By Mohammad Mazhari

If not for the Arab collusion, the annexation plan would not have been passed: Palestinian expert

July 19, 2020 - 20:4

TEHRAN – A Palestinian analyst believes that the Arab collusion provided an opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to take steps toward the annexation of the occupied West Bank.

"The Arab reality is catastrophic, and this provided a window and opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to pass the annexation plan," Zakarya Al-Ahmad tells the Tehran Times. 

He argues that if it was not for the Arab collusion, Israel would not have embarked on annexing the West Bank.

Following is the text of the interview:

Question: What are the reasons that some Israeli parties oppose the annexation of the occupied West Bank?

Answer: Here are three types of opposition to the annexation plan inside Israel. The first one is supported by the left-wing parties that talk about a peaceful solution for Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  Labor Party adopts this approach, but they are in the minority. 

The other critic of the annexation plan is the religious Zionists, especially the leaders of settlements. They believe that the West Bank is part of Israel, and therefore merely annexing parts of this area is not enough, and here lies the dispute over the scope of annexation.

The third group comprises of moderate parties, such as Blue and White and its allies. This party opposes annexation based on its leftist background and believes that it can lead to strategic problems in their relations with the Palestinian Authority and the U.S.

They call for harmony with the U.S. and the international community, emphasizing that the annexation without American approval, may result in problems at international level.

Q: Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned Benny Gantz that he would either have to accept the annexation plan or hold early elections. Do you think that annexation would lead to the collapse of the Israeli government?

A: As for Netanyahu's warning to Benny Gantz, I rule out that it will lead to the collapse of the government for two reasons: The first reason is that Netanyahu actually works within the U.S. framework, and this is the reason for a delay in annexation, and therefore when he wants to take a step or take a final decision concerning annexation, he will consider into account Washington’s agreement, and Benny Gantz has no problem in this regard. The second reason is that Benny Gantz will be a loser in case of dissolving the coalition government for an important cause. 

If new elections are held, Netanyahu will win with a greater difference, given that the coalition or the powerful bloc (the Blue-White bloc) that had re-run the elections three times disintegrated after Benny Gantz joined the government and defected from his alliance with Yair Lapid.

Benny Gantz has no chance to win if he enters the election race, and so far he has no achievement on the ground. His coalition disintegrated, and he will lose if he competes Netanyahu, according to opinion polls.  Benjamin Netanyahu is able to win more than 40 seats in the Knesset, and he can form a government with right-wing parties.

Q: How do you see the positions of Western countries and international institutions toward the annexation plan? Will it affect relations between the European Union and the Zionist regime?

A: With regard to the positions of the European Union and international institutions, the important point is that European countries often limit themselves to condemning and objecting, but nothing will translate into action. Three cases proved this approach during the last period: The first case is the annexation of the Golan and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The second case is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the third point is the "Deal of the Century."

“If the Palestinian Authority decided to confront Israel and let the people resist on their own, I think we can expect a new Intifada.”There was indeed opposition from some Western countries and international institutions, but it was not translated into real policy. 
Consequently, he does not believe that these international institutions can change the annexation decision or prevent Israel from implementing the plan, or imposing sanctions on Israel. 

In addition, even if these institutions could change something, Israel possibly would be affected minimally. Still, soon Israeli diplomacy will restore balance to relations, and relations with these institutions will recover. Since Israeli diplomacy is rooted in these institutions, it cannot be affected in the long run.

During the past years, the European Union was against settlement and imposed sanctions on the settlements and their products, but Israel continued to build many Jewish settlements and did not stop, on the contrary accelerated it.

Q: What will be the reaction of the Palestinian factions if the West Bank is annexed? Do you expect a new uprising?

A: The Palestinian factions threatened that the annexation plan would be considered declaring a war. It may be an escalation, but it will not lead to a comprehensive war. 

I believe that the Palestinian factions are not interested in entering an all-out war because any war will be disastrous, and post-war is more complicated than before, and will not prevent Israel from taking the annexation step.

In the event the Palestinian factions respond, the responses may be limited, but to enter into a comprehensive confrontation, in my estimation, is not in their interest.

 The Intifada (vast uprising) is linked to an issue; the decision of the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority. One of the most significant obstacles that undermine the Intifada in the West Bank is the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. This obstacle has long prevented the Palestinian resistance from achieving any progress and execution of any operations against Israel in the West Bank.

“The Arab countries are an essential part of ‘deal of the century’.”The second point is intelligence penetration or Israeli intelligence control of the West Bank.

 If the Palestinian Authority decided to confront Israel and let the people resist on their own, I think we can expect a new Intifada.

Indeed, we can bet on the continuation of individual operations with an individual weapon. This can give a result, but it needs continuity and media support against Israel and help and sponsor the families of the people who resist Israel, especially since most of these families are subject to the demolition of their houses and harassment.

The resistance is facing a difficult situation in the West Bank because of the policies exercised by the Palestinian Authority. Still, if Fatah decides to push and invite people to uprising and give them a weapon in order to carry out operations, at my discretion, that could lead to problems for Israel and will bring a long-term achievement, or at least they will send a message to the world that there are resistance groups who stand in the face of this occupier racist regime.

Q:  How do you evaluate the attitudes of Arab countries towards the annexation plan?

A: If it was not for certain Arab states’ consistency with the Israeli vision, the Zionist regime would not have actually dared to take such a step. 

The Arab countries are an essential part of the "deal of the century," and the annexation comes in this context, and it is not separate from this deal. There are some distinct stances, but they are fragile. One of these positions which may affect the American administration is Jordan's position, but can Jordan continue to oppose the annexation plan? 

In my opinion, it will not be able to continue. The question is that can Jordan cancel the peace agreement or at least overlook some provisions of the peace process? I think it is not easy because of its relationship with the international community and U.S. influence and its miserable internal economic situation. In the best condition Jordan can allow a flow of arms to Palestinian factions in the West Bank.

Nevertheless, the annexation plan will eliminate the possibility of forming a Palestinian state, and Jordan will bear the burden of displaced Palestinians from the West Bank in the future. 

Although it has been said that the annexation is partial in this phase, on the strategic level, Israel will not give up a single inch in the West Bank due to (the so-called) religious and strategic considerations. In fact, it will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.

 The alternative is displacing the Palestinians and forcing them to go to Jordan. In this case, Jordan will face a big problem.

So Jordan's opposition comes from this point of view. But can it stand alone? In my opinion, it will not be able to stand alone.

The Arab reality is catastrophic, and this provided a window and opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to pass the annexation plan. If not for the Arab collusion, it would not have passed this plan.


 

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