Netanyahu Leads Israel to Peak of Masada

Article Summary
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies toward the Palestinians and rejection of international opinion has isolated Israel more than ever, writes Shalom Yerushalmi.

Nightmares may come true. For years we [Israelis] have been cautioned time and again that we cannot confront the entire international community, acting as a nation unto itself; that the creeping annexation of Judea and Samaria is universally unacceptable and that no state in the world, with the exception perhaps of Micronesia, would put up with it; that it is bound to eventually lead to an apartheid state. For years we have been told that the two-state solution is the only viable solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]. Alas, we have rendered it null and void with our own hands, defying them all. For years we have been threatened with sanctions. However, we are a stiff-necked people; we refuse to believe what everybody the world over is telling us. “Who are they, anyway,” we have disdainfully asked, carelessly dismissing the advice given us.

For years, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has been told that Europe is no longer what it used to be, that the millions of Muslims crowding the European continent determine to a large extent its policy. In the famous meeting between then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in [June] 2009, the former French president told the Israeli premier: “There are 8 million Muslims in France; they all have satellite dishes and they are watching you closely, observing everything that happens in your country. They are also watching all the Palestinian TV channels. Any turmoil in your region is liable to set the entire European continent on fire.”

Sarkozy’s successor, French President François Hollande, already intimated yesterday [Dec. 3] that France was considering imposing sanctions on Israel.

For years the Israeli government has been urged to take the initiative and set a political process in motion; and to keep leading political moves [for the settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict]. “Seek peace, and pursue it,” as King David implores in the Book of Psalms [34:14].

The Bar-Ilan speech, which Netanyahu delivered [on June 14, 2009, at Bar-Ilan University] was a significant step forward [towards the only possible solution, that of two states for two peoples]. However, at the same time, Netanyahu put virtually insurmountable obstacles on the way to solution. The freeze [on settlement in the territories] was an important step, but it remained an isolated measure and no other steps were taken in its wake. Israel thought that it could just toss out an idea occasionally, once a year or so, and the next minute, forget all about it, while establishing facts on the ground.

The Palestinians, for their part, have not made any special effort to reach the negotiation table as they realized that, in any event, the world is on their side. “They are constantly receiving goodies,” as Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho likes to say. And why are they given goodies? Because the world has reached the conclusion that Israel does not really believe in the solution that it offers and that it is up to the international community to bring it into fruition.

It has long since been realized by the world that a Palestinian state is incompatible with [Israeli] settlements [in the territories] and irreconcilable with a ruling [Israeli] party that is dominated by the settlers [and their staunch advocates]. What’s more, a Palestinian state cannot be established on lands appropriated for creating territorial contiguity between Jerusalem and the [Israeli West Bank city of] Ma'ale Adumim by setting up a new neighborhood on the vast E1 area or for constructing thousands of additional housing units across the Green Line – all approved by the Israeli government.

Netanyahu, who drummed up international support for the campaign against Iran, has at one and the same time brought Israel to a position similar to that of Iran in the international community, and we [Israelis] may yet find in Iran a fellow sufferer.

The international community, which granted the Palestinians a week ago [Nov. 29] the status of a (non-member) observer state in the UN General Assembly, is turning away from Israel as if from the plague. And it isn’t the Third World countries that we are talking about here, but rather the major allies of the State of Israel, which are its moral and diplomatic pillars of support.

The United States has condemned us [Israel] twice. France has implicitly warned that it may use sanctions against us. Britain, Spain and Denmark have called the [respective] Israeli ambassadors for clarification talks and are considering [the unprecedented step of] recalling their ambassadors to Israel.

So, is there still any country left on our side?

Nevertheless, Netanyahu doggedly insists on his own way. He is passing resolutions, taking punitive measures against the Palestinians, reprimanding the world. He is looking down on them all as if he were on top of the world. And, after all, he is indeed at the peak — the peak of Masada

Found in: srael, international opinion, two state solution, suicide, settlers, pa, one state solution, netanyahu, masada fortress, isolation, diplomacy, benjamin netanyahu, bar ilan speech, arrogance

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