With the annexation by Israel of portions of Judea and Samaria a real possibility in coming months, people are asking whether this a suitable moment for such a move.
For supporters of a Greater Israel and the right of Jews to live on and rule their Biblical hearland, of course it is (and why hasn’t it been done it sooner!). But on the left, the prospect casts a pall over a utopian vision of two states living as neighbors in peace.
The fact is, the check’s been written and waits only to be cashed. Biblical imperatives aside, with a best friend in the White House, the political coast is as clear as it’s likely to be for long while.
Last week, Daniel Pipes, a Middle East scholar with impeccable pro-Israel bona fides, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times suggesting six reasons this might not be the right time. The twitterverse exploded and Pipes was villified (from both left and right).
Columnists Jonathan Tobin ["Think Israel's asking for trouble? Think again") and Stephen Flatow ["Let's put this simply: Annexation won't hurt"] consider — and reject — Pipes’ view, and Pipes responds.
Link here to an extended interview with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The move’s up to Israel, Friedman says, and the US has its back.
But “for Israel to give up Hebron, Shiloh, Beit El, Ariel … is like the US giving up the Statue of Liberty,” he added.