In a historic move that provided moral clarity to the political system, the Likud Central Committee decided to close out 2017 by voting in favor of imposing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Every Israeli that wants to be able to decide between two ideological alternatives should welcome the move because it illustrates how those who vote for the Likud and parties to its right are in favor of annexing Judea and Samaria, with all its implications, and those who vote for the Zionist parties and the parties to their ideological left are in favor of separating from the Palestinians.
The Likud Central Committee’s vote “to act to allow unhindered construction and impose Israeli law and sovereignty over the liberated areas of settlement in Judea and Samaria” was a very important event. It symbolizes the Likud’s transformation into a branch of the pro-settlement Habayit Hayehudi party. Moderate Likud voters who vote for Likud in order to preserve the status quo until a separation from the Palestinians becomes feasible, should now understand that the Likud is not an option for them; the pragmatic party of the Right has become a radical right-wing party that prefers the country’s territorial integrity to the integrity of the nation and the state.
Israel’s separation from the Palestinians is an acceptable move to the majority of the Israeli public. Numerous polls have shown that over 80 percent of the Jewish public in Israel supports separation. Despite its inherent risks, the idea of annexation has gained steam as a result of increasing support from members of the ruling party. Those who support annexation are being held hostage to the dream of a Greater Israel. They ignore the fact that imposing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria would spell the end of the Zionist dream. Everything we fought for and paid for in blood will go up in the smoke left behind by the Messianic annexation that threatens the Jewish and democratic character of Israel by making Israel responsible for 2.5 million Palestinians.
What has happened to the moderate and pragmatic Right that hopes to create the necessary conditions for a responsible separation from the Palestinians? If the Likud continues to flirt with the radical factions of religious Zionism and neglect the moderate right-wing public, it could find itself in a situation similar to the 2006 elections, when the Netanyahu-led Likud garnered a mere 12 mandates after pushing moderate voters in favor of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza toward former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s pragmatic Kadima party.
The moderate Right needs a responsible party, one that presents a clear vision of a secure Israel protected from surrounding threats. The dangerous policy of annexation should receive support from those on the fringes of the Right and not at those of the heart of the ruling party.
Israel requires a clear border to separate us from the Palestinians, not for that border to be blurred. The vote by the Likud Central Committee serves to demarcate again the border within ourselves, between the Israeli majority that supports separation from the Palestinians and the minority that, in its support for annexation, is willing to risk the future of the entire Zionist enterprise.