Middle East Monitor reports
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has doubled down on his commitment to annexing the occupied West Bank, after almost 300 former security officials signed a petition urging him to reconsider.
In a letter to Netanyahu, “Commanders for Israel’s Security” (CIS) – a self-described nonpartisan body of nearly 300 retired security officials – urged the prime minister to hold a public referendum before annexing the West Bank to Israel, claiming the move would endanger security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and leave a power vacuum in the territory.
The letter wrote that CIS is “united in the conviction that a two-state agreement with the Palestinians, as part of a regional security framework, is essential for Israel’s security, as well as for its future as the democratic home of the Jewish people”.
“Each of us shares the view,” the signatories wrote, “that the application of [Israeli] law in [the West Bank] – in whole or in part – outside the framework of an agreement, will trigger a chain reaction that will seriously damage Israel’s economy, its regional and international standing, but mainly the state’s security.”
The petition continued: “A decision by the Knesset to pass legislation for annexation, however partial, can only be interpreted in the territories, the region and the world as a national decision to slam the door on any future arrangement.”
Netanyahu, however, has slammed CIS’ letter, writing on Twitter that “land in [the West Bank] is not only a guarantee of Israel’s security – it is also the heritage of our forefathers.”