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Arab World Must Make Its Voice Heard On Annexation – OpEd


Israel’s new government, led by indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is planning to annex large parts of the West Bank, potentially beginning July 1. This plan is the cornerstone of the coalition government Netanyahu has formed with rival Benny Gantz.

Israel’s annexation will leave out areas populated by non-Jews. This means that Christians and Muslims will be excluded and will continue to live not as equal citizens under Israeli law, but as subjugated prisoners in a brutal and oppressive apartheid system that is the antithesis of democracy.

Israel has always desired annexation and has done everything in its power to expel the indigenous non-Jews from Palestinian lands. Many Christians in Palestine are the descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity, while many Muslims in Palestine are also the descendants of Jews and Christians who converted to Islam following its rise in the 7th century. But, under Israeli law, only those who are Jewish are given full rights. That is about as undemocratic as you can get.

While the Muslim world recognizes the severity of Israel’s human rights violations based on religion, the Christian world does not and has mostly abandoned these Christians to Israel’s oppressive whims.

The situation remains dire. Democracy in Israel is on its deathbed, although some wonder if it was ever really born. It seems like no one can stop Israel’s rampage of human rights abuses. The annexation of large areas of the West Bank would only be the latest in a long line of Israeli outrages.

Israel is destroying every opportunity for peace through a very deceitful yet transparent policy of hypocrisy. It says it wants peace, but apparently not with the Palestinians, and maybe not even with the Arab or Muslim worlds. Once the Palestinians are out of the way — a goal Israel’s actions are headed straight toward — who will be next?

Israel has a history of stealing Palestinian land through sheer brute force and violence, combined with clever public relations persuasion — just like today.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this week vowed to cancel every agreement with Israel and the US, but his words are empty without the support of the Arab world. The question we must ask is: How far are the Arab and Muslim worlds willing to allow Israel to go in terms of trampling Palestinians’ rights and insulting them before someone is willing to stand up and say “stop?” 

All they have to do is to suspend all contact with Israel’s government. Meanwhile, the US — Israel’s bodyguard and bully protector — is currently in its most vulnerable state. It is vulnerable financially and also internationally as a result of the coronavirus disease pandemic, which has hit America harder than any other nation, with 1.3 million of the world’s 4.2 million confirmed cases.

America is suffering an economic crisis, with major firms going out of business every day, the airline industry on the verge of collapse, and growing anger at the failure of the government to protect its people. Many Americans are left wondering why the US continues to give Israel $4 billion every year when that money could be used to help ease the suffering of its own people.

Political pressure from the Arab and Muslim worlds would encourage US President Donald Trump to stop Israel from moving forward with annexation, and might even force Tel Aviv to recognize a Palestinian state.

Trump is in a serious re-election fight. Even Joe Biden, his Democratic rival in November’s presidential election, has taken a strong stand by declaring that, if elected, he would reinstate all the funding for Palestinians that Trump stopped and restore the Palestinian mission in Washington.

Trump’s priority is his re-election campaign. He has pandered to the powerful Jewish lobby in order to win votes. The president has done that at the expense of the Arab and Muslim worlds.

There is an old American saying that applies as much to life as it does to politics: “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” In other words, the silent wheel is ignored and gets nothing but a greater burden. Which wheel do the Arab and Muslim worlds want to be? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

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Ray Hanania

*Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist. Email him at [email protected]

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