For years, liberal American publications have been generally sympathetic to Israel, even when they are criticizing its governments’ policies. Now, in light of an unprecedented New York Times editorial, that attitude might be about to change.
The New York Times editorial board has realized, about a decade too late, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not care what the Obama administration — or any U.S. administration, for that matter — thinks about his policies regarding the Palestinians.
According to the editorial published Friday, October 7, headlined At the Boiling Point With Israel, the catalyst for this realization was Netanyahu’s decision to approve the building of a new settlement deep in the West Bank, only three weeks after the U.S. finalized a package of military aid for Israel to the tune of an unprecedented $38 billion, spread over 10 years. Israel receives more military aid than any other country, by far: Egypt, which receives $1.31 billion per year, is the second-largest recipient of direct military aid from the United States.
As noted in the editorial, the new settlement will be geographically located so that it is added to a string of existing Israeli housing projects that collectively nearly bifurcate the West Bank.
In response to Israel’s announcement the State Department and the White House released angry statements that referenced broken promises and castigated Israel for not behaving as friends should behave toward one another.
After 50 years of unfettered settlement growth and expansion — which was neither halted nor slowed even during the so-called Oslo Spring — the United States expressed unfiltered anger about Israel’s settlement project, even though it has been the policy of every U.S. administration, without exception, to oppose settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. The principle of a two-state solution is predicated on an Israeli military and civilian withdrawal from most of the West Bank. But Israel has never had to suffer any consequences for flouting international law or ignoring U.S. policy. And that is not going to change.
What has changed, very late in the game, is the attitude of the New York Times. Like most U.S. publications, it has for decades pulled its punches when it comes to Israel’s policy and actions. Not this time. “Mr. Netanyahu,” the editorial’s author notes bluntly, “Obviously doesn’t care what Washington thinks, so it will be up to Mr. Obama to preserve that option [the two-state solution] before he leaves office.”
In other words, the Times is suggesting that Obama instruct his...Read More