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11 Sep, 2019 02:55

‘Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley annexation pledge is PR stunt to deflect attention from corruption woes’

‘Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley annexation pledge is PR stunt to deflect attention from corruption woes’

The Israeli PM’s promise to annex the Jordan Valley if re-elected is a practically impossible task to boost his fading popularity and distract the public from his corruption scandals, political commentator Amir Oren told RT.

Also on rt.com Israeli annexation of Jordan Valley would be the ‘death of the two state solution’ – George Galloway

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been desperate to drum up voter support across various sections of the Israeli population as the September 17 election inches closer, and his most recent pledge to annex the Jordan Valley, a part of the occupied West Bank, is no more than yet another empty campaign promise, political and defense commentator Amir Oren told RT.

“He cannot annex any inch of the occupied territories… the most important [reason] is that peace with Egypt and with Jordan is based upon the UN Security Council resolution 242 from November of 1967 forbidding the acquisition of territories by force.”

Netanyahu knows that risking the collapse of the entire regional security system is a “non-starter,” and his grand announcement is merely a “way to focus attention on himself,” Oren argued. The PR stunt is also aimed at helping Netanyahu to rebrand himself as a strong leader able to deal with the Iran ‘menace’ and the Palestinian issue, as most recently he has been making headlines for the allegations of corruption he faces.

"He is trying to shift attention from his corruption scandals, he could be indicted as early as mid-October, he wants people to talk about himself as a world-class leader in league with Putin and Trump.”

Netanyahu seeks to cast himself as the only Israeli leader capable of deterring Iran and getting along with Trump well enough to “salvage” the so-called “deal of the century,” he said. The much-hyped deal, due to be released after the election, has reportedly been heavily skewed in Israel’s favor and has already been rejected by Ramallah.

“[Netanyahu] is desperate to win in order to avoid being prosecuted,” former special rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council concerning Palestinian affairs John Dugard agreed, describing the Israeli leader’s efforts to RT as an ingenious “election ploy.”

Also on rt.com Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley after Israeli election

'As far as the West is concerned, Israel is not bound by international law'

While the Israeli leader’s announcement has already drawn anger from the Arab League, including from Riyadh, which has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), it’s unlikely that Netanyahu will receive anything more than a verbal admonishment, political analyst Mitchell Barak told RT. Barak invoked the recurrent failures of the UN Security Council, where the US has a veto, to retaliate against the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital by the US in violation of international law as well as against Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem in the first place and its “apartheid” in occupied Palestine.

"Words are very easily used, but seldom enforced"

The EU is also not expected to push back against a potential Jordan Valley annexation with anything of substance, such as the sanctions that the bloc has slapped on Russia after its reunification with Crimea, Dugard argued.

In Europe’s view, “Russia is not above the law; hence sanctions against Russia for its incorporation of the Crimea. But as far as the West is concerned, Israel is not bound by international law. It can act with impunity.”

Netanyahu has a trump card up his sleeve – the unwavering support of US President Donald Trump for any Israeli policy, Dugard believes.

“I doubt whether he has or will co-ordinate with Trump. He simply knows that Trump will endorse it to win the support of his evangelical base,” he said, noting that while the UN General Assembly would “obviously” condemn the move if Netanyahu follows through with his threat, the UN Security Council’s hands would still be tied by a US veto.

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