Even Ethan Bronner can see through the very poorly disguised diplomatic games of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Bronner, whose son is in the IDF, does not have a particularly strong history of objective reporting when it comes to Israel, yet his recent New York Times article reveals the true intentions behind Netanyahu’s recent offer to extend the settlement freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Bronner notes that the offer not only is attempt to push blame for failure on the Palestinians, but – perhaps more disturbing – was part of a trio of diplomatic moves by Israel that further endanger the peace process:
The offer, made in a speech at the opening of the fall session of Parliament, was aimed either at keeping talks with the Palestinians alive and his right-wing coalition partners in check, or at seeking to shift the burden of failure to the Palestinians and escape blame should the talks wither and die.
As part of a flurry of initiatives favored by Israel’s right that began Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu backed a measure that requires non-Jewish immigrants to take a loyalty oath to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state before they can become citizens. On Monday his government supported a bill that would require a national referendum before any territory could be yielded in a peace deal.
Shimon Shiffer reiterates these sentiments in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth:
Another thing that was implicit in Netanyahu’s speech yesterday in the Knesset was that he is going to do everything to torpedo the negotiations with the Palestinians at their current stage. There is no Palestinian leader who would ever agree to Israel’s demand before being told about the merchandise he is going to receive in return, the borders of the future Palestinian state.
One can assume that if Abu Mazen knew that Netanyahu was going to negotiate with him about a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, he would be able to persuade his colleagues to accept some statement or another. The agreements that Israel signed with Egypt and Jordan made no mention of those countries’ obligation to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. Hence, one can draw the simple conclusion that Netanyahu is searching for any possible trick to push the Palestinians into the position of being rejectionists, which most likely will isolate Israel, place it in a vortex of blame-laying by the international community and will cast it in the world as a racist country.
[tweetmeme] The world can easily see through Netanyahu’s thin cloud of diplomatic fog. If one thing has been confirmed over the last couple of weeks, it is that Netanyahu is doing everything he can to avoid peace. Moreover, it is likely that the Israeli Prime Minister’s only goal is to stave off US pressure until after the US November elections when American President Obama will be likely faced with a blindly pro-Israeli majority in Congress.
After Obama invested so much into success on the Palestinian front, Republicans would certainly not mind seeing peace crumble. Likewise, these same politicians who are aiming at Obama will hardly shed a tear if another opportunity to stop the Occupation is missed. Said another way, after November, it is highly unlikely that Congress will provide much help in pressuring Netanyahu towards peace.
It is not difficult to see what Netanyahu is doing. At this point, simply continuing negotiations with Israel is only moving an independent Palestinian state farther from reality while covering Palestinians with blame for the failure of talks.
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