By: Dr. Jannus TH Siahaan
It is undeniable that the plan to annex parts of the West Bank by the Netanyahu Administration has received a lot of resistance, both from the center-left in the domestic sphere and from the international community. Nevertheless, the plan has implicit backing by the administration of Donald Trump, which delegated Israeli affairs to Jared Khuser, his son-in-law.
In a document created by Jared Khuser’s team, annexation is only a matter of time. It was not stated explicitly that the Donald Trump administration supported the annexation plan, but it also did not explain in detail the alternative plans. There are no recommendations for concrete steps for a two-state solution, for example.
But in action, Donald Trump has proven that his policies are very much in line with Netanyahu. Evidently, Donald Trump moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem several years ago, which caused a lot of controversy at the international level. So it is a bit confusing the steps taken this time. Pushing for the normalization of relations between the Arab Emritae Union and Israel is a step back for Netanyahu from the strategic policy of annexing parts of the West Bank.
But on the other hand, this step means a lot for Israel to get more recognition from Arab countries for the sovereignty of the Israeli state. In the initial agreement it was said that on the one hand the UAE recognizes Israel’s sovereignty and on the other hand Israel must postpone the planned annexation of parts of the West Bank. And the three sides share the same views on the Iranian threat.
The enmity of Israel and Iran is no longer a secret, as is Iran’s enmity with other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. So this step is meaningful for the three parties who agreed to isolate Iran in the middle east and the world. As explained by Jared Khuser in a press conference at the White House, maybe in the future Israel will carry out normalization with other Arab countries
The diplomatic stalemate between Iran and America over Iran’s nuclear weapons has increased the threat to Israel. Israel will become an easy target for Iran’s nuclear warfare if the West fails to find a peaceful path with Iran. On the other hand, in contrary, the explosion at Iran’s nuclear reactor recently, has also increased Iran’s hostility towards Israel, which is indirectly accused of carrying out cyber attacks on Iran’s nuclear reactors.
That’s why, Netanyahu needs a smooth exit strategy, first to get out of the West Bank annexation controversy on the domestic front, second to weaken Iran’s international influence on the other. However, from the constellation of international politics today, where the antipathy to Donald Trump is quite high, the same as anti-annexation, Netanyahu needs progressive steps to remain in the position of Prime Minister. This policy will improve Netanyahu’s aggressiveness and apartheid image in the domestic sphere. Moreover, if Netanyahu succeeds in leading a new general election in Israel, then the chances will be even better.
In fact, the plan to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE is nothing new. The struggle to arrive at this agreement has been going on since 2018, when the avangelical community conducted political lobbies to the Arab Emirate, which was not in line with Netanyahu’s strategic plan to annex the West Bank. But Israel’s domestic political situation and Trump’s electoral position that is also under threat for November, so this normalization plan suddenly becomes a good card for Donald Trump and Netanyahu. Even Joe Biden praised this move, saying that it was “a brave and badly needed act”
But on the other hand, while other Arab countries are starting to open up to Israel, Iran is predicted to strengthen ties with Turkey, China, Syria and Russia to anticipate the negative effects of isolation. This condition will divide the alignments in the Middle East and will also exacerbate the conflict between China and America in a wider realm.
Iranian and Chinese cooperation has been carried out openly, with Turkey and Russia too. And the most important thing is that Iran will be increasingly hostile to Isreal, apart from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which will continue to trigger Iran to complete and perfect its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the UAE decision will be denied by Hamas, Palestine.
As reported, Palestine felt stabbed in the back by the UAE by agreeing to the normalization plan. So in fact, normalizing the relationship between the UAE and Israel will leave a lot of homework for America, especially about the two-state solution, which will be even more difficult to achieve.
* Dr. Jannus TH Siahaan: Doctor of Sociology from Padjadjaran University, Indonesia. Defense and Environment Observer.