Israel, as one of the only democracies found in the Middle East, is coming up on an election year in which the office of Prime Minister is up for grabs. The current PM Benjamin Netanyahu is running for another term. Now, as you know US Representative Rashida Tlaib isn’t much of a fan of this gentleman. However, she also isn’t a fan of any Jew, let alone an Israelite.
But Netanyahu, I’m sure, holds a special place in of hatred in her heart, as he was considered primarily responsible for banning her and co-squad member Ilhan Omar from the nation last month. The two had tried to travel there for political purposes that the Israeli government found to be questionable and in direct violation of their national safety.
However, the nation did say that Tlaib could visit her grandmother, a native Palestinian who resides there in the West Bank, as long as she refrained from any political work while there. Tlaib refused their offer, saying that it was a form of oppression and she would not travel there unless she was free to do as she wanted.
Likely, the grudge she holds for Netanyahu and his co-workers has only festered with time. And so when he announced on Tuesday that he, if re-elected, would annex a third of the West Bank, I’m sure heckles were raised in the Tlaib household.
He said in news conference, “Today I announce my intention, upon forming the next government, to impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea.”
Now, Tlaib’s grandmother lives in a village far to the west of the area to be annexed and so will not likely be directly affected. However, it is almost certain that the Michigan congresswoman, in her hatred for all things Israeli, is not pleased with the prime minister’s plan of taking more land for a nation that she thinks shouldn’t exist. And I’m sure a few choice words about the situation have already been said by her on the issue.
Furthermore, the specific land Netanyahu is proposing to annex would prove to be beneficial to the Israeli nation in more ways than one.
The Jordan Valley lies along the nation’s border with Jordan. This strip of land is well known for its fertile soil and great agriculture opportunities. But more than that, it would be a strategic military move on Israel’s part.
Currently, the area under Palestinian rule is bordered by Jordan on one side and Israel everywhere else. By taking the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea, Israel would completely surround any Palestinian government that is to be formed, cutting them off from Jordan.
Netanyahu says the opportunity has been made possible, in part, to the Trump administration’s plans in the area and that “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.”
While the prime minister’s opponent Benny Gantz has agreed that the annexation of the Jordan Valley is a very strategic move and a necessary one, he still criticized the current leader for this plan. According to the New York Times, he says Netanyahu “is using and hurting ties between Israel and the U.S.,” although it is unclear how he is doing so.
According to Gantz, Netanyahu “is harming our ties with the Jewish community in the U.S. He is linking our politics with the Americans, and this is wrong.” Gantz, in contrast, says that his “ties are strategic, these connections are deep and vital and are based on shared interests and not on election-time deals.”
So, it’s not really a question of if this area will be annexed by Israel so much as when since both major candidates for prime minister said that it is crucial to do so.
Both candidates are clearly doing what they think is vital for Israel’s safety and security, just as they were in their decision to ban Omar and Tlaib. It’s just too bad; the freshman lawmakers are too blinded by their hatred to see it that way.