Mockery and Disappointment Over Empty Vows: Israeli Tweeps React to 'Annexation' That Never Happened

© AP Photo / Khalil HamraPalestinians demonstrate against Israeli plans for the annexation of parts of the West Bank, in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Palestinians demonstrate against Israeli plans for the annexation of parts of the West Bank, in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. - Sputnik International
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Many Israelis were not surprised by Netanyahu backtracking from his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, especially given that he had broken a number of other promises made to voters in the past.

July 1st was supposed to be the day when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rolled out his sovereignty bill that would have bitten off a chunk of territory in the West Bank, including all Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, angering Palestinians and potentially triggering a third Intifada.

Preparing for the worst, the IDF boosted its presence in problematic areas, while the Mossad chief was dispatched to Jordan to do some ground work and explain Israel's stance to the Jordanian king, who has repeatedly objected to the plan. Likud parliamentarians gave interviews left, right, and centre to convince the Israeli public that the application of sovereignty was the right way forward.

© AFP 2022 / AHMAD GHARABLIIsraeli policemen, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, march together while on guard as demonstrators gather for a protest against Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank, in the Arab town of Arara in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, on July 1, 2020.
Mockery and Disappointment Over Empty Vows: Israeli Tweeps React to 'Annexation' That Never Happened - Sputnik International
Israeli policemen, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, march together while on guard as demonstrators gather for a protest against Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank, in the Arab town of Arara in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, on July 1, 2020.

But hours went by, the day ended and nothing happened. Nothing apart from a short message released by the PM's office informing journalists that the primeminister "continues to hold talks with the Americans" and that the upcoming days will see more negotiations of this sort.

Making Fun of the PM

Many Tweeps, who couldn't hide their mockery, took to social media to make fun of the prime minister.

"Is it July 1 or April 1? I looked out of the window to see if there's annexation but found nothing", one Twitter user wrote.

"I am dying.. they made fun of us. Every second sentence is about the annexation. It's better not to talk and take action, rather than throw words into the air and end up doing nothing".

Another Tweep chimed in. "July 1 came and... boom. There is nothing. There is no annexation, no sovereignty. Simply nada. In every other country the prime minister would have immediately left his post because of the shame for not keeping his word. But not here... what a stupid nation we have become".

Promises Meant to Be Broken

Netanyahu built his three election campaigns around the promise to extend sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.

Initially, it was supposed to be 30 percent of the area but as regional and international objection to the move piled up, and the Americans who at first backed the initiative started sending mixed messages, the PM decided to recalculate his route, opting for a more limited move that would include "annexing" clusters of settlements surrounding Jerusalem, as well as a couple of towns located deep inside Palestinian territories.

But for many, Netanyahu changing his stance and breaking a word given to voters, is not at all surprising and some Tweeps have reminded the PM of a number of other vows he's made but failed to keep.

"They lie not only to the [LGBT] community but to the entire nation, including the voters of this [conservative] camp. They said that they would get rid of Hamas, that they would stop Iran's nuclear programme, that they would evict illegal migrants and now that they would extend sovereignty and tackle the high prices of living. They have been saying this for several decades already".
"Netanyahu promised annexation. Didn't happen. He promised that Israel would see billions of dollars in revenue from its gas resources. Didn't happen either. He promised that case 4000 [where the PM is accused of buying positive media coverage - ed.] would collapse. That didn't happen either... Netanyahu is all promises", another netizen quipped.

'Annexation' Spells Trouble

For others, Netanyahu's decision to drop his plan for the time being was a step in the right direction, primarily given the raging COVID-19 epidemic that has been battering the country again, impacting Israel's economy which hasn't fully recovered from the devastating blow it was dealt in March and April, when authorities closed down the country in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

"In the midst of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, our utterly corrupt Netanyahu pushes us towards a huge security and political challenge in the face of a disastrous annexation that will isolate Israel, drain it financially, take away its moral justification (the country will be perceived as an apartheid regime for everyone), and gradually turn it into a one-state, putting an end to the Zionist dream. And all of you are silent", one Twitterian penned.

Others agreed, but for a different reason. "Full annexation/sovereignty cannot and should not be applied now. If you annex 100% of Judea and Samaria's territories [Hebrew name for the West Bank - ed.], Israel will lose its Jewish majority", wrote a Tweep referring to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who would become residents in the event of annexation.

"[If that happens], in the next round of elections The Joint Arab List will become the largest party and it will form the country's next government. Ahmed Tibi will become the prime minister and that will be the end of Israel. A Palestinian state will be established on all of Israel's current territory", he lamented.

Although this Tweep's concerns are largely exaggerated, especially since Israel doesn't plan to annex the entire West Bank and has no intention of giving newly-absorbed Palestinians any voting rights, his concerns bother many ordinary Israelis.

A recent poll revealed that one third of Israelis asked were against Netanyahu's West Bank plan, with only 27 percent saying they were in favour of the move. Nine percent stated they would back the initiative if it only included the Jordan Valley.

Another survey showed a similar picture. According to the Geneva Initiative, an NGO that advocates for a permanent and peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, almost 42 percent of Israelis said they objected to the notion of annexation, citing the need to rebuild the country's economy and provide better healthcare first.

For now, it appears that the so-called peace camp has achieved its goal, but the plan to chop off some parts of the West Bank hasn't been taken off the table, and those who hoped for it in the past, citing a number of security and economic benefits this move would entail, will continue to hope that one day what now looks like fiction will eventually turn into reality.

"Annexation will not happen but we will apply sovereignty over more territories that are part of Greater Israel", one Twitter user wrote.
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