To Annex or Not to Annex That is the Question

If anything proves the Left’s assertion that the Likud led government is pushing Israel towards a One State solution, it is the Norms Bill. The Norms Bill, pushed by the Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked will apply Israeli Law to all Israelis living beyond the Green Law.  Since 1967, the Southern command has been in charge of deciding which Israeli Law could apply for Israeli Citizens in Judea and Samaria.  

Despite the Right’s rebuffing of the Left’s attack on the Norms Bill, the legislation does push forward the notion of a de facto annexation by directly applying civil law for its citizens, which in a sense contravenes the international law of an occupying power. Two points below are especially relevant:

  • The occupant does not acquire sovereignty over the territory.
  • Occupation is only a temporary situation, and the rights of the occupant are limited to the extent of that period.

It would be hard to prove that the Israeli government does not not understand this.

Forcing the Issue

The Norms Bill, although welcomed by the Right and a majority of the country creates a moment of decision if Israel wants to preserve the notion that it is playing by Western rules. The Israeli government has constantly displayed the need to preserve the status quo in relation to the Palestinian question.  

The Norms Bill forces a true discussion of which direction the Israeli government wants to go.  If passed, the signal is that Oslo is at last buried.  The challenge is what comes next.  The World and the Palestinian Street will use the measure to force Israel to make decisions that may be dangerous.  

Bibi and his cabinet are not stupid, they understand that the status quo is long gone and it is time to push an Israel first agenda forward.  The question will be, if the solution they want will be implemented in a way that not only works for Israel, but can be explained to others.


Bibi is Coopting Parts of Bennett’s Solution

Naftali Bennett ran on a proposal to deal with the Palestinian conflict by allowing limited autonomy in areas A and B, while applying full Israeli Sovereignty to area C. He called it the Stability Plan. With Bibi and Yaalon attempting to pull the IDF out of Area A, the push back from Bennett and Shaked was swift and serious. The Norms Bill gives Bennett and Shaked and the broader right of center camp a piece of what they want.  Mix the two actions together and you get a condensed version of Bennett’s plan.

So why is Bibi doing this and why now?  It is clear that the Western World is going to try to impose some sort of terms of agreement on the situation in Judea and Samaria.  Bibi has always viewed the situation unsolvable. The most he will offer is some sort of Middle Eastern version of Luxembourg, which the Palestinians and their Arab allies will not accept.  Given the terrain, the current Israeli government is trying draw up their own terms, but literally on the ground.  Time will tell if this status quo with a few changes will be enough to stall the international consensus that some solution needs to be forced.