Weekly Commentary: Will Bennett And Others Abort Historic "Annexation"?
Dr. Aaron Lerner 28 May, 2020
In a press conference yesterday Yemina MK Naftali Bennett slammed the
version of the Trump Map he has seen because it includes the area bracketed
by the two major highways to Jerusalem from the coastal plain, 443 and 1,
within the territory designated for the application of Israeli law.
Bennett asserted that the map, as written, would include some 230,000 Arabs
in the areas where, with the application of Israeli law, residents could
apply for Israeli citizenship like the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem. Bennett
explained that the goal is "maximum territory with minimum Arabs".
There is certainly room in the national camp for differences regarding the
weight one gives to increasing the Arab population in Israel with numbers
which, in and of themselves, don't come anywhere close to ending the Jewish
majority in the Jewish State.
But then Bennett opted to voice a threat: he would support a "good map" and
oppose a "bad map".
I recognize that this is a complicated period. After all, traditionally
Binyamin Netanyahu cites protests within his own camp to strengthen his hand
in discussions with Washington. So opposition within the national camp to
what they see as a less than ideal map could be exploited to convince the
Trump Team to improve the map.
My concern is that there is a very real possibility that this opposition
somehow snowballs to the point that it derails the entire program.
Naftali Bennett says he won't support a "bad map."
But the truth is that ANY map is better than NO map!
Ben Gurion was correct when he boldly took that position for the Partition
Map and today is no different.
Opposition in the national camp appears to compare this opportunity to a
currently nonexistent alternative of:
- Unilateral application of Israeli law to exactly the territory we want
(ignoring for the moment the absence of a consensus in the national camp
regarding what we want).
- No limits of any kind on Jewish construction anywhere this side of the
- No territory this side of the Jordan River subject to an Arab entity whose
scope of authority is not acceptable (ignoring for the moment the absence of
a consensus in the national camp regarding what is and is not an acceptable
scope of authority for such an Arab entity).
Again. this is a currently nonexistent alternative. In sharp contrast, the
reality which we face has been an ongoing series of Jewish construction
freezes along with massive illegal Arab construction. And while its
impossible to be certain what a Congress and White House controlled by the
Democratic Party may do, suffice it to say that declining to apply Israeli
law according to a Trump Map would in no way improve our prospects.
Opposition to applying Israeli law within the framework of possible
negotiations over the creation of a Palestinian autonomous state (the Trump
"Vision" explicitly strips the term "sovereignty" of any meaning) gives
precedence to words over action. We are not engaged in a theoretical
ideological debate as we sit in an early 20th century European salon. Today
action trumps words.
And finally, a technical note. The Trump "Vision" proposes that until we
actually make a deal with the Palestinians that we can demolish anything
ANYWHERE which we unilaterally consider a "safety risk" and/or illegally
constructed after the January 2020 announcement of the Trump "Vision". That's
an unprecedented American green light to bulldoze whatever we choose to in
Area C and beyond.
Ben Gurion was right. Let's follow his lead.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations