"Sanctions against Israel would be even worse than annexation"

LThe unilateral annexation of a part of the West Bank is a bad idea, which is not even mentioned in the Trump plan [unveiled in January]. I was part of the team that worked on this American-developed peace plan. So I know what it's all about. The unilateral annexation is a misinterpretation of the guiding idea behind the Trump plan. Netanyahu only retained what he liked and tried to promote a biased reading.

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In the first version of the American plan, the extension of Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the main settlement blocks was an integral part of a process which was to lead to the coexistence of two states – a demilitarized Palestinian state, and the State of Israel escapes the threat of Islamist terrorism. To some extent, Donald Trump has succeeded where other American presidents have failed. In January 2020, during an official ceremony at the White House, he succeeded in convincing Benjamin Netanyahu to return to the two-state solution that he endorsed during his speech at Bar University -Ilan from Tel Aviv, June 14, 2009. Since then, the Israeli Prime Minister has done everything in his power to reverse this commitment. His plea for unilateral annexation illustrates this.

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It is in the name of their rejection of the Trump plan that the Palestinians do not want to hear about annexation. I am also opposed to annexation, but precisely because of my adherence to the spirit that presides over the American initiative. The two-state solution remains the only realistic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ideological mixtures

Europe has strongly protested the proposed annexation. Among the many criticisms of the Israelis, some were difficult to hear. I accept that it is so. Among friends, we have the right – and sometimes the duty – to express a disagreement, however keen. This is what I said to European leaders and diplomats with whom I discussed this subject. However, a distinction must be made between legitimate criticism and ideological amalgams which aim to banish Israel from the community of nations. Two red lines have been crossed from this point of view.

The first is the attempts at political recovery that have multiplied in the wake of anti-racism demonstrations that have taken place around the world following the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25. Demonstrating for a just cause is one thing, maintaining amalgam without regard for the facts is another. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict simply has nothing to do with this unsustainable tragedy.

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