By Travis Washington
I waited until after July 1st to post this because this is the day Israel was suppose to start the annexation. There has been a delay in the annexation sadly, this won’t stop annexation. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the White House on Jan 28. The purpose of the meeting was to support Israel annexation of the Jordan Valley. There has been a lot of criticism during their announcement. The ambassador from the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia showed up at the press conference.
Every single time I hear a conflict between Israel and Palestine, I tell my fiance, the love of my life Asia Ester, look at what Israel did to Palestine today. I called my father right away with the newest conflict. One time, I called him at 2 a.m. to explain to him the newest bombing or form of oppression. Both Asia and my father might not have the obsessive interest of foreign policy that I have, but both of them know who Netanyahu and the struggles Palestinians go through. The annexation of the Jordan Valley put me over the edge. This time, I had to write about it. I was shocked that mother even knows about Palestine and Israel’s problems. She believes Jewish people deserve lands, but you can’t take other people’s land. As a person of color, you feel for Palestine.
Israel has Annex lands before in 1980, they annexed East Jerusalem. In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, Syria leading to an established military occupation. The military occupation created 200 checkpoints. More than 600,000 Israel settlers live in these lands, which is illegal in international law. This continued annexation happened after the 1967 Six-Day War where Israel defeated Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. The United States played a huge role in war giving Israel maps of the Arab army air force base. Israel bombed the Arab army air force and had full control of the skies.
Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel history, is pushing for the annexation of the Jordan Valley. The 5th term prime minister has a history of sayings racist statements about Arabs. ”In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts. At the end of the day, as I see it, there will be a fence like this one surrounding Israel in its entirety. We will surround the entire state of Israel with a fence, a barrier,” quote was reported by Middle East Monitor. Netanyahu has a history of breaking international law and starting wars that lead to casualties. In the 2014 Gaza War, 1,462 civilians died, according to Al Jazeera. According to The Guardian news, Netanyahu has called for sanction on the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court wanted to open a formal inquiry into alleged continuing war crimes in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The prime minister is under investigation for violation of breach of trust, corruption, and bribery. He has been charged by the Attorney General of his party. Netanyahu has been bailed out because of Coronavirus. Netanyahu was able to stop the investigation and shut down the courts. His push for annexation has started protests all over the country. Al Jazeera’s commentator said it best: “what going to be his legacy.” The annexation of the Jordan Valley is going to be his legacy.
The United States has always supported Israel. The support for Israel has been unwavering since 1948 when President Harry Truman helped armed the Israelis in their war for independence. The Trump administration takes helping Israel to a whole new level. The Trump administration supported moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem created outrage throughout the whole world and the United Nations voted on the move. 165 counties voted against the move, and only five countries agreed with the move. The Trump administration recognized Israel annexation of the Golan Heights as Israel sovereignty violating international law. The Trump administration has made it clear in its support of Israel even if it violates international laws.
The Arab League, European Union, and the United Nations condemned the move. The European Union plans to place sanctions on Israel if annexation goes through, according to the EU Foreign Ministry representative. The King of Jordan threatened to rip up the peace deal with Israel and will take military actions if necessary. “Annexation of the West Bank will take away 65,000 houses from the Palestinians,” to quote my favorite journalist Ahmed Ghoniem from TRT World. Jordan Valley is the only access for water and agriculture for the Palestinians that live there. Taking away Palestinians’ way of life is cruel. According to Euronews, “1,000 European MPs call for Israel annexation to be halted and warn of ‘consequences,'” If the annexation of the Jordan Valley happens any chance of statehood for Palestine will be thrown out the window. According to Middle East Eye, the Palestinians won’t be offered Israeli citizenship adding to refugees crisis leaving 65,000 people homeless.
I have two solutions to the problem. My first option Secretary-General to United Nations Antonio Guterres should send in peacekeeping officers to the Jordan Valley and stop the annexation, or offer Palestine asylum to allied countries that believe in protecting the Palestinians working with Iran, Lebanon, and Jordan. For example, in exchange, Iran agrees with the asylum deal all sanctions should be lifted off of Iran. Lebanon offers citizenship to Palestine in exchange for economic relief with a bailout with the International Monetary Fund, except not a loan of its $8 billion grant. Jordan will receive more aid as well. Jordan’s unemployment rate is 15% and the country is dependent on foreign aid. We have done this before in history when the Jews were persecuted in Ethiopia. In 1985, operation Moses was launched and 125,000 Ethiopian Jews received asylum in Israel.
Yes, the Jordan Valley is the focus of this article, but we can not forget about the Palestinians that live in Gaza. When the annexation happens the already desperate Palestinians in Gaza will become more radical. Seeing the annexation of Jordan Valley will force them to lose hope of ever receiving statehood. According to George Galloway on RT America, 97% of Palestine do not have access to drinking water, and electricity only works four to five hours a day. They are dependent on foreign aid to run their economy. Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world. The people of Gaza have some of the highest suicide rates in the world. A lot of popular leaders around the world have compared what happened to Palestine to the South Africans in Africa. Jimmy Carter and others say it’s a new form of the apartheid.
Travis Washington is a two-time graduate of SIU, having received his Bachelor’s degree in University studies with a minor in Africana Studies and Speech Communication in 2017 and Master’s in Education Administration with a College Teaching Certificate in 2019. During his tenure at SIU, Travis was heavily involved in advocacy work and action in the community, with focus on voter registration and change in legislation. Currently he is trying to pass a law called the “ Hands Up Act”