|“I have no doubt that the international community will not recognize sovereignty that Israel would like to apply over Judea and Samaria,” she said. “Israel is a sovereign state and has a right to these territories, and once they decide to apply sovereignty on them, they should do it.”Bercovici, Canadian ambassador to Israel from 2014-2016, expressed the concern that annexation of disputed territories would create an apartheid-type situation, where Jewish and Arab residents would not have the same rights. Darshan-Leitner is not concerned with that issue and says that Israel would eventually offer citizenship to the approximately 160,000 Palestinians living in those areas, because they could not keep them as second-class citizens.IN HIS REMARKS, Dershowitz compared the current Palestinian position to that of the Jews in 1947, when the United Nations Partition Plan was presented. Although it gave them far less land than what they wanted, they accepted the terms of the agreement.“Ben-Gurion wanted a state at any cost,” noted Dershowitz. “If the Palestinians want a state so badly, they should at least sit down and negotiate. They will get more with land swaps, and they will get an opportunity in the future. I reject the notion that it doesn’t permit for a viable state.”Darshan-Leitner agreed with Dershowitz’s comparison, noting that the Palestinians have been presented with an opportunity. Nevertheless, she does not think that the Palestinians will compromise over land.
“I heard Yasser Arafat once say that the land of Palestine is a trust – not for the Palestinians to give it up or decide on its fate – but for the entire Muslim people to decide.” If that is the case, she said, then the Palestinians will not be pressured into giving up any of their claims to the land.Dan Shapiro cautioned that a unilateral Israeli annexation would weaken the Palestinian Authority and might lead to violence. Darshan-Leitner says that while the PA might threaten to reduce cooperation with Israel, in the end, they will have no choice but to continue working with Israeli forces.“Let’s not forget that the survival of Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO as the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority depends on their collaboration with Israel. They fight the same enemy – Israel helps them to defeat Hamas – and as long as the PLO wants authority, they need the help of the security services in Israel. In the beginning, they may be angry, but in the end they will go back and cooperate with Israel.”Shapiro also said that more and more young Palestinians have completely rejected a two-state solution and want to work toward the goal of an eventual bi-national state with a Palestinian majority. Darshan-Leitner thinks that if young Palestinians are abandoning the idea of a two-state solution, it is because they would rather live under Israeli rule, than a corrupt Palestinian or Hamas government.“A lot of people see friends on the other side, see Israeli Arabs and are envious of their situation, and say to themselves, ‘Perhaps it would be better to live under Israeli rule.
’”A final concern raised by the panel was the ability of the agreement to withstand a possible change in the executive branch. If, after the presidential election in November, a Democratic candidate wins, would the “Deal of the Century” with Israeli sovereignty remain in place?Greenblatt suggests that a Democratic administration would not be able to change facts on the ground, despite the comments of the Democratic front-runner Joseph Biden that he does not support annexation. Former US ambassador Shapiro thinks that a Democratic administration might, in fact, cancel the agreement. “It is hard to speculate what a Biden administration might do,” he said.Darshan-Leitner says that Israel should not miss the opportunity which has presented itself.“We have a ‘once in 50-year opportunity,’ where the United States, our biggest ally, that until now considered the territories to be occupied, not only canceled this decision, but is allowing us to impose sovereignty unilaterally. This is an amazing opportunity, and despite all of the predictions and the apocalyptic visions, Israel can and should take this step.”