Within the next few weeks we will know for sure what parts of the occupied West Bank Israel is going to annex.
It is unlikely that warnings from around the world, including from Jewish voices in and outside of Israel, will dissuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from annexing some land.
However, some warnings should not be taken lightly by Israel. One is the very clear threat from His Majesty King Abdullah, which is entirely and solidly backed by all Jordanians, that any such measure will lead to a “major clash with Israel”.
Other mild signals have come from Washington, advising that any annexation should be part of an agreement with the Palestinians, obviously on the basis of the Trump plan that completely serves Israel’s demands.
The European Union has also warned that further annexation of West Bank land would violate international law, but the bloc has stopped short of threatening Israel with any meaningful sanctions.
The recent talk is that Netanyahu may restrict the territorial annexation now to the three major settlement blocks: Ariel, in the northern West Bank, Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion, between Bethlehem and Hebron.
It will be a grave mistake to view partial annexation, or even no annexation as an encouraging development, let alone a relief.
The reality is that the Zionist scheme since its launch more than a century ago targets all of Palestine, if not more, as the land of the Jewish people, a land free from any Palestinian presence.
Towards that goal, in 2018 Israel passed the “Nation-State Law,” which completely abolishes Palestinian rights in their land. The law states that in the “Land of Israel”, meaning the whole of historic Palestine, “the right to exercise national self-determination is unique to the Jewish people”.
The bitter reality we tend to overlook is that de facto annexation of Palestine has already occurred.
Israel is just trying to legitimise its illegal acquisition of other people’s land by accomplishing de jure recognition.
Annexation has in reality been ongoing since the beginning of the last century. It started with the immigration of European Jews to Palestine and the building of Jewish colonies during the British Mandate.
That was followed by the occupation of 78 per cent of the area of Palestine by Zionist militias in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1947-48, and the creation of Israel on that land.
In June 1967, when Israel invaded three Arab neighbours, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the entire area of Palestine fell under Israel’s control: the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, in addition to huge parts of Syrian and Egyptian territories.
Following that war, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 which ruled that Israel should leave all the Arab areas it occupied in that war in exchange for Arab states ending the state of belligerency with Israel.
That would mean accepting Israel’s existence within the June 4, 1967 lines, i.e. on 78 per cent of the entire area of Palestine. It was a great concession for Israel.
But even when the concerned Arab states, and the Palestinians later on, accepted this massive compromise, Israel started to colonise and settle the very occupied Palestinian lands which Security Council Resolution 242 demanded Israel leave.
Israel also annexed the Syrian Golan Heights and Jerusalem. Jewish settlements were also illegally built in the Golan, Gaza and Sinai.
During the half century since the 1967 war, Israel has been systematically and continuously building settlements populated by hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens, oppressing and massacring Palestinians, confiscating their land, demolishing their houses and farms, all in order to create irreversible facts on the ground.
Israel has done all this in full, open view without hiding its motives or facing any meaningful opposition.
The excuse has always been that all disputes would be dealt with in future negotiations. But none of Israel’s crimes were ever seriously challenged at the UN or even by the Arab states and the Palestinians, apart from the routine and the sterile bleats and hollow appeals at annual UN gatherings.
In fact, Israel’s aggression was, and continues to be rewarded by the so-called international community, which maintains deadly silence on Israel’s crimes. It has received unlimited and unconditional US support and protection from accountablity.
The European Union, which likes to pretend it is different from the US, has also increased its rewards for Israel in spite of Israel’s crimes. And even some Arab states have been forging ahead with normalisation, sending Israel the message that it has a license to do whatever it likes.
All this support for Israel has been given cover by official Palestinian complicity: Under the Oslo accords of 1993, “Palestinian liberators” became, and still are in the form of the Palestinian Authority, security agents for their occupiers and the invading settlers of their historic homeland.
Israel has been encouraged all along to accelerate an already established Zionist plan for the complete takeover of Palestine. Trump’s Deal of the Century is the culmination of all the complicity and support Israel has received not just from the US, but from all these other parties as well.
It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone that Israel is about to commit additional violations of international law, and cause further instability and conflict in a region that has been deprived of any peace and stability since the Zionist programme was launched.
The key point is that annexation, grave and dangerous as it is, is not the core issue. It is just an additional step in an ongoing and uninterrupted programme of colonisation that the world has decided, for whatever reason, to allow Israel to get away with.
The core issue is the injustice Israel has inflicted upon the Palestinians and its dangerous destabilising behaviour in the entire region decade after decade.
There should be no relief if Israel decides not to annex any parts of the West Bank. The problem will still be there and will continue to create dangerous complications and additional disasters.
There is no question that any annexation whether partial or total will definitely plunge the region into further turmoil and make a bad situation much worse. But that does not mean that ‘no annexation’ will make the situation any better.
Until the so-called international community, which is now sounding the warning about annexation, decides to tackle the problem of Israeli aggression and the injustice faced by the Palestinian people from its roots, there will be no chance for relief.