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Israel is at it again!

Suspiciously, these are strategies to serve the interest of Trump and Netanyahu, who are both facing political problems.

Macabangkit B. Lanto

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A political storm is brewing in the Zionist region. Israel is flexing its political muscle to formally annex territories it is presently occupying. This will confound the anxiety overwhelming the residents brought by the killer pathogen.

Last week, international news agencies reported that “Israel is preparing to make the first major expansion of its sovereign borders in almost 40 years with its plan to annex portions of the West Bank now held under Israeli military and civilian rule.”

It baffles the mind why Israel should make this unnecessary provocation. The timing is suspicious. It attempted before, but failed. Why stir the hornet’s nest now? Is Israel feeling guilty and wants its illegal occupation to be de jure? It has been governing and exercising sovereignty over this swath of the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day War it won as booty.

Need we remind the Zionist state that the days of land conquest by the Alexanders and Julius Caesars of the world are now a thing of the past? The saga of the pillage and adventurism of colonizers in pursuit of their hegemonic campaign is now relegated to history, folk tales and bedtime stories to regale juveniles. The modern world and various United Nation’s resolutions invoking international laws make expansionism abhorrent, immoral and utterly illegal, including defensive war — a claim used by Israel as justification.

Readers, take note that this move doesn’t have the support of a considerable number of Israelites. In fact, the government has to agenda the move in Israel’s Knesset for approval, and the present ruling coalition doesn’t look that solid. It will have to walk the extra mile to legislate it.

In the recent past, Israel made political moves to “test the water.” First was the transfer of its capital to Jerusalem and another was the launch of the 181-page Middle East Peace Plan by United States President Donald Trump. The common sponsor of these moves was Trump.

The first strategy was precipitated by the announcement of Washington that it will transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, being the seat of government. For a while, Filipino observers were uneasy following Rappler’s wrong report that our Philippine Embassy at Tel Aviv will follow that of the US in Jerusalem. It turned out to be fake news. A group of militant Muslim students and youths demonstrated at the US Embassy.

The second move was the Peace Plan prepared unilaterally by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, a Senior White House adviser. The Plan stinks of repugnant proposals no right-thinking Palestinian will accept. This ignited an intifada and political turmoil in the region. Trump in one fell swoop has squandered the goodwill that his predecessors have laboriously cultivated with Muslims.

The Plan legitimized the illegal Israeli settlements over Palestinian territories historically owned by them. It will leave only about “70 percent of the West Bank to a Palestinian state compared to the 94-96 percent offer by the Clinton administration.” Jordan Valley will also be part of Israel. Another jugular blow to the Palestinians’ cause was the denial of refugees “right of return” to homes lost in past wars.

Not that the world is surprised by the bias of the US towards Israel. It has historically played Big Brother in promoting Israel’s interest. But its brazenness and audacity are so palpable that it defies logic why it needs to shake the status quo.

Fortunately, these past political maneuvers flopped. It was met with the collective condemnation and resounding howl of protest, not only from Muslim countries, but surprisingly European countries. It in fact triggered unity among Muslim countries who forgot their schism of being Shiite and Sunni or of being Arabs or Persians.

Suspiciously, these are strategies to serve the interest of Trump and Netanyahu, who are both facing political problems. Trump is fighting for political survival, and if reports from international media are to be believed, his chance of reelection is getting bleaker by the day. Netanyahu is facing investigation for corruption, and the ruling government coalition might collapse.

The move of Israel will not wash. It’s plain bullying.

Email: amb_mac_lanto@yahoo.com

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