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:
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail