by Caroline Glick
This week we discovered that we have been deceived. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's principled rejection of US President Barack Obama's bigoted demand that Israel bar Jews from building new homes and expanding existing ones in Judea and Samaria does not reflect his actual policy.
Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias let the cat out of the bag.
Attias said that the government has been barring Jews from building in the areas since it took office four months ago, in the hopes that by preemptively capitulating to US demands, the
And that's not all. Today Netanyahu is reportedly working in earnest to reach a deal with the Obama administration that would formalize the government's effective construction ban through 2010. Netanyahu is set to finalize such a deal at his meeting with Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell in
Unfortunately, far from treating
That deceptively named plan, which Obama has all but adopted as his own, involves
The day an Israeli government accepts the plan - which again will form the basis of the Obama "peace conference" - is the day that the State of Israel signs its own death warrant.
Then there is the other Obama plan in the works. Obama also intends to host an international summit on nuclear security in March 2010. Arab states are already pushing for
Together with Obama administration officials' calls for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - which would compel Israel to relinquish its purported nuclear arsenal - and their stated interest in having Israel sign the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty - which would arguably force Israel to allow international inspections of its nuclear facility in Dimona - Obama's planned nuclear conclave will place Israel in an untenable position.
Recognizing the Obama administration's inherent and unprecedented hostility to
Netanyahu's conditions - that the Arabs generally and the Palestinians specifically recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state; that they relinquish their demand that Israel accept millions of hostile Arabs as citizens under the so-called "right of return"; that the Palestinian state be a "demilitarized" state; and that Arab states normalize their relations with Israel were supposed to put a monkey wrench in Obama's policy of pressuring Israel.
Since it is obvious that the Arabs do not accept these eminently reasonable conditions, Netanyahu presumed that Obama would be forced to stand down.
What the prime minister failed to take into consideration was the notion that Obama and the Arabs would not act in good faith - that they would pretend to accept at least some of his demands in order to force him to accept all of their's, and so keep US pressure relentlessly focused on Israel.
Unfortunately, this is precisely what has happened.
Ahead of Obama's meeting on Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported that Obama has accepted Netanyahu's call for a demilitarized Palestinian state. Although Netanyahu is touting Obama's new position as evidence of his own diplomatic prowess, the fact is that Obama's new position is both disingenuous and meaningless.
Obama's supposed support for a demilitarized Palestinian state is mendacious on two counts. First, Palestinian society is already one of the most militarized societies in the world. According to the World Bank, 43 percent of wages paid by the Palestinian Authority go to Palestinian militias. Since Obama has never called for any fundamental reordering of Palestinian society or for a reform of the PA's budgetary priorities, it is obvious that he doesn't have a problem with a militarized Palestinian state.
The second reason his statements in support of a demilitarized Palestinian state are not credible is because one of the central pillars of the Obama administration's Palestinian policy is its involvement in training of the Fatah-led Palestinian army.
And that gets to the heart of the problem with Netanyahu's conditional support for Palestinian statehood. Far from deflecting pressure on
As we saw at the Fatah conclave in
Furthermore, even if Netanyahu is right to seek an agreement with Mitchell next week, he showed poor negotiating skill by preemptively freezing Jewish construction. Domestically, Netanyahu has lost credibility now that the public knows that he misled it. And by preemptively capitulating, the prime minister showed Obama that he is not a serious opponent. Why should Obama take Netanyahu's positions seriously if Netanyahu abandons before them before Obama even begins to seriously challenge him?
Beyond the damage Netanyahu's actions have inflicted on his domestic and international credibility is the damage they have caused to Netanyahu's ability to refocus
As the prime minister has repeatedly stated, the Palestinian issue is a side issue.
The greatest impediment to Middle East peace and the greatest threat to international security today is
Netanyahu had hoped that his conditional support for Palestinian statehood, and his current willingness to bar Jews from building homes in Judea and
In an interview with CNN, Oren said that
From this it appears that
It is possible that Oren purposely misrepresented
Some critics of Netanyahu from the Right like Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman claim that it may well be time to begin bringing down Netanyahu's government. They are wrong. We have been down this road before. In 1992, the Right brought down Yitzhak Shamir's government and brought the Rabin-Peres government to power and Yassir Arafat to the gates of
There is another way. It is being forged by the likes of Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon on the one hand and former
Ya'alon argues that not capitulating to American pressure is a viable policy option for
Ya'alon's argument was borne out by Huckabee's visit this week to
Netanyahu's policies have taken a wrong turn. But Netanyahu is not Tzipi Livni or Ehud Olmert. He is neither an ideologue nor an opportunist. He understands why what he is doing is wrong. He just needs to be convinced that he has another option.
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