The Fate of Netanyahu’s Annexation Isn’t in His Government’s Hands

The final version of the annexation plan won’t be determined by the balance of power between Likud and Kahol Lavan in the cabinet, and apparently not by the objections being expressed by the heads of the defense establishment, either.

It seems that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is discounting the weight of the first issue, and it’s doubtful that he attributes too much significance to the second, even though in the past he tended to listen to the warnings of senior Israel Defense Forces officers and Shin Bet security service officials.

– LISTEN: How Netanyahu could fudge annexation, hoodwink Gantz and cling on to power

LISTEN: How Netanyahu could fudge annexation, hoodwink Gantz and cling on to power

The fate and the size of the annexation will in the end be determined by Washington and Jerusalem, in accordance with the pressure that will be exerted by the White House, after the internal struggle within the administration’s peace team is sorted out.

Netanyahu dropped the annexation bomb into the already raging fire of the Middle East in the midst of the coronavirus crisis for clearly personal reasons. The promises of annexation allowed him to put a new issue on the national agenda as his trial was opening for bribery and breach of trust. The old arguments of “there will be nothing” because they won’t find real evidence against him have been long forgotten. They have not been heard since an indictment was issued and the scope of the evidence the prosecution has in hand became clear. Instead, there is now an ideological argument being made aimed at strengthening right-wing support for his moves against the judicial system.

In an unprecedented appearance in the lobby of the Jerusalem District Court before his trial opened last month, Netanyahu presented this argument: Prosecuting him is essentially a leftist plot aimed at removing a prime minister who is trying to protect the Land of Israel. If he would have agreed to be an “obedient poodle,” as he put it, the deep state would have allowed him to remain in office. Likud MKs and ministers, who had been summoned to serve as extras in this performance, nodded in agreement behind their masks.

The ideological argument comes in conjunction with the orchestrated campaign against Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit. This came to its logical result on Sunday when the Bibi-ists began to tweet that if the attorney general is suspected of crimes, because of his behavior during the Harpaz affair, it surely follows that he must cancel the indictment he filed against Netanyahu. How that argument might affect the validity of all the other indictments filed here over the past few years remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the online lynching of Mendelblit aims to create deterrence in another issue that’s worrying the Balfour Street residents: progress in the investigation of the stocks that Netanyahu got from his cousin, itself an offshoot of the submarines and patrol boats investigation (Case 3000). Putting Amir Ohana in charge of the Public Security Ministry (which oversees the police) was meant to serve as a restraint on a broader investigation by the police, which is headed by an acting commissioner who is eager to be permanently appointed.