In response to the formation of Israel’s new government, whose primary policy goal aside from responding to the coronavirus pandemic will be to begin unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank, eight members of the Progressive Israel Network, together released the following statement:
We are frustrated and alarmed by the intention of the new government, formed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank. We join with all Americans who refuse to sit idly by as Israel’s new government, with the encouragement of the Trump administration, contemplates action blatantly at odds with any commitment to democracy and the pursuit of peace.
Unilateral annexation would move Israelis and Palestinians towards a bleak future of never-ending conflict. It would make Israel’s unequal and unjust legal system in the West Bank formal and permanent. Instead of upholding the stated commitment of successive Israeli governments to resolve the status of these territories through negotiations, such a decision would say to the world that Israel wishes to systematically confer legal inferiority upon an entire population.
For Israelis, annexation cuts the heart out of their democracy. For Palestinians, it offers a future without rights and without hope, relegating them to perpetual statelessness in isolated island-enclaves. Annexation would show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the government of Israel no longer seeks a two-state solution, and that it has instead chosen a system of permanent repression and inequality over liberal democracy.
Such action will drive further the wedge between many American Jews and Israel. It would undercut the bipartisan nature of support for Israel in the United States and risk triggering serious international diplomatic consequences.
Eight member organizations of the Progressive Israel Network join all those standing up against annexation and for Israeli democracy and Palestinian rights. We welcome the leadership of lawmakers in Congress, who, consistent with the consensus view of the Israeli security establishment, are making clear the tremendous threats that annexation poses to the interests and shared values of both the US and Israel. These Congressional leaders are demonstrating true friendship to Israel as advocates for peace and democracy.