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IN NETANYAHU’S WAKE

Binyamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu: How about taking your own advice? If an Iranian A-bomb is the greatest threat to Israel and the world, why do you repeatedly take your eye off the ball by building new housing units in a controversial area of Jerusalem? Granted the original decision was taken two years ago and has only now been approved by the Jerusalem municipality, but you could have blocked it. Or at the very least, announced that you oppose such a tendentious decision at a time you are rallying US and international support for maintaining the sanctions on Tehran. 

...there is a consensus that President Obama has screwed up his regional priorities and that his leadership never seems to match his rhetoric. You have left yourself open to similar rebuke.

 You condemned Peace Now, which got wind of the decision and publicized it just two hours before your meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House; but you yourself are to blame. As you can see from the sharp condemnation from the White House and State Department, your explanation does not hold water. What's more, will it promote your new strategy to develop closer ties with the Sunni Arab states that also fear ISIL and a nuclear Iran? In Israel and most of the Middle East, there is a consensus that President Obama has screwed up his regional priorities and that his leadership never seems to match his rhetoric. You have left yourself open to similar rebuke. In this latest unnecessary fracas with Obama, you may have gained points with Right-wingers back home, but it comes at the expense of the national interest. What a pity after you delivered a great speech in the UN General Assembly, and your levelheaded conduct of the conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

 

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

 It appears that America's harsh criticism of Israel was not reflected in the actual meeting between Obama and Netanyahu - an Israeli spokesman said the two leaders had a 'good, deep discussion on Iran, ISIL, and the Palestinian issue. Although Netanyahu ignored any reference to the 'two-state solution' in his UN speech, the Israeli leader told Obama publicly he was still committed to it. The fact is that after the Abbas 'genocide' diatribe against Israel in his UN address, the feeling in Israel was that the Palestinian leader had burnt his bridges on diplomacy and was heading for an imposed agreement in the UN Security Council. Indeed, Abbas is calling on the Council to pass a resolution for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2016. But Obama, who may have nudged the Israeli PM to pay his respects to the two-state option, apparently does not view it as a dead horse. If so, America will likely inform Abbas that it will cast its veto against any one-sided gambit at the UN.

 

Hamas [committed war crimes]...Abbas himself would also bear responsibility, because he is head of a national unity government with Hamas!

 The Palestinian President has also been warning he will try and bring Israel before the International Court of Justice for 'war crimes' in the recent conflagration. However, this is a two-edged sword. Professor Robbie Sabel of the Hebrew University views this as an empty threat. First of all, the IDF did not commit any war crimes, but Hamas definitely did by rocketing Israeli civilians while using their own people as human shields. In fact, Abbas himself would also bear responsibility, because he is head of a national unity government with Hamas!

 

 Livni lashes out...

 

 In the cabinet, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni lashed out at the new housing decision by laying responsibility at the door of Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party, which spearheads the building. In this case, Livni appeared to be using Bennett as a stalking horse for her real target - the Prime Minister:

 

'Whoever wishes to safeguard Jerusalem and the settlement blocs in a future agreement must proceed with political prudence and refrain from steps that may erode international support for Israel'.

 'The Jewish Home party is jeopardizing the Zionist project and sabotaging a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whoever objects to the two-state solution worries me more than “Peace Now” publicizing Israeli building in the territories. Whoever wishes to safeguard Jerusalem and the settlement blocs in a future agreement must proceed with political prudence and refrain from steps that may erode international support for Israel'.

 

 Interviewed on Israel Radio, Livni added that Israel should abstain from construction beyond the old Green line in Jerusalem. In her Kadima party, Knesset Member Amram Mitzna has been urging Livni to bolt the coalition government. However, Livni has informed Mitzna she has not lost hope that Kadima can influence the government, and will stay put in the cabinet. But when all is said and done, the Israeli-Palestinian track also abhors a vacuum - Egypt is due to start hammering out the guidelines for the reconstruction of Gaza with Israel and Hamas after the Jewish and Muslim holidays. And still hanging fire is the upcoming deadline of November 24th for a new nuclear deal between the 5P+1 and Iran. By then the squabbling over 2,600 housing units in Jerusalem will have paled into insignificance.

 

 A Kurdish pogrom in Syria…

 

PKK supporters in London, April 2003. (Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution)

 But something more pressing is the current ISIL onslaught on the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria, which is in danger of being overrun by ISIL forces. For over two weeks, the Muslim barbarians have been tightening the noose around the town - some 150,000 Kurds have fled to neighboring Turkey, but another 30,000 people, including women and children, are still under siege. Abdullah Ocalan. The leader of the PKK-Kurdistan Workers Party, who is now imprisoned in Turkey, has issued an urgent appeal to prevent a massacre. Residents in Kobani have telephoned saying that US and coalition air strikes have not targeted the ISIL forces in the area. Perhaps it is time that Prime Minister Netanyahu also raised his voice on behalf of the Kurds, who could be facing a pogrom similar to the brutal attacks on helpless Jews in the past.

 

 



David Essing

 

 

 

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