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.”

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s Slurs Against China
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail