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Netanyahu Needs to Slice the Annexation Salami
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), wearing a protective face maks, speaks with his lawyer inside a courtroom at the district court of Jerusalem on May 24, 2020, during the first day of his corruption trial.
Photo by RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Netanyahu Needs to Slice the Annexation Salami

Walter Russell Mead

The Israeli cabinet is scheduled to begin discussions this week on the possible unilateral annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank along with strategically important roadways and the Jordan Valley. While anything is possible in the tumultuous world of Israeli politics, what changes come are likely to be modest and incremental—more like slicing a salami than swallowing large new additions in a huge gulp.

There are several reasons for this. One is that annexation offers Israel few concrete benefits. Jerusalem controls these territories already, and annexation won’t make them more secure. Politically, annexation is also a problem. So long as it remains only a possibility—exciting to some, horrifying to others—it strengthens Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at home and abroad. As a fact, it does much less for him.

At home, pro-annexation settlers and their allies see Mr. Netanyahu as the champion who has brought them closer than ever to realizing a long-cherished dream. They count on him to drive the process toward its conclusion. Though many of them resent and even distrust what they view as his pragmatism and sloth, they still believe that no other political figure can match the prime minister’s timing and skill.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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