West Bank Annexation Latest Phase of the Peace Process


As published in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August/September 2020, pp. 6-7

Letters to the Editor – 2020 August-September - WRMEAwww.wrmea.org › 2011-2020 › 2020 August-September

Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley are the latest phase in a process that began accelerating 53 years ago. At the end of the 1967 war, Israel seized and occupied the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem in violation of international law, which forbids the retention and development of captured territory. After 1973 the illegal settlement program began in earnest and the so-called “peace process” has allowed Israel’s gradual seizure of all valuable Palestinian territory.

Western governments, evangelical Zionists, Israel lobby groups, sympathetic pundits and pliable academics have faithfully promoted the fictional “peace process” to facilitate this program of endless expansion. The entire exercise has been illegal under international law since at least 1949, protected mainly by U.S. diplomatic, economic and military power.

Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has encouraged the Netanyahu government to proceed brazenly with the final stages of an annexation plan that predates the 1967 war. The modern Israeli state and its pre-state founders have always been committed to the seizure and annexation of greater Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan and also southern Lebanon, the Sinai and southern Syria. They call this Eretz Israel, otherwise known as the promised land of biblical legend.

Both American and Israeli authorities have always insisted that the Palestinians negotiate privately and directly with the Israelis under U.S. supervision; a prospect most appealing to those with overwhelming power.

Morgan Duchesney, Ottawa, Canada

History has indeed been cruel to the Palestinians. This issue begins with three articles that brilliantly outline how it has always been Israel’s intention to grab as much Palestinian land as possible. As you note, this has taken place with abundant U.S. financial and diplomatic support. It is our view that Israel’s behavior will not change unless its patrons in Washington hold it accountable. There are small signs this is happening (such as long-time Israel defender Rep. Eliot Engel losing his primary in New York), but with Donald Trump and Joe Biden expected to top ballots this November, it appears dramatic change in U.S. policy is still, at best, years away.