Rashida Tlaib Will Lose Her Mind as Netanyahu Promises to Annex a Part of the Territory Her Grandmother Lives In
Rep. Rashida Tlaib isn’t a big fan of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This probably goes without saying, considering he was part of the reason she was barred from entering the country on a political trip last month.
Israel did offer her a humanitarian visa to visit her grandmother in the West Bank. She decided to refuse, saying she was her grandmother’s “free bird, so why would I come back and be caged and bow down?”
Well, as it turns out, part of the West Bank may not be under the control of the Palestinian Authority much longer.
In a move designed to shore up support during a difficult re-election campaign, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his government would annex a third of the West Bank if he is voted in again.
“Today I announce my intention, upon forming the next government, to impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea,” Netanyahu said at a news conference on Tuesday, according to NPR.
The move would end up annexing all Israeli settlements within the West Bank, The New York Times reported.
Tlaib’s grandmother’s village is well to the west of the proposed annexation area, so it would not be directly affected by the Netanyahu proposal. But the idea of Israel — a state the congresswoman clearly despises — making a large part of the West Bank a permanent part of its soil has to be infuriating for Tlaib.
The Jordan Valley, meanwhile, is a strip of land along Israel’s border with Jordan. The valley is both good for agriculture and also strategic in military terms.
Perhaps most importantly, it would mean that any Palestinian state formed in the West Bank would be entirely surrounded by Israel with no border with Jordan.
As The New York Times put it:
“His plan to annex territory along the Jordan River would reshape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would reduce any future Palestinian state to an enclave encircled by Israel.”
Netanyahu said the Trump administration had provided a “unique, one-off opportunity” to make such a move, which he compared to the territorial gains his country won in the Six-Day War of 1967.
“We haven’t had such an opportunity since the Six-Day War, and I doubt we’ll have another opportunity in the next 50 years,” Netanyahu said at
“Give me the power to guarantee Israel’s security. Give me the power to determine Israel’s borders.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, however, he said he would hold off until President Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” regarding peace in the Middle East was announced.
Netanyahu is currently behind in the polls to Benny Gantz, a former Israeli military chief of staff who now leads the opposition Blue and White Party. But national security has been Netanyahu’s forte in this and past elections.
Furthermore, Gantz and the rest of the opposition have said Israel mustn’t cede the Jordan Valley for strategic reasons.
However, he still tried to criticize the move.
“Netanyahu is using and hurting the ties between Israel and the U.S.” Gantz said, according to The New York Times.
“He is harming our ties with the Jewish community in the U.S. He is linking our politics with the Americans, and this is wrong. Our ties are strategic, these connections are deep and vital and are based on shared interests and not on election-time deals.”
How much Netanyahu’s proposal could be “harming” ties with the U.S. is questionable.
Keep in mind, Israel’s security is something that Americans generally laud, even with a small but substantial minority of liberal lawmakers like Tlaib and her friends in “the squad” taking on a decidedly anti-Israel bent. And even Gantz and the opposition agree that Israel needs to take steps in the West Bank to secure itself.
Rashida Tlaib hasn’t said anything about Netanyahu’s statement yet, but you can bet that she’s furious about this. Whether or not it will come to pass is another issue entirely.
However, Netanyahu is making the right call here. Israel’s security should always come first, whether it’s banning Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar for planning a trip to promote boycotting Israel at the behest of an anti-Semitic group or taking action like this in the West Bank.
Tlaib and her family may be incensed. Most Americans, however, should be very pleased.
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