Netanyahu’s annexation thrust must be thwarted

UN member states must ensure retaliatory steps on Israel if their concerns are not met

How much longer will global leaderships permit Israel and the United States together with its sycophant across the pond to ride roughshod over international law and basic human decency?

No US president has the right to unilaterally change the borders of nations or to legitimise land theft, yet President Donald Trump has swamped the Jewish State with gifts that were never his to give with a wave of a wand from his pulpit amid an approving clamour from his Christian Zionist base.

Trump, who has blessed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the expansion of illegal Jewish colonies and sealed his approval to Israel’s grab of the occupied Golan Heights, is currently poised to greenlight the Jewish State’s annexation of parts of the West Bank.

He behaves as though his word is law which apparently it is since his pronouncements garner few challenges primarily because few leaders are willing to incur the displeasure of the man, who heads the world’s most powerful country, known for his retaliatory stances.

While going through the motions of asking Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians, the US State Department has announced that the US is prepared to recognise Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law over some areas.

Deal of the Century

So much for the Trump administration’s much touted Deal of the Century which was dreamt up without any Palestinian participation and was so one-sided in Israel’s favour to be laughable.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was right to eschew any engagement with the pro-Israel, colony-funding cabal appointed by the White House as negotiators, individuals who didn’t even pretend to be fair and honest.

Given that the US and its allies have slapped sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea, applauding any expansion of the Israeli boot is not only the height of hypocrisy it sets a precedent for others to ignore the UN Charter, a host of UN Resolutions and the laws of war enshrined in the Geneva Conventions ratified by the United States as well as all United Nations member countries.

The post-Second World War global order is being dangerously reshaped. Rules designed so that never again would the human race have to witness the horrors of a world war are being trampled upon.

Leadership role

This America First leader has abandoned his office’s traditional world leadership role. He has little time for international bodies such as the United Nations and the various arms of its umbrellas, several of which have suffered from punitive cuts in US funding or in the case of UNWRA that cares for Palestinian refugees has been severely cash-strapped since the US withdrew all aid.

America has also pulled out from UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Council and has recently suspended its contributions to the WHO which it accuses of being biased in favour of Beijing.

In the meantime, Israel’s unelected prime minister charged with deception, breach of trust and bribery is hoping his controversial deal with his rival leader of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, to form a unity government will pass muster with the High Court.

Gantz initially came across as less of a hardliner than Israel’s Teflon PM but the heady scent of power must have been too sweet to pass-up.

Gantz has agreed to bring Netanyahu’s annexation proposal to a cabinet vote later this year on condition it will be approved by the US and other important players, which, of course, it will be.

There are loud voices in Britain’s corridors of power against this egregious abandonment of international law but in light of the UK’s severely straightened economic circumstances that will likely worsen post-Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is desperate to clinch a promised UK-US trade deal.

According to the Guardian, “nearly 130 parliamentarians, including a former Conservative cabinet minister, have written to Boris Johnson urging him to impose economic sanctions against Israel if Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government goes ahead with its threat to annex parts of the West Bank”.

Severe consequences

Sadly their appeal is destined to fail. Johnson will not risk his cosy relationship with Trump or his good relations with Netanyahu for the sake of a principle. That said, a British diplomatic envoy did partner with diplomats from ten European nations in a joint warning to Israel that annexation would incur severe consequences.

“We strongly advise any Israeli government against the annexation of occupied Palestinian territories” said Germany’s ambassador to the UN, Juergen Schulz, a move he says would have negative repercussions for the two-state solution as well as regional stability and Israel’s global standing.

A nice sentiment for future history books; Germany’s conscience is cleansed with these fine words absent of any clout whatsoever. You would have to be naive in the extreme to imagine Netanyahu and his new BF Benny shaking in their shoes or having sleepless nights over Schulz’s ‘threat’.

The only way to stand up against such tyranny against an occupied population is for the majority of UN member states to sign a condemnatory statement underscoring retaliatory steps that will be taken should their concerns not be met.

Now it’s me who’s being Pollyannaish. What better time to annex the West Bank and the Jordan Valley from Israel’s perspective before America’s November election which could see Mr. Trump saying his adieus—and while the planet is consumed with battling a cruel pandemic.

Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at heardonthegrapevines@yahoo.co.uk.

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