The Guardian view on Israel and annexation: unlawful, unwise and immoral

The Guardian view on Israel and annexation: unlawful, unwise and immoral

Annexation looks like the executioner of the two-state solution. Israel has changed the facts on the ground, with the rapid growth of settlements rendering that goal less and less viable. But the declaration of sovereignty over parts of the occupied territories, in putting a formal seal on physical realities, will be a new and terrible moment, and above all a fresh injustice to Palestinians. Under the deal agreed to form Israel’s unhappy unity government, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, can begin annexation from 1 July. But the plans may be delayed. Benny Gantz, Mr Netanyahu’s coalition partner and political foe, has said that the date is neither “sacred” nor urgent, given a second surge in coronavirus cases and economic damage from the first. While Donald Trump is as erratic as ever, Israeli media have reported that a lack of US support is pushing back an announcement. The plans may also be diminished. Though Mr Netanyahu has leaned towards a maximalist stance, including all of the Jordan Valley and up to 30% of the West Bank, there are signs that the international pushback may have led him to initially focus on a handful of settlement blocks close to Jerusalem in an essentially symbolic move. The corruption charges that Mr Netanyahu faces mean that he needs a big prize for voters. Though some think an eternally deferred promise may be more useful to him than delivery, too long a delay might mean a new US president thanks to November’s election: Joe Biden is unlikely ...
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