Former IDF commanders turn down annexation supervision role

Israeli forces in Jaffa (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  June 18, 2020

Retired senior officers of the Israel Defence Forces have apparently rejected the role of supervising Israel’s annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank. The job was offered by Defence Minister Benny Gantz to former IDF Major Generals Roni Numa, Avi Mizrahi and Yaacov Ayish.

According to the Times of Israel, the officers turned down the job due to their ties to private companies in the security industry, which could create a conflict of interest. As a result, there is still no formal central headquarters assessing the possible outcomes of applying sovereignty to the occupied territories earmarked for annexation. Nor is any groundwork being prepared on what the response to Israel’s move could be in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or even in Egypt and Jordan.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing to move ahead with the annexation, Gantz has stressed the need to reach an understanding with Arab countries that have ties with Israel, especially Egypt and Jordan.

The Israeli government is planning to start the annexation process for the Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank on 1 July. Palestinian estimates are that the annexation will affect more than 30 per cent of the West Bank.

World leaders have universally condemned Israel’s annexation move. US politicians took the unprecedented step of signalling that the two pillars of US relations with Israel — US security interests and the bipartisan support that Israel enjoys on Capitol Hill — would be jeopardised if it goes ahead.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that any attempt to annex the West Bank would be a “breach of international law”. He did not, however, explain what his government is planning to do if Israel does indeed annex the occupied Palestinian territories in question.