With US President Donald Trump giving Israel his administration’s full backing and key Arab states allied to Israel, there’s little prospect of a backlash.

Israel is moving ahead with plans to annex a huge strip of the occupied West Bank despite not being able to formally implement the plan until a permanent government is in place.

As explained by the Jerusalem Post, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot proceed legally speaking as his government is only in power in an interim capacity.

Any future government would have to wait until at least March 2020, the date of the election, to proceed with the land grab, which would cut Palestinians off from Jordan, and deny a hypothetical future Palestinian state from accessing the River Jordan - leaving future administrations completely reliant on Israel to meet their basic needs.

Despite the massive implication for Palestinians, and the illegality of annexation through military conquest under international law, Israel is expected to face no major repercussions. Here we look at some of the reasons why.

A big fan in the White House

The office of US president has always been partial to the Israeli state. Successive US leaders, whether Democrat or Republican, have signed off on billions in military aid and weapons shipments for the country.

None, however, have been as enthusiastic in their support as incumbent President Donald Trump.

The Republican leader moved Washington’s embassy in Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, recognising Israel’s annexation of the occupied East Jerusalem despite its illegality.

His administration has also announced that it does not see Israel’s decades-old and illegal campaign of settlement as ‘inconsistent’ with international law.

With his unprecedented embrace of Israel’s expansionist policies, Trump hopes to secure his support among Christian Zionists within the US, as well as strengthen ties with one of his few strong foreign allies.

Any move on the Jordan Valley therefore, is unlikely to provoke popular outcry.

Arab support

With Egypt strongly allied to Israel and the Assad regime busy bombing its own people, the main source of discontent among Israel’s neighbours is likely to be Jordan due to its historic administration of the West Bank and its huge Palestinian refugee population.

Any Jordanian uproar, however, can be snuffed out by Israel’s new friends in the Middle East, Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The pair are among the biggest investors in the Jordanian economy, and any protest by Amman deemed too excessive could mean a tightening of the screws fiscally.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE see Israel as an important ally against Iran and Turkey.

Domestic consent

The issue of annexing the Jordan Valley is hugely popular with the Israeli right-wing, which views the territory as rightfully belonging to the Jewish people on religious and historic grounds.

Both Netanyahu and his main rival, Bennie Gantz, have pledged to annex the territory if they are able to form government.

Previous elections over the past year have been neck-and-neck and whichever candidate the electorate believes is more likely to follow through with the promise will probably secure decisive support.

Palestinian infighting

While Israeli politicians plan the annexation, the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, have been at loggerheads for more than a decade.

The splits make it difficult for the Palestinians to take a united stance against Israel, a situation exacerbated by the fact that Hamas-administered Gaza is geographically separate from the West Bank, in which Fatah dominates.

While Palestinian protests were big after the US embassy move to Jerusalem, these were easily put down by Israel, albeit with its customary use of heavy force. 

Source: TRT World