Israel's PrimeMinister has unilaterally laid waste to years of Middle East Peace negotiations by blatantly ruling out issues that have long been on the table, and in so doing has once again humiliated President Obama's albeit pathetic attempts to resolve the ongoing crisis. Meanwhile the Palestinians are getting on with business.
After a longer than scheduled, and obviously testy meeting in
Like a petulant blowhard, Netanyahu launched in to a tirade that cut through the so called final-status issues that continue to prove so problematic to the Middle East Peace process.
To Obama’s support (backed by the UN, the EU and
What was indefensible was his blindsiding of a President whom he clearly can’t stand (and the feelings are likely mutual), and it was also indefensible to accuse the Palestinians of engaging in unilateral behaviour in their statehood bid, yet he unilaterally changed the agreed basis of any negotiations.
To a major grievance of the Palestinians – the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled from their homes and lives to make way for incoming Jews - Netanyahu dismissed Palestinian refugees as not his problem and never to be accommodated within
Almost in the same breath he clung to the biblical 4000 year lineage of the Jews whom he declared have suffered more than any other people, and are on history’s final chance to have their sovereign state. He then rubbished the claims of the grandchildren of Palestinian refugees to return to their homelands. So 4000 years of largely undocumented history vs. two generations of reality, and he keeps a straight face? He’s not stupid enough to not get it. He gets it alright. Given his education he is also likely very well aware that such historical claims to land have absolutely no standing in international law, as any indigenous peoples who have been colonized will attest.
Netanyahu also said the Israelis are prepared to make “generous” concessions for peace, but couldn’t articulate one such concession.
The so-called “facts on the ground” which are a euphemism for illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land – often built only once the Palestinians have been forcibly evicted to make way for the settler condos – are now in open play.
Netanyahu says these “certain demographics” – including 1500 new apartments to be built in
On the issue of negotiations, Netanyahu repeated his dictate that Fatah has to make a choice - a unity government with Hamas or peace with
Actually, it does in an implicit way because it has committed to working with Fatah towards a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, ergo; it recognizes a second state which is
Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, while rightly wary of Hamas’ involvement and ultimate intentions, have left some wriggle room for negotiations should Palestinian President Abbas pull off the unity agreement and bring about new democratic elections.
Neither Obama nor Netanyahu, in their fulsome praise for democracy seem to consider it is also a right of the Palestinians. Well, not a right worth mentioning publicly. Obama in his Middle East speech devoted much of the 50 minute rehash of what we already know about Tunisia and Egypt and all the other brave young (and not so young) people fighting for their rights, but never seemed to accord such rights or desires to the Palestinians who have been living under occupation since long before Mubarak, Assad, Ben Ali, Qaddafi & Co.
There is much controversy over whether Obama’s call for the 1967 borders to be the basis of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state was in fact the first such open mention of the planned borders by an American President.
If it was, it was refreshing. If not, who cares as it has been the basis of all negotiations of recent times anyway.
But, what was Obama playing at when he warned the Palestinians that their bid for international recognition as a sovereign state at the September United Nations meeting would not eventuate in statehood?
Was he trying to appease the powerful Jewish Lobby in the
What he has done is indicate early on the
The Palestinians no doubt have some other tactical options, and have already said Obama’s warning will deter neither the speed nor depth of their diplomatic programme to convince the world’s countries to back their right to be a recognized, sovereign state. All indications are that the PLO will present a tremendous moral force at the upcoming UNGA, with possibly three times as much support Kosovo had when it was officially recognized as a sovereign state in 2008.
Kosovo of course had US backing for its right to national self determination and the sovereign state to go with that. Surely if the wave of change throughout the
If that’s not enough incentive, how about settling for a little light slapping down of Netanyahu given the humiliation the Israeli hawk has once again meted out to
Now watch for Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress and to the Jewish Lobby group AIPAC.