Analysis News

Israel is reneging on its promise to release Palestinian prisoners

That’s the long and short of this latest ‘crisis’ in the peace talks.

This couldn’t be more black-and white, more writ in bold, if Israel set off fireworks in the night sky that spelled out: “WE LIED.” Netanyahu and his government – including, very forthrightly, house “peacenik” Tzipi Livni – are reneging on their promise to free 26 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners on Friday.

The numbers, the names, the date of release were all agreed on between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas and overseen by Secretary of State Kerry when the current peace talks, such as they are, began last July. The Israeli cabinet approved the prisoner agreement on July 28 by a vote of 13 to 7 with two abstentions. But now Netanyahu and Co. are  saying they won’t free the prisoners – all in jail on murder charges since before the 1993 Oslo Accord – unless Abbas agrees to go on with the talks beyond their April 29 time limit, and to again set aside his plans to pursue statehood via international avenues such as The Hague.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech to released Palestinian prisoners, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 14. (Activestills.org)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech to released Palestinian prisoners, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 14. (Activestills.org)

“[T]he keys to the prison doors are in the hands of Abu Mazen and the decisions he will take in the coming days,” Livni warned last week. Israel’s co-negotiator at the peace talks insisted that the government never made an “automatic commitment to release prisoners unrelated to making progress in negotiations.”

She’s lying. There are no conditions, no caveats in the deal. Abbas did not agree to make what Israel would consider “progress” in return for the prisoners’ release; he simply agreed not to go to the UN or make any other unilateral moves for the nine-month duration of the talks, and in return Israel agreed to release the 104 prisoners in four groups at the appointed times. (Israel freed the first 78 prisoners as promised; the 26 who were slated to be released Friday are the last on the list.)

It’s comic how ministers in the government are trying to weasel their way out of...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israel’s ‘war between wars’ backfires

A self-fulfilling prophecy is playing out in the north.

After nearly eight years of quiet, Israel’s northern border got stormy over the past week. The culmination of the tit-for-tat violence was a bomb placed on the border with Syria that wounded four Israeli soldiers, one seriously, which was followed by an Israeli air strike on a Syrian military base that killed a soldier and wounded others. Amos Harel, Haaretz’s military affairs correspondent, wrote the following:

The fear is that the escalation will continue, whether by design or miscalculation, and Israel will end up with soldiers fighting in Lebanon and Syria while rockets are falling on its civilians.

And what set off this first serious, sustained clash between Israel and its enemies to the north in nearly eight years? Everyone agrees: Israel’s lethal February 25 attack on a convoy carrying advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah. Not only the relatively dovish Harel, but Yedioth Ahronoth’s hawkish military affairs commentator Alex Fishman acknowledges that:

That Israeli air strike followed at least six others last year, some of them fatal, on sophisticated weapons in Syria that were evidently meant for Hezbollah. There were no retaliations after any of those attacks, so Israel kept going until Syria and Hezbollah finally hit back this past week, and now everyone’s worried.

But nobody here is suggesting that Israel shouldn’t have attacked those weapons sites and killed those Syrians and Hezbollah members in the first place. Nobody here is saying Israel brought this on itself, that it provoked the new fighting by dropping bombs on other people’s countries and killing other people’s soldiers when those countries weren’t attacking Israel. And nobody here is saying, God forbid, that the blood of those four wounded Israeli soldiers is ultimately on Israel’s hands.

People in this country don’t say that sort of thing anymore. They did once, during the Lebanon War in the early 80s, and during the First Intifada in the late 80s, but no more. Now Israelis think it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do, the Arabs are always going to try to kill us, so let’s just bash them up as much as we can to weaken them for the next round, which is inevitable. If they don’t hit us back, good for us; if they do, it was going to happen sooner or later anyway. So we have no choice...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

It's the occupation and Israeli bigotry that are anti-Semitic

What we do to the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs – in the last two days, for example – has caused more damage to the Jewish people than anything since the Holocaust.

Who knows? Maybe the Jordanian judge, Raed Zueter, killed by Israeli soldiers Monday, went mad from grief over his critically ill 5-year-old son lying in a coma, and really did attack the troops, and maybe they truly had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Or maybe there was no such attack, maybe there was just an argument and the soldiers got a little trigger happy, not for the first time. Reportedly, there are eyewitness accounts for both versions of what happened at the Allenby (or King Hussein) Bridge border crossing from Jordan into the West Bank yesterday.

And maybe Sael Saji Darwish, the 20-year-old Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers the same day, really was throwing rocks at passing Israeli cars near the settlement of Beit El, which was built close to Ramallah. Or maybe he was just tending his goats; again; there are contradicting accounts.

But even if the soldiers at the border crossing fired at the judge in self-defense – a possibility, but by no means a certainty – why are Israeli soldiers controlling who comes into the West Bank from Jordan? Are Palestinians controlling who comes into Israel?

The funeral of Saji Sayel Darwish, killed yesterday by the Israeli army forces, March 11, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The funeral of Saji Sayel Darwish, killed yesterday by the Israeli army forces, March 11, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

And even if the young Darwish was throwing rocks at Israeli cars, was it necessary to kill him? And why was he throwing rocks at Israeli cars? If Palestinians had gobbled up the land around Tel Aviv, Haifa and every other Israeli city for Palestinian settlements, and if a Palestinian army and Shit Bet were controlling the lives of Israeli Jews for a half-century, would Israeli Jews throw rocks at passing Palestinian cars?

Today, Tuesday, the Knesset enacted a new law sponsored by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and whose overriding purpose is to keep Israeli Arabs, who are 20 percent of the population, out of the Knesset.

We usurp Palestinian land, we rule their lives at gunpoint, we...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Good news: Obama gives the Palestinians an insurance policy

The president’s high-profile interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it extremely hard for the administration to blame the Palestinians for the expected failure of Kerry’s peace initiative.  

U.S. President Barack Obama (Center for American Progress/CC)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Center for American Progress/CC)

Obama’s interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Sunday, in which he basically blamed Netanyahu and exonerated Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the intractability of the occupation, is a very important event, and very good news. With Netanyahu and Abbas jockeying to avoid the blame for the likely impending failure of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, the Obama interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it very hard for the administration to do Israel’s bidding, as is its habit, by pointing the finger at the Palestinians if and when the talks, whose allotted time runs out on April 29, run aground.

At stake in the blame game is momentum: if Washington finds against the Palestinians, Abbas’ plans to take Israel to The Hague would stall, as would the “mainstreaming” of the BDS movement. If Washington finds against Israel, the effect would be the opposite. And if Washington blames neither side, then the rest of the world will be left to decide for itself, and its decision will likely be for the Palestinians. In the probable event of the talks failing, Israel’s only hope of avoiding an upsurge of world opposition – which is what Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, along with top Israeli business people, friendly foreign diplomats, Kerry and now Obama are trying to warn Israel against – is if Washington clears Netanyahu of responsibility and turns its wrath on Abbas.

Click here for +972 Magazine’s full coverage of the diplomatic process

But how can Washington do that after what Obama just said in that interview:

On Abbas:

I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue.

I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The dark heart of Israel's regional military policy

When you believe your enemies hate you more than they love their children, as Golda Meir put it, there’s no real deterrence against them; you have to keep bombing.

Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off (photo: IDF Spokesperson

Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off (photo: IDF Spokesperson

Most people in the West, I’d say, think that if Israel gives up the occupation, it will be healed. It will no longer be a danger to others and itself. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and additional proof of this came Monday night when Israeli jet bombers again struck Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack was another reminder that even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank and adopt a hands-off policy toward Gaza, it still believes it has the right to bomb neighboring countries to retard their military development, all the while Israel itself, of course, goes on building its arsenal to the heavens.

That won’t change if Israel signs a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Hezbollah will still be arming itself across the border, Muslim countries will sooner or later try to build nuclear weapons. And Israel won’t tolerate that; Israel will keep sending out the jet bombers (unless, as in the case with Iran, America puts its foot down).

Israel’s regional military policy – bombing Iraq’s embryonic nuclear reactor (which marked not the end of Saddam’s nuclear program, but really its beginning), bombing Syria’s embryonic nuclear reactor, killing Iranian nuclear scientists, killing Hezbollah’s military chief, bombing Hamas-bound arms convoys in Sudan, and, the latest obsession, bombing Hezbollah-bound arms convoys along the Lebanese-Syrian border – is more dangerous, at least in the short term, than the occupation. Any of these attacks could start a war, and eventually one of them is likely to do just that, unless you believe that Israel can go on hitting its neighbors indefinitely without them ever hitting back. (Since the 2006 war in Lebanon, the blowback has been limited to a Hezbollah terror attack that killed five Israelis on a tourist bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, and an Iranian attack on the Israeli embassy in New Delhi that injured the wife of a diplomat.)

Another way in which Israel’s regional military policy is a worse problem than the occupation is the complete acceptance of it by the country’s Jewish majority, and the apathy...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Beware, J Street: The Kerry deal looks rigged against the Palestinians

Well-intentioned American Jewish liberals backing this latest U.S.-led peace process appear to be riding for a fall.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

What is J Street going to say if, after urging American Jews to support the Kerry peace mission, that mission wins the support of the right-wing Netanyahu government – but not that of the Palestinians, who view it as the terms of their surrender? And what will J Street say if Western liberal opinion, and even much of Israeli liberal opinion, decides that the Palestinians are right?

This is a question that J Street and all American Jewish liberals supporting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts should ask themselves now, because all indications are that within a few weeks, Kerry is going to present a “framework agreement” for a peace treaty that the Israeli government would be crazy to reject and the Palestinian Authority crazy to accept.

Last week, Israel’s Channel 10 news ran a report saying “the emerging framework document is so unthreatening even to Israeli hardliners that it is unlikely to prompt any kind of coalition crisis.” At the same time, the report, citing sources close to the negotiations, said “Kerry would now face an even greater challenge to persuade the Palestinians to accept it.”

To anybody who’s been following the news of the peace talks, the story made perfect sense. Kerry reportedly has given in to Netanyahu’s demands to the point that the framework agreement is shaping up to be not only more “pro-Israel” than the 2001 Clinton parameters, but even more so than Ehud Barak’s offer to the Palestinians at the 2001 Taba talks or Ehud Olmert’s at the 2008 Annapolis talks.

Read +972′s full coverage of the peace process

There has been nothing but expressions of demoralization coming from the Palestinian side. Even one...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The boycott isn't economic warfare, it's psychological

It does not have to bring the Israeli economy to its knees, or even close, to force an end to the occupation.

Stock photo boycott activists in France. (Photo by Olga Besnard/Shutterstock.com)

Stock photo boycott activists in France. (Photo by Olga Besnard / Shutterstock.com)

Now that it’s a very common, almost consensus view that Israel faces isolation and serious economic pain if it does not end the occupation, the skeptics are weighing in. They’re saying that the BDS movement, academic boycott and Europe’s anti-settlement policy toward Israeli businesses, even though they are intensifying, have hardly made a dent in this country’s material quality of life. (Here, here, here and here.) Deals are still being made, rock stars are still coming to perform, Israel’s economy is still outdoing most of those in the West. As for the future, such commentators, who are by no means all from the right, are saying that even if the number of boycotters grows, they will still amount to drops in the bucket, and Israel’s economic and political power will thwart any attempt to pressure the country’s leaders into changing course.

I think they miss the point. It’s true that the Israeli economy as a whole is hardly feeling the boycott (though a fast-growing number of companies are), and it’s unimaginable that the economic and political isolation of Israel will ever approach that of apartheid-era South Africa (for lots of reasons, including Israel’s exalted standing in the U.S.). But it doesn’t have to approach what happened in South Africa. The boycott doesn’t have to bring the Israeli economy to its knees, or anything close, for the Israeli body politic – the public, the opinion-makers and the decision-makers – to decide to end the occupation. All the boycott has to do is keep growing, drop by drop – yes, like Chinese water torture – for it to succeed. Because finally, the boycott is not an economic war against Israel, it’s a psychological war, and even the skeptics would agree that it’s already had a deep, damaging effect on this country’s will to continue fighting for the West Bank and Gaza.

The experience of the last nine months, starting with Stephen Hawking’s no-show in Jerusalem for the Presidential Conference – which brought the boycott movement into the mainstream,...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The cynical use of Palestinian workers in the SodaStream controversy

As a rule, Palestinians working for Israelis in the West Bank hate the settlements and the occupation. But they have to feed their families, so they swallow their pride.

Palestinians workers walk in the early morning next to the Wall and an Israeli military tower to cross the Eyal Israeli military checkpoint, November 2011 (photo: Activestills)

Palestinians workers walk in the early morning next to the Wall and an Israeli military tower to cross the Eyal Israeli military checkpoint, November 2011 (photo: Activestills)

Supporters of the occupation have found a new set of spokesmen: the Palestinian workers at the West Bank factory owned by the Israeli company SodaStream, of BDS and Scarlett Johansson fame. Reporters from The Christian Science Monitor, The Telegraph and other media outlets talked to some of the 500 Palestinians employed at the Mishor Adumim plant, and quoted them saying they were against the boycott. It was threatening their livelihood. They would have a hard time finding a job at a Palestinian-owned company and no chance at all of finding one that paid as well as SodaStream, which, they said, treated them fairly.

“Palestinian workers back Scarlett Johansson’s opposition to SodaStream boycott,” read The Monitor’s headline. “’We need 1,000 SodaStreams around here,’” read The Telegraph’s, taken from a quote by a Palestinian contractor at the plant.

These were news stories in highly reputable media, their treatment of the issue was balanced, the quotes from the Palestinians – many taken while they were outside the plant – seemed credible. To people who don’t understand the occupation (and they include even intelligent, informed, liberal-minded folks like Johansson), this is very persuasive testimony. And so the hasbaratists have jumped on it. Honest Reporting, one of the most successful of the many pro-Israel, anti-Arab “media watchdogs,” stamped the Palestinians’ accounts all over its website in posts such as “Fighting BDS – SodaStream Workers Speak Out” and “SodaStream shows that BDS is the real obstacle to peace,”

Butter wouldn’t melt in these propagandists’ mouths. To understate things, it is rather cynical using those Palestinian workers as a weapon against the boycott and, by extension, on behalf of the settlements and occupation. Cynical because those Palestinians don’t support the settlements or occupation in the slightest. Some put the issue out of their minds, some are reluctant to...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

No, Abe Foxman, America is not out to get the Jews

The U.S. Jewish establishment is starting to say publicly that anti-Semitism is the reason Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. This is sickening slander that reflects a deep-seated psychological problem.  

ADL Director Abraham Foxman (justinhoch/CC BY 2.0)

ADL Director Abraham Foxman (justinhoch/CC BY 2.0)

Abraham Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, capo di tutti capi of the Israel lobby, scourge of all scourges of anti-Semitism (real or imagined), the U.S. Jewish establishment’s chief of language police, the J. Edgar Hoover of American Jewish macherdom, has flipped out completely this time. Earlier this month he said publicly that Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration for spying, now going on 29 years, is a “vendetta” against the entire American Jewish community. From Foxman’s statement on the ADL website:

Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.

In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.

In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.

Foxman wrote the above in response to an editorial by the online Tablet magazine, the highest-quality Jewish publication in the United States and a fairly pluralistic one politically. Which is all the more weird, because Tablet’s editorial, written in response to a New York Times op-ed arguing that Pollard was getting what he deserved, was much crazier even than Foxman’s response to it. Tablet:

Pollard’s continued incarceration appears, at this point in time, to be intended as a statement that dual loyalty on the part of American Jews is a real...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Settler violence: It comes with the territory

Unlike any other aspect of the occupation, settler violence is something nobody outside the radical fringe in Israel will defend. This, alone, they’ll denounce. And yet, nobody — in Israel or internationally — has found the political will to put a stop to the decades-long phenomenon, even when the victims are U.S. citizens.

By Larry Derfner
Photos by Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor and Activestills.org

The burned door of the Khalil family home, months after settlers set it on fire while seven family members slept inside. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Kamal Shaban, a farmer in the West Bank village of Sinjil, is watching workmen repair a local family’s house that had recently been firebombed by settlers in the middle of the night, forcing the parents and five children asleep inside to flee to the rooftop. As for himself, Shaban tells me that during the autumn olive harvests, settlers have stoned the laborers in his fields, turned over a tractor, stolen sacks of olives and once broke a worker’s arm with a big rock – all under the eye of Israeli soldiers required by the Supreme Court to protect the farmers.

He asks: “Why do the United States, the European Union and the United Nations call Hamas terrorists and Hezbollah terrorists, but they don’t call these people terrorists?”

The phenomenon of settler violence against Palestinians, which is as old and as vibrant as the settlements themselves, tells you everything you need to know about how serious Israel is about ending its rule over a foreign people. It also tells you everything you need to know about how serious the world is about forcing Israel to end it.

Settler violence, lately characterized mainly by masked young men roaming the West Bank and attacking Palestinian farmers with stones, clubs or rifles and burning their olive groves, their fields, and occasionally their schools, mosques and homes, is a unique feature of the occupation. Unlike every other aspect of it – the conquest of another people’s homeland by military force and land theft, the brutality, the house demolitions and expulsions, the whole system of officially sanctioned subjugation – settler violence is something nobody outside the radical fringe in Israel will...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The writing on the wall: Boycott is top story in Israel's No. 1 paper

Following Channel 2 News’ remarkable Saturday night prime-time feature on the boycott of Israel, ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’ delivers same warning in big, bold letters on Monday’s front page.

Front page of ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’, January 20, 2014

“100 leaders of the economy warn of boycott on Israel,” reads the lead headline in Monday’s Yedioth Ahronoth. The sub-headline includes the quote, “The world is losing its patience and the threat of sanctions is increasing. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” The commentary next to it by star columnist Sever Plocker is titled, “It’s the economy, Bibi.”

Yedioth is almost as popular and influential an Israeli newspaper as Channel 2 is an Israeli TV news show. Between Channel 2’s Saturday night prime time wake-up call about the boycott and now this one, it’s likely that the Israeli public is beginning the process of waking up. The Israeli government – probably not so much. Which means the boycott will continue to grow, until some Israeli government in the indeterminate future is awakened by it, too.

The Yedioth story reports that some members of “Breaking the Impasse,” a recently formed group including the biggest names in Israeli and Palestinian business, took their warning to Netanyahu a week ago in a meeting ahead of Wednesday’s World Economic Forum in Davos. “Israel must reach a diplomatic solution – urgently,” a statement from the business leaders said. The group, led by Israeli high-tech partriarch Yossi Vardi and Munib al-Masri, long-time titan of the Palestinian economy, are to meet in Davos after the four-day conference to plan their next moves.

The stagnation in the peace process, which began with the Second Intifada in September 2000, couldn’t last forever. It appears to be stirring now, thanks to one thing: the spread of the boycott from protesters to professors to European governments, a dynamic that has come in response to that stagnation. And I expect the boycott movement to go through a major growth spurt very soon. The nine-month allotment for the Israeli-Palestinian talks runs out on April 29; my guess is that John Kerry is now looking for a way to cut his losses. Everyone understands that when Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was quoted last week in Yedioth  trashing Kerry and his peace mission, he was just echoing Netanyahu’s views.

No...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Boycott goes prime-time in Israel

The country’s number-one news show runs lengthy piece on the growing movement – and blames it not on anti-Semitism or Israel-bashing, but on settlements.

Stock photo boycott activists in France. (Photo: Olga Besnard / Shutterstock.com)

On Saturday night the boycott of Israel gained an impressive new level of mainstream recognition in this country. Channel 2 News, easily the most watched, most influential news show here, ran a heavily-promoted, 16-minute piece on the boycott in its 8 p.m. prime-time program. The piece was remarkable not only for its length and prominence, but even more so because it did not demonize the boycott movement, it didn’t blame the boycott on anti-Semitism or Israel-bashing. Instead, top-drawer reporter Dana Weiss treated the boycott as an established, rapidly growing presence that sprang up because of Israel’s settlement policy and whose only remedy is that policy’s reversal.

In her narration, Weiss ridicules the settlers and the government’s head-in-the-sand reaction to the rising tide. The segment from the West Bank’s Barkan Industrial Park opens against a background of twangy guitar music like from a Western. “To the world it’s a black mark, a symbol of the occupation,” she reads. “But here they insist it’s actually a point of light in the area, an island of coexistence that continues to flourish despite efforts to erase it from the map.” A factory owner who moved his business to Barkan from the other side of the Green Line makes a fool of himself by saying, “If the state would only assist us by boycotting the Europeans and other countries causing us trouble …” The Barkan segment ends with the manager of Shamir Salads saying that between the European and Palestinian boycott, he’s losing about $115,000 to $143,000 a month in sales. “In my view,” he says, “it will spread from [the West Bank] to other places in Israel that have no connection to the territories.”

Weiss likewise ridicules Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who runs the government’s “hasbara war,” as he puts it. Weiss: “Yes, in the Foreign Ministry they are for the time being sticking to the old conception: it’s all a question of hasbara. This week the campaign’s new weapon, developed with the contributions of world Jewry: (Pause) Another hasbara agency, this time with the original name ‘Face To Israel.’” She quotes...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The Palestinians should thank Ya'alon

He’s dealt a blow to Israel’s prospects in the all-important blame game.  

By making Israel look like the rejectionist side in the peace process, and by doing so in a spectacularly galling way, Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s verbal attack on John Kerry has helped the cause of ending the occupation.

It’s no mystery that the overriding goal of both Israel and the Palestinians in Kerry’s peace talks has been to avoid getting blamed for their inevitable failure. Now, after Ya’alon dissed Kerry and his diplomatic baby so thoroughly and contemptuously – and, even more to the point, without getting a word of reprimand from Netanyahu – it will be tougher yet to cast the Palestinians as the guilty party and Israel as the innocent one when this peace charade finally ends. (The deadline is April 29.) It’ll be tougher, too, to say both sides are equally at fault. It will be easier to say the Netanyahu government, not Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, is the obstacle to peace.

And that’s good. That will put the wind at the PA’s back if, God willing, they go through with their threat to return to the UN as soon as the Kerry talks are finished to press their case for independence, including by taking Israel to The Hague over the occupation. It will push more conflicted liberals into the BDS camp. It will make it extremely unlikely that Kerry, Obama and the rest of the administration, after being trashed publicly like this, will mount a very spirited defense of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians when they come under international attack.

With his gruff, stereotypically military manner, his harsh rhetoric, his arrogance and his pro-settlement, anti-Arab politics, Ya’alon is a poster boy for the occupation. Just when the world was ready to forget the bad old Sharon, he’s been reincarnated.

Read more:
The problem is Netanyahu, not Ya’alon
Ya’alon’s jab at Kerry proves Israel isn’t in the peace-making business



View article: AAA
Share article
© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel