme.[29]

5- Putting forward a counter-plan to the “Deal of the Century” and Israeli procedures that would form a foundation for a solution that is acceptable to the Palestinians. The plan could be based on the Arab Peace Initiative. While this plan is expected to be rejected by both Israel and the US, it will revive the Palestinian cause with the international community that supports the two-state solution.

b- At the Arab level:

Over the last few years, Israel has been boasting about having enhanced its relations with Arab countries. Therefore, the following can be done:

1- Freezing both formal and informal relations with Israel in all fields.

2- Organizing a structured and collective international and Arab mobility against the annexation in the US and international organizations.

3- Striving to obtain an international resolution against the annexation in the United Nations General Assembly and in the Security Council.

4- Supporting Palestinian political and diplomatic efforts in the international arena, including the recognition of Palestine as a country under occupation.

 

[1] The White House, Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, (Washington D.C: The White House, 2020).

[2] Peace to Prosperity, p 12.

[3] The Peace Now Movement website. Available at: https://peacenow.org.il/settlements-watch/matzav/population (last viewed on 25 February 2020).

[4] Hagar Shezaf, “Netanyahu and Gantz talk about annexing the Jordan Valley, but what does that mean?”, Haaretz, 24 January 2020. Available at: https://www.haaretz.co.il/news/politics/.premium-1.8437484

[5] Amnon Lord, an extended interview with Benjamin Netanyahu: a change we dreamed about, Israel Hayom, 28 May 2020, p. 2.

[6] Ariel Kahana and Yoni Hersch, “Netanyahu: talk harms sovereignty”, Israel Hayom, 12 June 2020, p. 13.

[7] Hagar Shezaf, “Netanyahu to settlement leaders: We may annex less than planned, and construction will not be frozen”, Haaretz, 9 June 2020, p. 4.

[8] Jack Khouri and Hagar Shezaf, “Palestinian Prime Minister: the Authority will act as an independent state”, Haaretz, 10 June 2020, p. 4.

[9] Itamar Aichner, “Most Israeli Jews are against annexing areas in Judea and Samaria”, Ynet website, 6 May 2020. Available at: https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5726170,00.html

[10] Amos Harel, “Everything is not under control”, Haaretz, 12 June 2020, p. 6.

[11] Yossi Beilin, “Trump threw Gantz a hot potato”, Israel Hayom supplement, 12 June 2020, p. 5.

[12] Op. cit.

[13] Nadav Shargai, “The unseen opportunity”, Israel Hayom supplement, 12 June 2020, p. 6.

[14] Noa Landau and Amir Tibon, “Rivlin: The debate on the issue of annexation should be: stop silencing questions about it”, Haaretz, 5 June 2020, p. 4.

[15] Hagar Shezaf, “Netanyahu to settlement leaders: We may annex less than planned”, Op. cit.

[16] Noa Landau and Amir Tibon, “Rivlin: The debate on the issue of annexation should be”, Op. cit.

[17] Yahuda Shlezinger, an extended interview with Ayelet Shaked, Israel Hayom supplement, 5 June 2020, pp. 25 and 29.

[18] Ariel Kahana, an interview with Yoaz Hendel, Minister of Communications, Israel Hayom supplement, 20 June 2020, p. 8.

[19] Noa Landau, “The Authority to The Hague: the annexation releases us from our Oslo obligations”, Haaretz, 7 June 2020, p. 4.

[20] Jack Khouri and Hagar Shezaf, “The Authority will act as an independent state”, Op. cit.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Kahana and Hersch, “Talk harms sovereignty”, Op. cit.

[23] Noa Landau and Hagar Shezaf, “Preventing Israeli annexation ‘a matter of priority’, German, Jordanian FMs declare”, Haaretz, 12 June 2020, p. 7.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Noa Landau, “The international community calls on Israel to delay the annexation as much as possible”, Haaretz, 7 June 2020, pp. 1 and 4.

[27] Ibid. p. 4.

[28] Yousef Al-Otaiba, “Either normalization or annexation”, Yediot Aharonot, 12 June 2020, p. 2.

[29] Marwan al-Muasher, “Is there a Palestinian plan to counter the annexation decision?”, the Carnegie Middle East Center, 7 June 2020.

 

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