Regarding the editorial “The high price of annexation” (May 14), it’s true that annexation of the territory designated for Israel in the most recent peace proposal would be controversial and draw criticism from some. But the criticism doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, starting with the fact that what’s being considered isn’t actually annexation, a term which applies only to territory taken from another, rightful owner.
Here’s what would be done: rule by military decree would be replaced with civilian Israeli law, a step that’s really long overdue. For half a century, Israel has given its enemies a veto power over the normalization of life for Israelis living in areas Egypt and Jordan captured and occupied after invading Israel in 1948. This hasn’t brought peace one step closer. Replacing military decree by civilian law won’t make things worse.
The most powerful argument by those opposed to this step — mostly by people who automatically oppose everything Israel does — is that it would foreclose the so-called “two-state solution.” The record shows that argument is poppycock.
The reunification of Jerusalem didn’t stop Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert from offering parts of Israel’s capital to the Palestinian Arabs. Nor did the application of Israeli civilian law to the Golan Heights prevent prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Barak, Olmert, and even Benjamin Netanyahu from offering to withdraw in order to achieve peace.
Except for the unavoidable separation between Gaza and the Judea and Samaria portion, the territory slated to be given to the Palestinian Arabs in the American plan is contiguous and far more viable than the scattered pieces the original United Nations Partition Plan slated for what became Israel, but the Zionist leaders accepted that plan. Improvements can be made, but they require negotiations between the parties and an interest in a peaceful resolution of differences. Israel is eager for both, but it doesn’t have a partner. Indeed, it’s now a dozen years since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last pretended to negotiate seriously and four years since his foreign minister declared the Palestinian Arabs would never again negotiate directly with Israel.
Let’s leave the invalid criticism of Israel to our enemies.
President Emeritus, PRIMER-Connecticut
Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts and PRIMER-Israel
Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting