US Must Rebuke Netanyahu: Unilateral Annexation of Settlements Would Be Disastrous

October 4, 2017

By endorsing the unilateral annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim and many other Israeli settlements near Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu has fully embraced some of the most extreme and dangerous ideas of the Israeli far right.

Netanyahu supported these annexations in his remarks Tuesday to a meeting of the Likud party held in Ma’aleh Adumim. If actually carried out, this unilateral attempt to “resolve” a vital final status issue would cross a major red line, sending a clear message that the Israeli government is not committed to good faith negotiations toward a two-state solution. We call on the Trump administration to immediately denounce the prime minister’s comments. They must make clear that the unilateral annexation of any settlements would be unacceptable to the United States and disastrous for the future of Israel.

The prime minister’s comments do not come in a vacuum. In several recent rallies and meetings with settlement movement leaders, he has committed to permanently maintaining all Israeli settlements and to building thousands of new settlement homes. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has stepped up its evictions and demolitions of Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank, paving the way for further expansion.

While Netanyahu’s support for annexation is clearly designed to ensure his own political survival, he has been enabled and emboldened by the policies of the Trump administration. By refusing to maintain long-standing bipartisan support for the two-state solution and by failing to clearly condemn settlement expansion, the US is effectively giving a green light to the Israeli government. By appointing a staunchly pro-settlements ambassador who openly describes the settlements as “part of Israel,” they are validating the arguments of the annexationists.

Netanyahu’s pursuit of his own narrow political agenda is steering Israel toward imminent disaster. There is no time to waste. All those who care about securing Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people must condemn the prime minister’s statements and warn against the dire consequences of pursuing any annexations.

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