WITH Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poised to annex at least some of the West Bank as early as next month, three Australian Zionist youth organisations have joined forces to voice their opposition.
The July timeframe has been reported by media – amid speculation the Israel government needs to move on annexation before any change of government in the United States in November.
In a joint statement, Netzer, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror, which have more than 1000 members between them, noted annexation, in the absence of negotiations, “would deal a major blow to Israel’s democracy and security, Palestinian rights, and prospects for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
“As proud and committed Zionists, we are continuously inspired by the vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” the organisations said, noting Israel’s Declaration of Independence calls for “freedom, justice, and peace” for all inhabitants.
“However, we know that this can only be maintained through a peace process that involves both Israelis and Palestinians.”
They also warned that annexation “would be a crushing blow that pushes our Jewish youth further away from a Zionist identity”.
Meanwhile, the New Israel Fund Australia (NIF) has called on the Australian government to oppose any annexation moves.
NIF Australia executive director Liam Getreu has written to Foreign Minister Marise Payne, stating, “The consequences of the proposed unilateral moves are grave – for the Palestinian people, whose basic rights and aspirations for statehood would be permanently denied – but also for Israel’s democratic character, its security and its international standing.”
Commenting on the letter, Getreu said, “Australia must continue to advocate for the two-state solution which has underpinned our foreign policy for decades. The Israeli government’s plan – or indeed the one offered by the Trump administration – instead makes permanent the occupation which dehumanises Palestinians and jeopardises Israeli security and democracy.”
Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) president Jeremy Leibler, who chaired a discussion on the annexation issue with ZFA affiliates, told The AJN, “While there is a lot of discussion about a potential move to annex territory, based on the Trump proposal, no Israeli plan has been proposed, and in the absence of any plan, commenting on it would be premature.
“It is clear that this is a complex issue and there is no clear consensus position within the community. However, as a national roof body, we felt it was important to consult with our affiliates so that all views can be heard prior to any position being reached.”
Further coverage in this week’s AJN.