Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu said that the process of annexation parts of the West Bank will start in July, but yesterday a Likud source told Galei Zahal, that this date will be delayed. We doubt whether the annexation will take place at all.
Last week we reported from senior Likud sources that the gaps in the USA-Israeli teams about drawing the borders of annexation are unbridgeable at the moment and Ayelet Shaked explained that the USA vision means chocking the entire settlements project.
So, when we examine the prospects of the annexation, we have to remember that it began not as a result of real Israeli interest, but of the Bennet’s-Netanyahu’s electoral competition who represents better the “real right”. Bennet’s program was to annex areas C and Netanyahu “responded” in annexing the Jordan Valley.
In the middle of the brawl between Bennet and Netanyahu, who is more “right”, President Trump declared his “Deal of the Century” that changed the rules of the game, but the Israeli political system refuses to understand that “annexation out – peace plan in”.
While the Israeli polity continues to argue about “annexation good or bad” as far as the USA is concerned the annexation can take place only as a part of the larger movement that will also satisfy the Palestinians and the Arab world.
That’s why Trump is interested in a unity government – because of the chance of finding a formula for a Palestinian state that will not comprise the security needs of Israel and can be accepted by the pro-USA Arab states and enable an open axis of Israel and the Arabs that will guarantee a safe withdrawal of the USA from the Middle East without opening a vacuum for Iran, Russia and China to enter into.
This is, in my opinion, a real interest of Israel, and Netanyahu can go for it only if a way to exempt him from the trial will be found.
I talked yesterday with sources in Lapid’s party and they told me that Gantz would do everything not to let Netanyahu spoil his chances to reach the target of becoming the prime minister in a year and a half including turning blind eye to the problematic aspects of Netanyahu’s behavior towards the law enforcement authorities. Having in mind that this is a point of view of Gantz’s rivals – nevertheless, we have to give this creditability. That’s to say: Netanyahu will support this roadmap in case his escape from justice will be safeguarded, and as we see it now, Gantz is ready to do it so that when he will hold the reign of power – the success of the completing the peace process and having peace in our time will be registered on his name and all the treachery he committed on his followers will be pardoned.
There are many complications that this scenario can work in the Israeli internal arena. In the bottom-line Netnayhau is extra suspicious and he will not believe any escape from justice roadmap that he does not completely control.
Anyway, he will delay the implementation of the annexation for two reasons: after Trump announced his plan it must be accepted by the USA. As for now, the USA perceives it as a regional process that includes the Palestinians and the borders of annexation are not agreed as yet with the USA.