As members and supporters of J-Link, the international network of progressive Jewish organizations, we urgently share our deep concerns, backed by the analysis of diplomatic and security experts, regarding the Government of Israel’s intention to proceed with annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Only a short time remains to convince the Government of Israel to halt this ill-advised move. With the abetment of the Trump administration, Prime Minister Netanyahu is perpetuating the myth that reality on the ground supersedes international law. This is the moment that Israelis need to consider the consequences to their security and international relations, as a result of unilateral annexation.
Notably, a petition signed by 220 former senior officers of the army, the Mossad and the police who are members of Commanders for Israel’s Security stated that annexation will set in motion a chain reaction over which Israel will have no control, leading to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. This in turn would require Israel to take full control over the entire West Bank and assume responsibility for the lives of 2.6 million Palestinians.
The coalition agreement signed by Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Gantz includes articles that enable the incoming government to expedite the process of annexation as of July 1st. Despite an acknowledgment of the need to discuss the matter with the international community, the only binding commitment in the agreement is coordination of the move with the U.S. Administration. As was the case with President Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan, the Palestinians have no say in the matter.
It is worth noting that Article 28 of the Coalition Agreement mentions the government’s intention “to strive to uphold existing peace agreements,” indicating that Jordan and Egypt may have particular leverage over this decision.
For the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, heavily populated by Palestinian refugees, annexation risks destabilization that could endanger the government and compel it to reconsider its peace treaty with Israel. Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt would also be put in jeopardy. Moreover, Israel’s actions are already straining its relations with democratic countries around the world.
Unilateral annexation is illegal under international law and contravenes all relevant UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to the Israel-Palestine conflict, particularly UNSC Resolution 2334 of Dec. 2016. If implemented, annexation will signify the demise of the two-state solution and will dash any hopes the Palestinian people have of achieving self-determination through nonviolent means.
Furthermore, annexation could turn Israel into a state that maintains permanent control over millions of Palestinians within its territory — while denying them the most basic civil and political rights — thereby putting an end to democracy in Israel as we know it. Annexation is a death knell not only for Palestinian national aspirations but also for the founding values of the State of Israel, enshrined in its Declaration of Independence.
Such action risks provoking a mounting tide of delegitimization of Israel and further bouts of antisemitism. Annexation will also jeopardize relations between Israel and progressive Jews around the world for whom human rights, equality and democracy are essential principles.
Please join us in our call to all who care about Israel’s future to take immediate action to convince the government and people of Israel that the price to be paid for annexation will be too heavy for Israel to bear.
J-Link Coordinating Committee
What is J-Link?
J-Link is an international network of progressive Jewish organizations from Israel, the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia. We share a love of Israel and a commitment to democracy, human rights, religious pluralism, and a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. We believe in the values enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, according to which the State of Israel, as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people, ensures “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” We are greatly concerned by initiatives such as the nation-state Law and policies of unilateral annexation that will defeat the prospect of a two-state solution. J-Link aspires to work with our respective local Jewish communities, our national governments, and international organizations to advocate for our values and vision for Israel.