Why does it feel as though powerful governments of the world are pushing historical enemies into direct confrontation with one another? Why? Why now? There are several flash points around the world, a major one being Israel.
The Six-Day War that took place between June 5th and June 10th, 1967 was viewed by the Israelis as a preventative measure to counter what the Israelis saw as an impending attack by Arab nations that surrounded Israel. The war took place against Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Israel won and gained additional territory, the West Bank of the River Jordan, which is bounded by Israel to the north, west and south. To its east lies Jordan.
Following the war, Israel and Palestine have been in a conflict that could impact the entire world if it escalates.
Since the Six Day War Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has been a partial cause of ongoing battles across borders between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews, with much of the western world siding with the Palestinians.
There was a time when Israel drew some sympathy from the west when Israel was under constant attack; but the sympathy has waned. Today, Israel is demonized. This is largely due to the contempt Israel has demonstrated for its lack of administering basic Human Rights to Palestinians, which are afforded under International Law. The Israeli government has become a law unto itself. Not wishing to concede Palestine’s demands is one thing, but practicing unnecessary brutality against Palestinian citizens has brought Israel into disrepute.
Israel has a dire need to protect its people, but the Israeli government has without a doubt set neighbour against neighbour. Israel has the military advantage so Israel will always carry the blame for being unfair, while both sides are to blame for the ongoing hostilities. The conflict is bitter and neither side will concede. As time moves on the problems appear intractable, but now Israel wants to exacerbate the situation?
Israel wants to annex parts of the West Bank, which would give Israel sovereignty over the territory. Under International Law such a move is illegal. The last place to be annexed was Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.
Israel is surrounded by enemies and the West Bank would certainly give Israel a strategic military advantage. The Palestinians have said many times publically, that they want to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.
Israel’s nuclear capability is said to act as a deterrent, but such whims have always ended badly.
Israel won the West Bank during the Six Day War and they have taken possession with gusto. The government has subsequently built settlements on the land. Israel naturally wants to protect its citizens, especially those on the borders where people are particularly vulnerable to ongoing attacks, but it also makes historical claims to the land, which call into question, how far a nation can stretch its religious and ancestral prowess and at what cost. The Jewish people have survived by keeping faith with their ancestry and religious practices. There are many fears associated with letting go and moving forward into a more homogeneous society. The birth rate among the Palestinians is much higher than that of the Israeli’s, this poses a serious threat to Jewish survival.
While much of the world opposes the annexation, including the United Nations, the US President Donald Trump is giving his support to it.
After Donald Trump’s election to office, he decided to get up close to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and show himself to be a President who is a friend of Israel, but what sort of friend rides roughshod over neighbouring states to the extent that it would destabilize the whole region? I believe there is more to Donald Trumps’ offer of friendship than meets the eye. Trump deals in finances, not care for peoples’ lives.
Donald Trump took it upon himself to draft a peace plan, since many had failed before. There was nothing remarkably new about Trump’s plan, which included the annexation. (The plan was rejected by the Palestinians). Without doubt, Trump’s plan has pushed the annexation forward.
Between 2.1 million and 3 million (sources vary) Palestinian Arabs live in the West Bank under both limited self-rule and Israeli military rule.
The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) is also home to some 430,000 Israeli Jews who live in 132 settlements (and 124 smaller outposts) built during Israel’s occupation.
The vast majority of the western world consider the settlements to be illegal under International Law, but Israel and the Trump administration have their own interpretation of the Law.
The parts of the West Bank which contain Jewish settlements are planned for annexation as well as most of the land along the West Bank’s boundary with Jordan, known as the Jordan Valley. The move is highly provocative and could end in disaster for Jews and Palestinians alike.
Israel will undoubtedly be looking to build more settlements and the annexation will make the process easier, since Israel will have sole control of the area, but where will it leave the people who have to live there? Already, Jews are under constant fire from the other side of the borders. Annexation is bound to make it worse. Added to this, it will undermine any future peace talks or hope of a more stabilized and cooperative future, for Palestinians and Jews in the region.
If this annexation takes place it will concretize and legitimize the rule of despotic leaders, east and west. These are never one-off situations, they shed their bravado far and wide.