Netanyahu and The Future: Israel and the Peace Process Will Make Little Progress

Well, Netanyahu has been elected for an historic fourth time. His path to the Prime Minister’ s office this time is strewn with damaged relationships (think US), international political stunts (speech before Congress), the race card (“the Arabs are voting in droves”), and desperate political appeals (“there will be no Palestinian state”). As much as I understand that he can be a charismatic leader, and Israelis obviously respect him, I also cannot shake the feeling that he is increasingly embarrassing. He has moved from being a strong and impressive leader to just another crude politician. But he also seems to have lost his political sophistication by failing to satisfactorily consider the negative consequences of his behavior. Let’s look at a few examples.

First, trying to scare Israelis about how many Arabs are voting was equated by the White House to the tactics of Southern racists who tried to scare the population about the black vote. Now there is a smart move if you’re dealing with the Obama administration. This is a president who is steeped in issues both professionally and personally related to minority rights. They were not going to be sympathetic to such talk.

Secondly, the statement about there being no Palestinian state, as a few observers have pointed out, undercuts the US argument in the United Nations. We have consistently supported Israel on the basis of bilateral negotiations; that is, the argument has been that solutions should emerge from discussions between the two sides. But if Israel is on record as opposing the future Palestinian state then why have the negotiations in the first place. Then again, Bibi does not want the UN to be involved in outlining a Palestinian state anyway.

There just is not going to be a Palestinian state on Netanyahu’s watch. Netanyahu is not going to be the leader of Israel who goes down in history as responsible for the establishment of the Palestinian state. And this is why Netanyahu is actually dangerous for Israel. No one can think about Israel in the future as an intact stable political system that is both democratic and Jewish without imagining a separate Palestinian state. Netanyahu has become a force leading increasingly in the direction of one state and all sorts of demographic difficulties.

I want to underscore the importance of a stable Palestinian Authority. Israel and the United States subcontract out security issues and border patrol to the Palestinian Authority and as they teeter things get more unstable. Even Israel would rather deal with the Palestinian Authority then some other more politicized and religiously fueled group (e.g. Hamas). So there are incentives to keep the Palestinian Authority stable even though this is distasteful to Netanyahu. Of course, there is the entire matter of settlements which I will not take up here but suffice it to say that Netanyahu’s predatory settlement expansion is a major sticking point.

Finally, there is the looming presidential campaign and US politics. Leaders of the Democratic Party have to find a way for Hillary to run to the right of Obama on Israel if she wants to guarantee the Jewish vote. Running to the right of Obama on Israel is not particularly difficult but it would be far easier for her to run if there is an actual UN resolution outlining final status parameters.

It is distressing that Israel continues to reelect the one person who is resistant to final status preparations. I just have the feeling that Bibi’s heart isn’t in it and he is trying to play both sides. What I mean by that is Netanyahu fundamentally rejects the idea of a Palestinian state, but must present himself as receptive to it. The US will maintain its deep commitment to Israel, but Bibi is not making it any easier.

Just for the fun of it if you want to hear Minister Farrakhan’s take on Israel and Netanyahu click here.












About Donald Ellis

Professor Emeritus at the University of Hartford.

Posted on March 21, 2015, in Communication and Conflict Resolution and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. There is no such thing as a “Palestinian”. There are random Arabs that live in a place that was once known as Palestine. Arguments about the “Palestinians” are invalid because they are based off a lie. There are 22 Arab countries. There is one Jewish state and it is the only democracy in the Middle East. The Arabs in Palestine showed no interest in forming a state until the Jews did. In fact it wasn’t until they attacked the Jews and lost that they showed any interest in a state. In fact to be honest they are still not interested in a state, they are interested in keeping their foot in the door until they can attack the Jews again. This talk about a Palestinian state is naive at best and anti-Semitic at worst. If we were to treat everyone the same then we would just leave the Jews alone when they make their “settlements”. All 22 Arab countries were gained through conquest and yet no one is talking about them giving back land. Perhaps Saudia Arabia should give Mecca back to the Jews since Muhammad slaughtered 600 of them there back in 627. Growing silly looking beards and hating Jews are enshrined in Islam. Netanyahu knows this and only pays lip service to the two state solution to appease the West. Apparently the west forgot about the hundreds of years of Jihad that lead to the crusades. Perhaps we just need to shut our mouths and stay out of it since we can’t remember what happened 5 minutes ago. I bet the Armenians haven’t forgotten.

%d bloggers like this: