Tech leaders say West Bank annexation would be catastrophic for Israel
A panel of tech executives warns of the likely harm to befall their industry and the entire economy in the event of Israel deciding to take over parts of the West Bank
CTech | 13:58 13.07.2020
Tech industry leaders, both past and present, believe that the idea of Israel annexing parts of the West Bank is nothing short of a catastrophe and particularly now during the Covid-19 era. Dov Moran, a founding partner of Groove Ventures and the founder of M-Systems, the company behind the USB flash drive, spoke at a Calcalist conference on the price of the annexation. “The annexation is so irrelevant now. We are a country in the midst of a deep crisis. The number of casualties is not only the several hundreds of dead from the virus but the people who don’t have jobs, who are desperate and being raised into poverty. A true leader thinks only of the country’s problems and how to solve them, and appoints the best people to cope with the challenges. It’s unacceptable that things like annexation, appointing judges, or income tax returns are the focus now. What’s going through these people’s minds while a million citizens go hungry?” Moran, alongside Alpha Omega founding partner Reem Younis, attorney Maya Liquornik and former senior VP at Intel Corporation and President of Intel Israel Shmuel (Mooly) Eden spoke at a panel at the conference moderated by Meir Orbach.
Reem Younis (left), Mooly Eden, Maya Liquornik, and Dov Moran. Photo: Amit Shaal, Orel Cohen, Sharon TzurAccording to Liquornik, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu truly believes in carrying out the annexation. “When Bibi was in the U.S. in January, standing on the lawn with President Trump, I think he saw it as the fulfillment of an ideology that is very significant for him. He believes in it. He sees it as an ideological and political achievement for his base. Had the coronavirus outbreak not happened, he would have definitely gone ahead with it, now I think he really wants to, but I mostly hope that he realizes that now is not the right time from a political standpoint, an economic standpoint and a social standpoint. The public is not behind him on this. There are pressing issues to deal with and I believe and mostly hope that he realizes that,” she said. “This will be a disaster and as a tech guy, I can tell you that when you have a problem you focus on the problem alone. This is a global problem that no one has properly dealt with, production has frozen all over the world, let's just focus on dealing with that. It is clear that if we try to move ahead with annexation the economic impact will be huge. Bibi, who is a man of ‘Real Politics,’ understands that. If he decides to make the move just to distract the public from the other problems, then it will have a devastating effect,” said Eden, formerly a senior Intel executive and currently active on the boards of several startups and chairman of the University of Haifa’s executive committee. “As a Palestinian Israeli, I think annexation will be terrible for Palestinians and for the Arab citizens of Israel,” said Reem Younis, a founding partner at Alpha Omega and one of the most senior female executives to come out of the Arab Israeli sector. “We have been witnessing good cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian tech companies of late, that will all certainly disappear. We also see positive cooperation between Israel and Jordan and Israel and Egypt. I don’t want to think of the possibility of the peace agreements being canceled. The society I am part of on a daily basis will be even more negatively affected. In February, unemployment in (the Arab Israeli city) Nazareth stood at 9%, now we are talking about 50%. These are people who rely on tourism and hospitality. If it goes ahead, tourism won’t resume. We will witness a wave of poverty and violence, especially against women and children. Local municipalities will go bankrupt and we will experience a wave of despair caused by the economic and political situation—it’s the worst possible scenario.”