By Salman Parviz

Bibi’s small window for illegal annex

June 9, 2020 - 10:48

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that on July 1 he will start the process to annex the illegal Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank territory, as he pledged in the campaign.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that on July 1 he will start the process to annex the illegal Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank territory, as he pledged in the campaign.

There is less than a month left until he will apply Israeli sovereignty over large sectors of land the Palestinians have counted on for a future state. The unilateral annexation would break Israel’s commitments to the Palestinians under a prior peace agreement and destroy any hope of a conflict ending deal. It is also a reminder for the moderate Palestinians that Israel cannot be trusted.

Opponents to the annexation argue that it would ignite a new wave of violence in the West Bank and force King Abdullah II of Jordan to adopt a hardline stance against Israel, endangering the previous treaty arrangements between Amman and Tel Aviv.

In January, the annexation won the backing of U.S. President Donald Trump administration, with the so-called “Deal of the Century” which allows Israel to keep up to 30 percent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley as well as all existing illegal Jewish settlements.
Jewish settlements are illegal under the Geneva Convention. To Israeli nationalist Zionists, however, the West Bank is Judea and Samaria, the biblical homeland of the Jews.

Unilateral annexation would weaken the Zionist regime’s support with Democrats in U.S. as well as moderate Arab states, would destabilize Jordan, a country where Palestinians form the majority, and spark the third Intifada movement inciting a new era of resistance. 
Mahmoud Abbas’s tenure is nearing an end. His successor would most likely be more militant.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Borrell has called on Netanyahu to back off from annexation and said he will launch a diplomatic push in opposing Israel’s plan.

Netanyahu’s power-sharing deal with Gantz gives him the first 18 months in power. His long-awaited corruption trial opened on May 24 in Jerusalem when the judges rejected his request to stay home. He became the first serving prime minister to face criminal prosecution.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, thousands of Israeli protesters demonstrated in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu’s plan. The demonstrators gathered under the banner “no to annexation, no to occupation, yes to peace and democracy.”

Now the pressure is on Netanyahu to act swiftly as American November 3rd elections could replace Trump with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has spoken out against unilateral annexation. Biden formally won the Democratic Party nomination on Friday to challenge Trump in upcoming presidential election.

The 77-year-old Biden has warned that Trump will try to push back the November election: “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”

Due to Trump’s lethargic and ineffective response to the new coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. became the world epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The American public are bound to feel the pinch of the economic fallout once pandemic restrictions ease in the near future, along their long road to economic recovery prior to the November elections.

To make things worse, the Trump administration has lost the black vote in the upcoming U.S. elections due to lack of leadership and poor response in the cruel death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody, who was choked at the hands (rather knees) of the police. 

The incident has sparked unprecedented demonstrations as protesters persevered for 13 straight days in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities.

As “Black Lives Matter” so do black votes today – it has never mattered more. Black voters constitute 12 percent of American national electorate, are set to pick the next president. Joe Biden was set to retire if it was not for the black votes. His service as vice president to America’s first black president certainly helps his campaign.

Expect a larger turnout of black people in this year’s U.S. elections. In 2016, while the white turnout went up, “the black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years”, according to the Pew Research Center.

Apart from the black vote, Trump is expected to lose support of young people in the polls, as was evident by their presence in the recent anti-racist demonstrations across the U.S.

In his desperation Trump urged Tehran on Friday to “make the Big deal” on the nuclear program, an invitation to an adversary to give him a diplomatic win to help return him to office.

“Thank you to Iran,” Trump wrote in a tweet about the release of a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Tehran, Michael R. White. “Don’t wait until after U.S. elections to make the Big deal. I’m going to win. You’ll make a better deal now!” It sounds like Trump’s back in his real estate dealing days.

The offer was promptly rejected by Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif in a tweet pointing out that all the other signatories of the deal “never left the table,” adding that “Your advisers – most fired by now – made a dumb bet. Up to you to decide when you want to fix it.”

As Trump’s chances for reelection diminish expect Netanyahu to expedite his annexation plans, giving it all he’s got before November. This is another reason why this plan is unwinnable.

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