Israel Policy Forum welcomes the conclusion of a period of political stagnation with the formation of a new Israeli government, ending the instability of the past 12 months and allowing Israel to take the necessary budgetary and legislative actions to mitigate the damage to the Israeli people and the Israeli economy from the novel coronavirus. While a new government will enable Israel to deal with the challenges of the past few months, it should also take care not to add to Israel’s burden by creating new self-inflicted challenges that will have far-reaching ramifications.

The coalition agreement signed by Likud and Kachol Lavan explicitly allows for unilateral annexation of West Bank territory and application of Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements to begin on July 1. We are disappointed that Benny Gantz has agreed to this step as a condition for forming a unity government, not least because it is a departure from his previous statements and stances on the subject of West Bank annexation. We hope that the new Israeli government closely examines the potential consequences of unilateral annexation and the deleterious impact it will have on Israeli security and diplomacy and that it heeds the warnings against unilateral annexation that have come from Israeli security experts, the United States Congress, the European Union, foreign policy experts, and American Jewish leaders. As Israel’s year of political instability now comes to a close, we urge Israel’s leaders not to take any steps that may put its future stability at risk.