FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Netanyahu is Running Out of Excuses

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.

More articles by:

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.”

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail