Photos: MCT, EPA
Netanyahu and Kerry
Photos: MCT, EPA
Ben-Dror Yemini
Blocking peace
Op-ed: Both Kerry's speech this week and the UN Security Council resolution last week enabled Palestinian intransigence. But Netanyahu's response to the resolution causes just as much damage—by undermining Israel's relations with important countries and doing BDS's work for them.
The Palestinians have been presented with three proposals to establish a Palestinian state on 95 percent—more or less—of the land Israel currently controls. They said 'no' three times.



To understand the Palestinian logic, one must listen to the comments made, for example, by Abbas Zaki, one of the PLO's senior officials, about five years ago: "When we say that the settlement should be based upon (the 1967) borders, President (Abbas) understands, we understand, and everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go ... If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers, and dismantles the wall – what will become of Israel? It will come to an end ... Netanyahu, Lieberman, and Obama ... All those scumbags ... If one says that one wants to wipe Israel out... C'mon, it's too difficult. It's not (acceptable) policy to say so. Don't say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself."


Zaki didn't keep this strategy to himself. He presented it in an interview with Al-Jazeera. It may not be the position of the entire leadership at the Palestinian Authority, but he's obviously representing a lot more than we think.


US Secretary of State Kerry speaking at the State Department (Photo: EPA)
US Secretary of State Kerry speaking at the State Department (Photo: EPA)

John Kerry's speech this week included no mention of the Palestinian intransigence. Not even a word. To those who aren't familiar with the history of the negotiations from the Oslo Accord to this very day, it must seem like a commendable speech. Kerry knows how to get the message across. He's in favor of peace and in favor of a Jewish state. He's against the settlements, which were mentioned in his speech more than anything else. His speech explained that therein lies the rub, and no other issue is as grave.


This was also his explanation for the UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Except that there is a difference. In his speech, Kerry spoke about land swaps. The Security Council's version was entirely different. It was a resolution calling to return to the 1967 lines. The Obama administration has given it its stamp of approval. It was a shot of encouragement to the peace refusniks on the Palestinian side.


The cheers coming from the Palestinian camp following the vote at the UN Security Council were the result of the success of the strategy Abbas Zaki was talking about. The demand to return to the 1967 lines—without any compromises, without Israel keeping its settlement blocs—has turned into a tool used against the very existence of Israel.


Kerry's farewell speech on Israeli-Palestinian conflict    (רויטרס)

Kerry's farewell speech on Israeli-Palestinian conflict


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One must admit, though, that here and there, different voices were heard. There are moderate Palestinians. There was willingness, like the Geneva Initiative, to reach a compromise based on two states for two peoples, while including the settlement blocs in Israeli territory.


But it appears the "Eradicate Israel" camp has the upper hand. And that's exactly what Kerry's problem is: he's following the action pattern of the world's "forces of progress." These "forces of progress" absolve the Palestinians of any responsibility. The Palestinian incitement was hardly mentioned. Their intransigence doesn't exist. Kerry's speech was a biased, lacking in any integrity and one-sided indictment against Israel and only Israel.


The Palestinians' move at the UN was not meant to promote any kind of peace agreement. It was meant to block one. Just like the Palestinians' appeals to parliaments and governments around the world to gain recognition for a Palestinian state. A slew of useful idiots, led by Israeli diplomat Alon Liel, became the main instrument of their strategy. Liel and his ilk joined the struggle to convince parliaments around the world to accept the Palestinian demand. After all, these useful idiots don't require anything of the Palestinians: Not letting go of the "right of return" fantasy nor stopping the incitement against Israel.


The document that was leaked to an Egyptian newspaper this week is reminiscent of a fateful meeting that took place in the White House on March 17, 2014. During that meeting, President Obama presented Mahmoud Abbas with Kerry's second peace framework, which is similar to the one Kerry himself presented in his speech this week. The Palestinian team rejected the framework and negotiator Saeb Erekat was rewarded with a juicy curse word from National Security Advisor Susan Rice.


Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: AFP)


The Americans should have realized back then who they were dealing with. But that didn't happen. Unlike Bill Clinton, who pointed to Yasser Arafat as the one who thwarted his generous proposal, Obama and Kerry chose the opposite direction. Abbas told them no, but they never said a word about it. Silence. Complete silence. Deceit. Even an editorial in the Washington Post—which is not exactly a conservative newspaper—accused Obama this week, using harsh words, of serial failure.


All of this still doesn't justify Netanyahu's retaliation. When the prime minister of Israel cancels a visit by the prime minister of Ukraine, a meeting with the British prime minister, and cooperation with African nations, there is no other option but to say that he has gone off the rails. After all, Theresa May has recently delivered one of the more important pro-Israel speeches. But his response to May is rather similar to his response to journalist Ilana Dayan. This isn't how a prime minister responds. This isn't national pride. It's megalomania. And mostly, what the BDS couldn't even dream of doing to Israel—Netanyahu is doing. Netanyahu didn't climb up such a high tree even during his campaign against the Iran deal.


Prime Minister Netanyahu (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Prime Minister Netanyahu (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


It appears that throughout almost the entire affair, his position was just. He had excellent reasons to come out against the president of the United States, who turned Iran into a regional superpower that cultivates violence and terrorism. And there is no doubt that the nuclear deal is ten times worse than the UN Security Council's resolution about the settlements. And it is precisely because of this that Netanyahu's response raises questions. What's going on with him? For years now that Israel's enemies have been trying to undermine its relations with important nations. And now Netanyahu, he and no other, has decided to do their work for them.


The Zionist Union and Yesh Atid released harsh statements against the UN Security Council resolution. On the other side was the camp of Zehava Galon, Ahmad Tibi, the useful idiots, B'Tselem and Haaretz, who encouraged the resolution and welcomed it. So the division on this issue is not between the Right and the Left. It's between the radical Left and everyone else—the Zionist Left, the center and the Right. But for the post-truth Netanyahu, the picture is entirely different. In his mind, anyone who questions his response belongs to the radical Left that seeks to harm Israel.


On January 20, Netanyahu's close associates say, everything is going to change. A new president and a new administration in the US. What a delusion. Is Trump going to change Ukraine or Britain's positions? Can the State Department tell the campuses in America what to do? Is this what's going to stop the campaign of hate against Israel? Of course not. And more importantly: Not everyone out there hates Israel. Far from it. Obama and Kerry enabled Palestinian intransigence. Netanyahu is enabling Israel's haters.


It was a bad week for anyone who still hopes that one day, we'll have a peace agreement. It was a week of deceit and radicalization. Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu are this week's heroes. Or rather, its anti-heroes


פרסום ראשון: 12.31.16, 23:52
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