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The world had decades to stop annexation. Just ask Palestinians


Partially annexed or temporarily occupied, Palestinians living under Israel’s thumb do not need legal expertise or international recognition to realize how cheap their lives are to their oppressor.

Young Palestinian men sit beneath the Palestinian side of the Separation Wall in the West Bank city of Al-ram.

Hagai El-Ad writes in +972:

On the eve of Israel’s recent elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu made a campaign promise to annex parts of the West Bank, which was followed by a flood of impassioned international appeals. One cannot help but wonder about the gap between all the fuss about a potential future statement on de jure annexation and decades of inaction in response to unilateral Israeli steps, which have already established a reality of de facto annexation.

Formal annexation of parts of the West Bank will not suddenly lay bare Israel’s genuine long-term intentions regarding all the area west of the Jordan River. These objectives have already been clearly spelled out in action over decades. Nor will it usher in a new era of disenfranchising Palestinians, for they have long been living without political rights, ruled by the arbitrary decisions made by Israelis.

“America must stop Binyamin Netanyahu from annexing Palestinian land,” said The Economist, for “[s]ome of his election pledges would kill the chance of a two-state solution.” Mainstream Jewish groups implored President Trump to restrain the prime minister, concerned that annexation might “galvanize efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that are intended to isolate and delegitimize Israel.” Even AIPAC-affiliated Democrats warned Netanyahu not to do it, while invoking tired clichés such as “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Meanwhile, in a speech before the European Parliament, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that “in fact, the two-state solution is not only fading away. It is being dismantled piece by piece.”

Had they all failed to notice that thanks to their longstanding inaction, they were pleading for a future that has already passed?

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