Photo: Amos Gershom, GPO
The world has taken Netanyahu's comments on the eve of the elections seriously
Photo: Amos Gershom, GPO
Shimon Shiffer

Netanyahu's moment of truth has arrived

Op-ed: International community is waiting to hear how Israel's re-elected prime minister plans to secure Palestinians' right to self-determination; for Israel's sake, he should decide where we are headed before world imposes its own solution.

I did say, I didn't say, I didn’t mean it, what I said was that reality has changed – that's what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's explanations and arguments sound like in the interviews he has given the US media, on the backdrop of the American administration's criticism following the declarations he made a moment before the poll closed in Israel.



After winning 30 Knesset seats in the elections, Netanyahu must now deal with the world's leaders, who took the things he said seriously, especially on the last days of the election campaign in which he basically "siphoned" the other right-wing parties' seats.


The prime minister promised that a Palestinian state would not be established alongside the State of Israel during his term. He further stated that the declaration he made six years ago at Bar-Ilan University, that he would pursue an agreement with the Palestinians which would be based on the establishment of a Palestinian state, was no longer valid. And when he thought he might be about to lose the battle to secure his place in the prime minister's official residence on Jerusalem's Balfour Street, he issued a declaration that the Arabs were moving in droves to the polling station and that left-wing NGOs were bringing them there on buses in a bid to topple him.


The Arabs are on the fences – that's the way wanted the voters to understand his warning. There is no other way to define this alarming statement against Israeli citizens, who were practicing their full right to fulfill their civil duty.


The world, as I said, took the prime minister's comments seriously. The decision makers in the American administration, so naïve, issued an immediate condemnation, which was followed by similar statements from the world's capitals. The Obama administration announced that in light of Netanyahu's statements, it would reassess the American foreign policy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.


Netanyahu with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 'Netanyahu should have declared that he would reassess his perceptions on the Palestinian issue – if not a state, then something else' (Archive photo: AP)
Netanyahu with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 'Netanyahu should have declared that he would reassess his perceptions on the Palestinian issue – if not a state, then something else' (Archive photo: AP)


And now to what happened over here: The right-wing parties won the elections and we are expected to see the establishment of a new Netanyahu-led government. In his fourth term, the prime minister is receiving the steering wheel to make a change in any direction he wants in terms of the Palestinian issue.


If Netanyahu had really and truly acknowledged the election results, he should have issued a declaration that he would reassess his perceptions on the Palestinian issue – if not a state, then something else. But running from one media outlet to another in a bid to retract the declarations he made on the eve of the elections is reckless and unreliable.


One of my friends, who lives in an old settlement, has gotten into the habit of calling me every time reports and "revelations" are published about Netanyahu's willingness to withdraw from a certain area or another in Judea and Samaria. And I always say to him: Don't worry, Netanyahu has no intention of withdrawing or giving away even a fraction of those lands to the Palestinians.


Netanyahu still has no intention of initiating any compromise with the Palestinians. The only thing that has changed, as far as he is concerned, is the explanation of the refusal to reach an agreement. Now he is arguing that reality has changed.


Unfortunately, reality hasn't changed. About four million Palestinians in the territories which have been controlled by Israel since 1967 will not agree to live forever under an Israeli regime without full rights. Israel's Arabs, by the way, are expecting full rights too, even if they are required to perform full duties.


The story of our proximity to the Palestinians has nothing to do with the Islamic State pr radical Israel. The world will not tolerate forever an independent state, with a strong lobby in America and which expects to be treated as an enlightened state that wants to be a full member of the enlightened world, continuing to do as it pleases.


Mr. Prime Minister, the international community is waiting to hear how you plan to promise millions of Palestinians their rights to self-determination. In any event, for our sake, you should decide where Israel is headed to before the world imposes its solution on us. The moment of truth has arrived.


פרסום ראשון: 03.22.15, 11:50
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