Donald Trump and Binyamin Netanyahu meet in White House
Donald Trump and Binyamin Netanyahu meet in White House Reuters

Suspending the application of sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria, which in actuality is more likely a cancellation, currently seems like the waste of the century; a golden opportunity squandered. A rare window of opportunity shut closed, doubtful to ever reopen. Just one thing can make up for this improvidence: significant construction to massively bolster the settlement enterprise in these territories. Sans such an initiative we'll have lost on both ends – conceding our right to sovereignty, and eschewing construction in strategic areas, such as greater Jerusalem, its environs beyond the Green Line and many other population centers across Judea and Samaria.

For years now, Netanyahu has discussed building in E1 areas, which stretches across seven kilometers (four miles) between Jerusalem and the suburb of Maaleh Adumim. This is the most important swathe of land in terms of forging a strategic east-west connection, between Jerusalem and Dead Sea, but sadly Netanyahu is only talking instead of building there. Netanyahu is also essentially freezing the construction of 10,000 housing units on Jewish lands in Atarot north of Jerusalem, even though the Construction and Housing Ministry has been begging for years to rezone the land and all the plans are ready. Under the watchful eye of the United States, Netanyahu is stingy when it comes to approving construction in parts of Judea and Samaria.

The settlement enterprise – the facts on the ground – facilitated our diplomatic achievements and fortified our diplomatic status in Judea and Samaria, not the other way around. Now the "diplomatic umbrella" is gone, and there are also stringent restrictions on construction in these areas and in Jerusalem.

Instead of fulfilling his central campaign promise, Netanyahu is giving the public an "official stamp" of normalization that has already existed, in actuality, behind closed doors, with Gulf states in a wide range of fields and for many years now. Yes, there will be a ceremony, embassies will be opened, flags will be raised and wonderful words will be spoken, but in essence, not much will change.

Peace treaties, in theory, are signed between two countries in a state of war. But the United Arab Emirates – unlike Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or Jordan – has never fought us. While the UAE is perhaps an enemy on paper, in reality, it has been an unofficial friend for a while now. The tidings of normalization with the UAE and maybe other Gulf states will make us feel good in the short term. Postponing and perhaps squandering sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, on the other hand, could be lamented by generations to come.

It still isn't too late. Jerusalem and the Golan Heights were annexed (albeit under different circumstances) without US consent, and the sky didn't fall. Nor will it fall if we act similarly in Judea and Samaria, at least in areas with internal Israeli consensus: the Jordan Valley, parts of greater Jerusalem and western Samaria, because if not now, when?

Published by Israel Hayom

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us