Now that Blue and White party leader MK Benny Gantz has agreed to negotiate the formation of an Israeli “unity government” in which Benjamin Netanyahu will remain prime minister, J Street is deeply concerned that the prime minister and his right-wing allies will use this government to implement their dream of unilateral annexation of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
For months, Netanyahu and his fellow right-wing leaders have pledged to carry out unilateral annexations as soon as possible — with the deliberate goal of making the occupation permanent and preventing the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. As recently as last month, envoys of Netanyahu and President Trump met to formally discuss how Israel can carry out illegal annexation with an American green light. Now, Netanyahu appears likely to have a majority needed to approve his plans in the Knesset.
Any such moves would be disastrous for Israel’s security and trample on Palestinian rights. They would severely imperil Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people and the future of the US-Israel relationship. That is why the House of Representatives just months ago passed H.Res.326, a bipartisan measure opposing annexation and any efforts to undermine the prospects for a viable negotiated solution. It is outrageous that the prime minister and his allies are contemplating such destructive measures even as Israelis and Palestinians are preoccupied with combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
To prevent Netanyahu from moving forward, MK Gantz and his party, along with Labor leader Amir Peretz and his party, should insist and ensure that the new government’s basic coalition agreements rule out any unilateral annexations. With Israel’s future at stake, this should be an absolute red line condition for entering the next government.
As pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, J Street supporters have issued a public petition to MKs Gantz and Peretz stressing the vital urgency of this issue. You can view the petition and add your name here.
We also urge all members of Congress and responsible political leaders to continue to speak out decisively and clearly about the disastrous ramifications of annexation — before it’s too late.
Without an explicit ban on annexation by the next government, Prime Minister Netanyahu would effectively have carte blanche to implement the settlement movement’s dangerous, extremist vision for permanent control of the West Bank.