Israel Scoring Own Goal with Land Annexation

September 11, 2014

3 min read

Instead of seizing the opportunity to create a new coalition against radical Islam, Israel is insisting on stealing the limelight and providing its enemies with further ammunition.

The new chapters being written these days in the history of the Middle East call for all of us to exercise modesty. “Right” and “left,” if we have an open mind, should be concepts worthy of the dustbin of history. Because there are facts, and we cannot ignore them anymore.

What would have happened if we had evacuated the Golan Heights, for example, asks Uri Heitner, who run the “People with the Golan” campaign. I once thought he was wrong, that we should have given up on the Golan for peace. Today every sensible person must admit that maybe, just maybe, Heitner was right. And maybe, just maybe, other people, including your humble servant, were wrong.

Now the Islamic State is making headlines. Conceding effective control of extensive areas for peace is becoming an issue which should be re-discussed. What would happen if Hamas were to take over every evacuated territory? After all, this has already happened in previous evacuations. There is a fear, which is not unreasonable, that it will happen again.

Is the conclusion that these lands should be annexed? The defense minister decided last week to appropriate 4,000 dunams in Gush Etzion. Allegedly, this land is located within one of the blocs which will remain on Israeli territory in any event in a future agreement. But this goes to show the exact opposite. Because there is no agreement and no arrangement, and there is nothing like annexation or appropriation or another construction project to infuriate the entire world.

Annexation or appropriation is not the proper Zionist response to jihad or Hamas. On the contrary, it’s an anti-Israel response. Because when it comes to new chapters in history, most of the victims of jihad are Arabs or Muslims. This means that there is an option for new coalitions. Most Muslims, for example, on one front with the West and Israel, against ISIS, Hamas and Qatar.

And what does Israel do? It gives everyone the finger. An irritating move, which is already making headlines in the world’s newspapers. In the exact critical hour when there is a chance for a new coalition, Israel is insisting on stealing the limelight.


Instead of pointing an accusing finger at the jihad coalition, from Hamas to the Islamic State, Israel is scoring an own goal. Instead of uniting against the dangers of global terror, Israel is providing its enemies with further ammunition.

The Zionist left should engage in self-examination as well. It’s possible that the evacuation of territories, like the Gaza pullout, will lead to the same results we have already seen in Gaza. It’s possible that there is a need to come up with new formulas to advance some kind of agreement or arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians.

But the right isn’t exempt of self-examination either. Israel’s most justified demands, on the background of the change in circumstances, do not justify annexation for construction purposes at a time when Israel’s strategic interest is to create an international atmosphere against global jihad.

Israel has argued for many years, and rightfully so, that the growth of global jihad has nothing to do with Israel. Why the revival of political Islam has been taking place in the past few decades in many other centers, in Asia and Africa, where those who are reviving are completely clueless about the Palestinian issue.

But precisely when the Arab world and free world are beginning to realize that Israel is not the problem, Israel is pushing to take center stage in order to say that Israel is also the problem.

It’s hard to argue that the timing is coincidental. It was no coincidence when the housing minister declared the construction of 700 housing units in the Jerusalem area, exactly when the peace talks orchestrated by US Secretary of State John Kerry reached a crisis point. It’s no coincidence that the appropriation of lands was announced last week, exactly when there appeared to be a chance to resume the talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Usually, as the saying goes, righteous people’s job is done by villains. Sometimes, only sometimes, villains’ job is done by those who are supposed to be righteous.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Ynet

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