DESPITE the Israeli government falling short of its July 1 target date to begin the process of annexing parts of the West Bank, and no formal details about the plan being released, almost 300 graduates of Australia’s Jewish day schools and youth movements have called on communal leaders to make their position against annexation known.
In an open letter on the stopannexation.org.au website, the signatories state that annexing territory in the West Bank would pose a risk to the “future of democracy and equality for all Israelis and Palestinians”.
“For decades, we have watched our communal institutions proclaim their support for a two-state solution as the only way to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state,” the letter says.
“We will be turning our backs on this solution, if we do not speak up now.”
Urging the leadership of our community to “act in every possible way to oppose this disastrous step”, the letter adds, “They cannot stand idly by as Israel’s government takes steps that are antithetical to both Israel’s future as a democratic state and to the prospects of a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
In its only public statement on the matter, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) said it was “closely monitoring” developments in Israel.
“At present, no announcement has been made as to whether any such action will take place, and if so, over what areas and on what terms,” the roof body said.
“It is also unclear whether or not the extension of sovereignty would be in the context of the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The ECAJ said it will comment further as the facts become known.
Echoing the sentiment, Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said that since no Israeli plan had been proposed, commenting on such a plan would be premature.
“It is clear that this is an important issue with strong views held by members of the Australian Jewish community,” Leibler said.
“It is also clear that the details of any proposed plan matter and for that reason, it would be premature to comment before any plan is announced by the Israeli government.”
It comes after the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies last week took the unusual step of distancing itself from comments by the principal of Moriah College over Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Further coverage in this week’s AJN.