Weekly Commentary: A Few Phone Calls Not Made Prevented Annexation on 28
Dr. Aaron Lerner 18 December 2021
Barak Ravid's interviews with Donald Trump are being cited now to explain
why Binyamin Netanyahu was not able to annex the Jordan Valley and Area C
during the course of his last term as prime minister.
But Hagai Segal's column in last Friday's edition of Makor Rishon provides
information which could support a very different assessment of what
When then Prime Minister Netanyahu departed for Washington along with
America's ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, for the historic 28 January
2020 signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords they were BOTH convinced that
Israel had the green light from Washington to annex immediately after
And they did not keep this to themselves.
"The United States Is Pressing Israel To Immediately Apply Israeli
Sovereignty To All The Communities In Judea And Samaria" read the 24
January, 2020 headline in Major Rishon, four days before the event.
Mr. Netanyahu alluded to this as he stood next to U.S. President Donald
Trump at the White House on that day, 28 January 2020:
"But you Mr. President, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in
the Jordan Valley and other strategic areas of Judea and Samaria. Rather
than pay easy lip service to Israel's security and simply shut your eyes and
hope for the best, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in
places that enable Israel to defend itself by itself."
Even later that day Binyamin Netanyahu continued to tell Israeli reporters
that he planned to annex once he returned to Israel.
And then Jared Kushner slammed on the brakes.
It could have been VERY different if instead of bragging to reporters, in
those crucial minutes, the Cabinet Secretary instead was instructed to carry
out an urgent telephone vote of the cabinet.
After all, there are two ways to annex: legislation and a Government
Here is the full text of the law that relating to annexation via Government
Ordinance Law and Administration, 1948
...11B The law, jurisdiction and administration of the State shall apply to
any area of the Land of Israel that the Government sets in an order.
That's right. All it takes is a vote of the Cabinet.
And there is a mechanism in place to carry out a Cabinet vote by polling the
ministers via telephone.
I repeat: at that point in time the Israeli leadership STILL thought that
they had the green light to do this AS DID America's ambassador to Israel,
So what would have happened?
Yes, Kushner would have been furious and he could have, in turn, convinced
his father in law to go into a rage.
But we Israelis were covered.
David Friedman was the obvious one to blame for the Cabinet vote.
After all, we relied on Mr. Trump's man in Jerusalem's guidance regarding the
position of his boss.
But, again, in that crucial period of time when annexation was a few phone
calls away, we still thought we had the green light to do it.
Yes, a Cabinet vote back in Jerusalem would have made for a better photo op.
But anyone with any understanding knew that with every passing minute, hour
and day, opponents of annexation would do everything in their power to derail
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