Israel’s Annexation Plan for Palestine

The “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been more a useful excuse to do nothing than a realistic possibility, a point now being expressed openly by some Israeli leaders who favor simply imposing their will on the Palestinians, as John V. Whitbeck notes.

By John V. Whitbeck

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of the Economy and leader of the Jewish Home Party, a major component of the current Israeli government, is widely seen as the politician on the rise in Israel and a potential successor to Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister after the next Israeli elections.

On Nov. 6, he published a highly significant opinion article, entitled “For Israel, two-state is no solution,” in the International New York Times. In this article, Bennett argues that “for its security, Israel cannot withdraw from more territory and cannot allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank” and then proceeds to propose his own “four-step plan” for peace.

A map showing Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

A map showing Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

His “peace plan” notably includes Israel’s unilateral annexation of Area C, approximately 61 percent of the West Bank, so as to “reduce the scope of the territory in dispute, making it easier to reach a long-term agreement in the future.” In his vision of peace, any “Palestinian entity” on residual ink spots of Areas A and B of the West Bank “will be short of a state. It will not control its own borders and will not be allowed to have an army.” As for Gaza, “it cannot be a party to any agreement.”

Bennett concludes: “I am aware that the world will not immediately accept this proposal. It seems to go against everything Israel, the Palestinians and the international community have worked toward over the last 20 years. But I will work to make this plan government policy because there is a new realty in the Middle East, which has brought an end to the viability of the Oslo peace process.”

One may hope that Bennett’s blast of honesty will blow away any residual illusions within those Western governments which have for decades been blocking the realization of a Palestinian state on the ground by arguing that a Palestinian state can only exist, even on a purely legal level, as a result of negotiations with Israel i.e., after almost half a century of belligerent occupation, with the prior consent of the occupying power.

One may also hope that Bennett’s honesty will help Western governments to recognize the urgent necessity to save the two-state solution by one or, ideally, both of the only two conceivable courses of action to do so (1) the United States not vetoing an application by the State of Palestine for full member-state status at the United Nations and, thereby, letting it happen and (2) building on the virtuous example of Sweden, a tsunami of diplomatic recognitions of the State of Palestine by the 19 European Union states which have not yet done so, followed by a clear and coherent program for intensifying EU sanctions until Israel complies with international law and relevant UN resolutions by withdrawing fully from the occupied State of Palestine.

In a world that still professes formal respect for international law and the UN Charter, the occupation of a UN member state by a neighboring state cannot be permitted to endure indefinitely, and Europe is Israel’s principal trading partner and cultural homeland, with Israel enjoying special privileges that give it many of the advantages of virtual EU membership.

Either course of action would represent a wholesome and constructive reality check to Israeli society and render the end of the occupation a mere question of when rather than of whether.

It appears that the legislatures of France and Spain are on track to vote on recognizing the State of Palestine prior to year-end, although, as in the case of the overwhelming favorable vote in the British House of Commons and the unanimous favorable vote in the Irish Senate, neither vote would be binding on their respective governments.

If the U.S. government were to permit the State of Palestine to become a UN member state, there is good reason to believe that a wave of diplomatic recognitions by EU states, which have traditionally deferred to the United States on all matters relating to Israel, Palestine and the so-called “peace process,” would rapidly follow.

There is also some reason for hope that the Republican Party’s new total control of the U.S. Congress, which rules out any domestic achievement for President Obama in his final two years in office, will focus the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s attention on leaving a legacy of historic foreign policy achievements which remain within his discretion and power to achieve.

If, however, neither of these two courses of action has eventuated by mid-2015, the Palestinian people and leadership, as well as all decent people who truly seek peace with some measure of justice in Israel/Palestine, should consign the “two-state solution” and the current “two-state legality” to the trash heap of history, accept the current “one-state reality” and embark upon a principled, long-term, anti-apartheid struggle for equal rights and human dignity in a unitary state for all who live in former Mandate Palestine.

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

16 comments for “Israel’s Annexation Plan for Palestine

  1. Basle
    November 7, 2014 at 10:26

    Israeli leaders are ready to move to phase II: claiming sovereignty over the whole of Palestine, cynically using the failure of the Oslo process which they made a mockery of (phase I). Whoever they were and whatever they say or did, they never had any intention to cease the smaller piece of territory to the Palestinians, with perhaps the notable exception of Isaac Rabin,. If Naftali Bennett ever becomes prime minister, Israel will be an apartheid state.

    • Abe
      November 7, 2014 at 23:25

      In July 2013, the Tel Aviv daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israeli economy minister and Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett was at a cabinet meeting, arguing with National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror about the release of Palestinian prisoners.

      Bennett proposed a way for Israel to avoid having to put prisoners on trial:

      Bennett: “If you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them.”

      Amidror: “Listen, that’s not legal.”

      Bennett: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.”

  2. Abe
    November 7, 2014 at 07:24

    The American Jewish community is diverse. However, certain Jewish American enthusiastically support Israel’s demand for unlimited colonization of the occupied territories of Palestine.

    A pro-settlement rally in Manhattan in 2010, the previous U.S. midterm election year, was documented by journalist Max Blumenthal, author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

  3. Abe
    November 7, 2014 at 07:02

    Israel also seeks to annex the illegally occupied Golan Heights, seized by the Israeli military during the 1967 War. Destruction of the Syrian government by terrorist forces backed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel would facilitate the outright annexation of the Golan by Israel.

    Most of the Syrian inhabitants were ethnically cleansed and dozens of villages were razed. However, an estimated 20,000 indigenous Syrian Druze continue to live in the six villages still standing.

    In violation of international law, dozens of Jewish-only colonies have been built across the territory and provide residence to some 21,000 Israeli settlers.

    Golan activists condemn “suspicious visits” by “racist” Israeli politicians
    By Patrick Strickland

  4. Abe
    November 7, 2014 at 04:07

    Call it population transfer, ethnic cleansing or genocide, the Eretz Yisrael Ha-Shlem annexation project envisions a geopolitical and ethnic reconfiguration along the lines of the postwar expulsion of Germans from east-central Europe. Palestine would go the way of Prussia.

    The plan seeks to avoid another major war between Israel and neighboring Arab states.

    The most ambitious version of this project aims to remove the entire Muslim population of Palestine into surrounding Arab states that have been suitably weakened by proxy forces and terrorist attack.

    The Yinon Plan, “Greater Israel”, Syria, Iraq, and ISIS: the Connection

  5. Duglarri
    November 7, 2014 at 02:44

    It’s not the annexation plan that I think we should be worried about- it’s what comes after. Annexing the West Bank leaves Israel with the problem of what to do about its excess population, and their conclusion is already available and openly stated by the same people who are arguing for outright annexation: the non-Jews will have to find somewhere else to live.

    In this Israel is faced with the same problem Hitler faced when he annexed huge areas of Eastern Europe: what to do with the excess population.

    And we know how he eventually dealt with the problem. The Zionists are on a precisely comparable path- and say so.

  6. Abe
    November 6, 2014 at 21:57

    The Likud movement always had a fondness for national myths, but even among its members Zionism was first and foremost about settlements and security, not religious salvation. The growing interest in the Temple Mount among Likud members embodies the change that has taken place in the political discourse in Israel, one that if not understood, will render our understanding of the current tensions and violence in Jerusalem incomplete.
    the ruling party has turned from a traditional-secular party professing a security-based rejection of territorial compromise, into an ethnic-nationalist party which places at the center of its agenda a mythological concept. This mythic narrative is based on the belief that the Temple Mount constitutes a metaphysical focal point for the People of Israel, a sort of divine power socket, the connection to which charges the nation with force and vitality.
    the danger in basing a political discourse upon a religious one. Danger to religion, for this way it may be prostituted into a political tool, and danger to the state, for it is very difficult to act in a judicious manner out of messianic fervor.

    Religion and politics have been entwined since the dawn of time, but in the last few centuries the Western world has chosen to separate the estates in order to promote a democratic and tolerant public sphere. Before our very eyes we are witnessing an attempt to re-couple the religious myth with the political-diplomatic sphere. The political discourse is undergoing a transformation: It is gathering mythological charges onto itself, reestablishing itself not on the foundation of security but on that of salvation tales, and is served up coated in religious folklore and messianic shmaltz. Whether due to naïve faith and whether to preclude any possibility of political compromise, the Jewish prayer and the Diaspora are invoked, and fiery talk is heard of heart and longing and age-old yearning. Before you can say “A national home for the Jewish people”, the government of Israel has been turned into an agent of the messiah and a contractor of the almighty. Presto – we have entered the domain of the end-times apocalyptic.

    The Temple Totem and the Mythification of the Likud
    By Tomer Persico

  7. Abe
    November 6, 2014 at 20:36

    Israel’s Land Injustice Perpetuated by a Racist Discourse

  8. November 6, 2014 at 19:51

    It is not a “blast of honnesty”, but a blast of Jewish impudence. Israel has always imposed their will on the Palestinians and has never had any other intention–not even during the famous Yitzhak Rabin.

  9. Gregory Kruse
    November 6, 2014 at 16:41

    Naftali Bennet seems to be channeling Theodor Hertzl.

  10. Anonymous
    November 6, 2014 at 16:32

    “If the U.S. government were to permit the State of Palestine to become a UN member state”

    That will never happen. The zionist network has captured Congress and the Presidency. The only alternative is to allow Israel to create a one-state between the Jordan and the sea. Then a real campaign similar to the one in apartheid S. Africa can be waged by the masses and won. Of course, with a growing Palistinian majority it will mean an end to the ethnic supremacist “Jewish” state, a gift to the Middle East and the world.

  11. Brendan
    November 6, 2014 at 16:01

    Naftali Bennett is not the only senior Israeli politician who is in favour of annexing a large part of the West Bank. Some members of Benyamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party would like to do the same.

    Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September “was the way to tell the world that the two-state solution had died.”
    She went on, “For starters, Israel must annex Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], as this sends a message to the world and to the Palestinians that we are here to stay.”

    Likud MK and former Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon imagines an archipelago of Palestinian cities — Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron — as Arab islands in an Israeli sea.
    “I think we should no longer think of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Palestinian settlements in Israel …
    … The Jewish people are not settlers in the West Bank, but Israel will make the Palestinians settlers and Jordan will be the one taking control over Palestinians and that’s it,”

    Israeli politicians seem to be living in a bubble due to being isolated from any sanctions or severe criticism, especially from the USA. They’ve got away with so much already that they think there is no limit to what they can do.

  12. Joe Tedesky
    November 6, 2014 at 11:39

    After doing a quick google search I come to find out Mr Whitbeck is the real deal. Recently, Whitbeck has called for “delegitimizing Zionism” (which he calls a “racial-supremicist, settler-colonial experiment”) and rejecting the “peace process”.

    After a century of this Zionist experiment gone wrong, will the world wake up to the plight of the Palestinians? My guess is the world ‘yes’, America ‘no’. As we sit here at this very moment the American media is reporting on a Palestian hit and run car tragedy which killed an Israeli citizen. All fairness is out the window, when it comes to protecting the state of Israel. Americans have and are led to believe that all Palestinians are evil. The Zionist have waged a very successful media campaign against the people of the old Palestine nation. All hope is loss unless for some reason the real truth starts being reported.

    • dave
      November 6, 2014 at 21:44

      i just got done reaearching the 1949 lausanne conference. president truman ordered his chief delegate, mark ethridge, to make sure the jews return all the land they had conquered in their militaristic invasion of palestine or the nafta (palestinian holocaust) back to the palestinians which was beyond the borders set up by the UN.
      ethridge, finally learning the ways of the jews, disgustedly telegramed truman back telling him how utterly frustrated he was with the unbending hardline ways of the jews while complementing many sacrifices that the palestinians were making in the interest for peace.
      ethridge daid convinced that the jews will never give an inch!
      so, with all this talk about the 1967 borders in the news, we really should be talking about the 1949 borders.
      israel lies about EVERYTHING!
      they are like cancer, first infecting then spreading.
      but its really too late. they totally control washington, which controls the military. the only hope to save whats little left of the US is a military coup from within.
      the next fake US president will virtually be totally controlled by israel.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 7, 2014 at 10:41

      Dave I feel your anger, but before a military coup, next time Wall Street comes up short, then don’t bail them out. Money, in our politics is what is wrong. In so far as it goes for AIPAC then enforce the Logan Act. Interesting stuff there about Mark Ethridge. Thanks for your reply.
      Joe Tedesky

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