Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Netanyahu Folds On Housing In Judea And Samaria, And Embraces The Lie Of 'Linkage'
After all of his macho rhetoric on Israel and Iran, Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu has unfortunately reverted to a servile, defensive crouch..
Housing Minister Uri Ariel was ordered by Netanyahu to shelve plans for building 24,000 badly needed homes in Judea and Samaria:
"This step has no legal or practical significance and it creates an unnecessary conflict with the international community at a time when Israel is sparing no effort to prevent it from striking a bad deal with Iran. As a member of this government one must act with discretion and forethought," Netanyahu told Ariel.
Ariel's decision to promote settlement expansion met harsh criticism from the U.S. "The United States is deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions with respect to settlement construction," White House National Security Staff spokesman Tommy Vietor said Tuesday.
"Not only are continued Israeli settlements illegitimate, Israel's actions run counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations," Vietor added.
"I don't think we've been shy about our disapproval of [the] settlements," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We were surprised by these announcements, and are currently seeking further explanation from the government of Israel. Our position on settlements is quite clear -- we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We've called on both sides to take steps to create a positive atmosphere for the negotiations," she added.
Illegitimate...now there's an honest and impartial broker for you. Not.
But two points of interest stand out here. First, let's look at the actual state of those 'negotiations'.
The Palestinian Authority has continued its violent attacks on Israelis and its antisemitic incitement via its mosques, schools and media.
The latest casualty, almost on cue after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Israel with a third intifada if they failed to cave in to Palestinian demands was the unprovoked murder of Eden Atias HY"D, a young 19-year old soldier who was stabbed to death at a bus stop in Afula, Israel. Which by the way, is within the pre '67 lines, not that it ultimately matters to the Palestinians.
Netanyahu's response was characteristic. He talked a great game, backed up with zero action.
"Surrounding the murderer is an education system, official Palestinian Authority newspapers, mosques and other places in Palestinian society that are full of incitement," Netanyahu said. "If we want real peace, the incitement has to stop."
At the same time, Palestine's unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the PLO is walking away from negotiations. And this was after Netanyahu announced the cancellation of plans to buildthe housing units :
Negotiator Mohammed Shtayyeh told AFP the move was in response to "increasing settlement building (by Israel) and the absence of any hope of achieving results." [...}
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced earlier Wednesday a public withdrawal of plans to build 24,000 housing units across the region, in an attempt to prevent "an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran."
So the negotiations the Obama State Department is touting so vigorously are at an effective dead end anyway.
Even worse, aside from this craven surrender on Netanyahu's part (and you can just imagine what message of weakness that sent to Abbas and his friends) is Netanyahu's easy acceptance of the concept of 'linkage' between surrendering to the Palestinians and their demands and the situation with Iran.
This is ridiculous and dangerous nonsense on several levels.
First, Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an international one. The Israelis could give Abbas and the Palestinians everything they want and it would not slow down a single centrifuge or stop the Ayatollahs headlong rush for nuclear weapons by one iota. If every Jew in Israel suddenly left the country to move to Alaska, the target would just change from the Little Satan to the Great Satan and the EU. No matter what Kerry and President Obama and their team think, such things never stop with the Jews.
If Netanyahu believes that cowering before Abbas and the Palestinians will somehow get Presidnt Obama to deal with Iran's nuclear threat, he's fooling himself.
It's hard to imagine that the sell out in Geneva didn't teach Netanyahu that President Obama isn't intersted in doing anything about Iran's nukes, let alone Israel's security concerns, especially since Netanyahu has to know that President Obama has been relaxing the enforcement of sanctions for the past six months.
Yet Netanyahu still takes his orders in hopes that President Obama will do what he should be doing as America's commander-in-chief anyway, or perhaps in response to the same old threats. Surely Netanyahu knows by now that Obama and Kerry's words are worthless, that anything they're threatening to do do Israel they're going to do anyway. What can he possibly hope to gain?
Actually, if Netanyahu actually wanted to bring the Palestinians to the table for real negotiations, the best tactic is strength rather than surrender. Israel could break off the negotiations until the attacks and the incitement stop, end the tax transfers, stop the prisoner releases, and refuse to provide any more free electricity until the PA's bill was paid. The same sanctions that brought Iran to the table would work with the PA, and make a favorable settlement on equitable terms just as important to Abbas and the PA as it is to Israel.
Instead, Netanyahu favors surrender, in hopes of gewtting something out of President Obama that he's never going to get.
Yes, Netanyahu obviously had his chain yanked and hurried to obey Obama's diktats, and he's getting nothing concrete in return, just more promises that will be discarded whenever Obama thinks it's convenient. This was, as it always has been, a serious mistake, and Netanyahu remains the one foreign leader still willing to play along. Even the Saudis, who fear a nuclear Iran as much as the Israelis do aren't willing to abase themselves that far.
It's time. Netanyahu either needs to grow a spine or realize he's not up to the job. If this is an example of his thinking, Israel needs new leadership and a nationwide outcry to achieve it, and they need it now. The center right national security government the Israelis voted for is not what they're getting and I refuse to believe that on something this basic, the majority of Israelis can't see where this is heading and that there are no leaders willing to stand up for the country.