Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Netanyahu is Running Out of Excuses

by

The formation of a new unity government between Fatah and Hamas, although strongly resisted by the Israeli government leadership, may offer some hope for eventually leading to renewed peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s government. For Mr. Netanyahu to resist this union is a futile exercise that may contribute to Israel’s international isolation.

Netanyahu couldn’t hide his displeasure at the agreement between Fatah and Hamas. “Today, Abu Mazen [as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is called] said yes to terrorism and no to peace,” said Netanyahu. Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was even more aggressive saying, “The government of terrorists in suits established by Fatah and Hamas, the very same organization that in its charter has horrific sentences such as calling for ‘killing the Jews who are hiding behind trees and stones,’ is an illegitimate government.”

Although this statement is certainly indefensible, so are similar statements made by leading Israeli officials regarding the Palestinians. They are no reason, in themselves, to refuse to recognize the new Palestinian government or to maintain contact with it. Urging Israel ‘to go from defense to offense’ Bennett urged the annexation of settlement blocs in the West Bank.

The actions proposed by Bennett have been strongly condemned by important Israeli figures. “In the meantime, the number of settlements in the West Bank grew threefold and fourfold, and the brutality of the occupation increased to the point where soldiers now shoot demonstrators out of nothing but boredom,” wrote Gideon Levy, a leading Israeli journalist.

Although the US government is clearly concerned about the role of Hamas in the new government, State Department spokeswoman Jean Psaki said last Monday that although the US will work with the new government, it would also be “watching closely to ensure that it upholds principles that President Abbas reiterated today.”

Abbas said that the 17-member cabinet would comprise essentially technical officials who would strive to pursue peace, despite Hamas’s refusal to accept coexistence with Israel. He also acknowledged that previous division between the movements had derailed the Palestinians’ aims.

Netanyahu not only refused to recognize the new government but appealed to the international community not to recognize it. At the same time, the Israeli government refused travel permissions to three Gaza-based ministers to travel to the West Bank for the swearing-in ceremony.

There are still serious disagreements between the two Palestinian movements, such as how to join rival security forces in Gaza and the West Bank. However, President Abbas before presiding over the Cabinet’s first meeting stated, “This black page in our history has been turned forever and will never come back.”

Abbas has already made some important concessions to the Israeli government: it has pledged that the new administration will abide by the principles laid down by the Middle East Peace Quartet, it will recognize Israel’s right to exist and it will reject violence and abide by existing agreements. These conditions had been repeatedly rejected by Hamas in the past.

These pledges are not enough for Netanyahu, who has continued the illegal and widely condemned blockade of Gaza, which has resulted in shortages of food and basic medicines that have hurt children’s lives. With his characteristic double standard, Netanyahu said, “Enough of these tricks. If this new Palestinian government has regained sovereignty over Gaza, the first thing that Abbas should do is announce he is starting demilitarizing Gaza.”

It is not a view shared by all Israelis. Writing in Haaretz, Gideon Levy said, “The world cannot lend its hand to this. It is unacceptable, in the 21st century, for a state that purports to be a permanent member of the free world to keep another nation deprived of rights. It is unthinkable, simply unthinkable, for millions of Palestinians to continue to live in these conditions. It is unthinkable for a democratic state to continue to oppress them in this way. It is unthinkable that the world stands by and allows this to happen.”

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail