Settler groups have a keen eye on total control of the West Bank and have played a significant role in negotiations to form a government.
The far-right Religious Zionism and Jewish Power factions and Benjamin Netanyhau’s Likud party formed a coalition on December 1, and the settler organization Yesha Council immediately shared its joy on social media.
It congratulated all involved and added, “Special thanks to our representatives who collaborated with the professionals of Yesha Council throughout the negotiations.”.
Using the Israeli names for the occupied West Bank, Judea and Samaria, it continued, “With God’s help, a new government will soon be formed and face the challenges of construction development and preservation of land in Judea and Samaria.”.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the leader of Karnei Shomron, another significant settler organization, who told Ynet TV that Bezalel Smotrich should apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria as soon as he assumes leadership of Religious Zionism.
“Decisions haven’t been made for more than 55 years. It is time to annex Judea and Samaria in the same manner that the Golan Heights was.
A lot can be inferred from those comments. They give an idea of the future pressure settler groups will exert on the politicians who some still refer to as their “representatives,” in addition to revealing the extent of settler groups’ involvement in negotiations over government formation.
However, calling these individuals “representatives” is incorrect. This “Hilltop Youth” government is the face of the most radical segment of its electorate; it does not represent that electorate.
Left, center, and right shocked Israelis are already attempting to understand how their daily lives will be impacted by this extreme right/ultra-Orthodox government. But the country’s size is another aspect that will change, in addition to Israel‘s character. Or, to put it another way, the annexation of Palestinian territory.
Nowadays, neither the new coalition nor its battered opposition, which is focused on other urgent issues, frequently use the word “annexation.”.
It is a deliberate choice motivated by concern over the response from other countries. A few protests organized by hundreds or even thousands of weary leftists who are legitimately concerned about the demise of the Israeli judicial system can be easily dismissed by the new coalition. A very different situation arises when dealing with international rebukes or even sanctions.
While it may not frighten the messianic Smotrich or the trigger-happy leader of the Jewish Power, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu is undoubtedly terrified by it. With the Iranian nuclear issue—and the Israeli military option to address it—hanging over his head like Damocles’ sword, he is acutely aware that he cannot enrage the international community, and particularly the Arab world.
In these situations, the euphemism “application of sovereignty” sounds more savory than “annexation.”. The negative connotation of unilateral annexation has now been purposefully replaced with a phrase deemed more politically legitimate, similar to how the infamous call “death to Arabs” has been replaced at Ben-Gvir‘s order with “death to terrorists.”