Designating the territory for reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine – begun with the San Remo Convention and Treaty of Sevres in April and August 1920 respectively – could finally be completed 100 years later in 2020.
Achieving this long-overdue outcome will require Israel to forma Government of National Unity by 11 December 2019 – headed initially by Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister for a minimum term of six months – enabling the new Parliament to ratify those areas of Judea and Samaria to which Israeli sovereignty will be extended as delineated by the Government.
This Unity Government should ideally hold at least 80 of the 120 seats in the Knesset so that there is an overwhelming majority of Israel’s elected politicians supporting any determinative decisions made by the Knesset in relation to Judea and Samaria.
Israel has been presented with this amazing opportunity following President Trump’s Secretary for State – Mike Pompeo – issuing this declaration on 19 November 2019:
“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”Pompeo’s statement followed US Ambassador to Israel – David Friedman – stating on 8 June 2019:
“Under certain circumstances I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”Friedman had then cautioned:
“We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves.These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge.”Friedman will get the answers with the formation of Israel’s Government of National Unity – which hangs delicately by a thread and can vanish into thin air if it does not gain some oxygen by midnight on 11 December.
Fresh elections on 3 March 2020 – for the third time in a year – will then become mandatory and this wonderful opportunity will have flown out the window.
It would be a national disgrace and betrayal of Israelis and Jews worldwide if Israel’s political parties allowed their political differences and personal rivalries to stymie the opportunity to determine the area within which the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home will be mandated after 100 years of fighting many wars and diplomatic battles.
Israel’s extended boundaries would be determined in coordination with President Trump and ratified over the next six months.
The fact that no Arab interlocutors will participate in any such decision-making process is regrettable.
However continuing Arab intransigence in refusing to commit to negotiate with Israel on Trump’s still unreleased deal of the century – despite Trump’s best efforts to involve their participation in such decision-making with Israel – leaves Trump with no other option.
A Unity Government could be reasonably expected to agree to extend Israel’s sovereignty to about 75% of Area C – about 45% of Judea and Samaria.
Gantz reportedly told close associates he is:
“ready to make tough decisions in the coming days”.Hopefully Gantz as Deputy Prime Minister can rise to the occasion and allow Netanyahu – enjoying a unique relationship with Trump – to head a Government of National Unity to grab this once in a hundred years opportunity.
An unprecedented – almost miraculous -confluence of events has emerged since Israel’s second-deadlocked September elections – that cries out for a national consensus and historic response by Trump, Netanyahu and Gantz.
Seize the moment – seize the day....
Author’s note:The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”-one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog.