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Netanyahu's pro-settler allies force annexation into campaign agenda

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement that he aspires to maintain his current coalition after the April elections means that Israelis can expect to see ideas like annexation and a binational state increasingly normalized.
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For now, the public debate surrounding Israel’s April 2019 election is focusing on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal cases. The Israeli media as well as politicians from the coalition and opposition have been spending quite a bit of time on the question of when it would be appropriate for Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to release his decision on whether to indict Netanyahu. Should he do it now, or wait until the election is over? Can Netanyahu serve as prime minister if he is indicted? But the question that will really determine Israel’s fate is whether Israel should annex the territories, and that issue is being pushed off to the side.

During the Netanyahu government’s last term, the leaders of HaBayit HaYehudi made no secret of what they considered to be an appropriate diplomatic solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. It involved the annexation of Area C, which was home to 413,000 Jews as of last year and about 300,000 Palestinians. In fact, the party’s chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, had submitted his own annexation plan in 2012. Back then, he sounded delusional. Adopting the idea meant abandoning a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians and replacing it with the idea of a binational state. The issues never received public support or even came up for public debate. But now, during Netanyahu’s fourth term, Israelis are desperate. It may be Netanyahu’s fault, but they have given up on reaching a diplomatic solution with a “non-partner” like Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. As such, the right’s annexation plan has taken the lead over a two-state solution.

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