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The road to perdition

In the absence of any peace process, Netanyahu is testing the waters for a unilateral land grab

All of a sudden, as if the subject had not been in the public discourse for quite a long time, our Prime Minister has discovered that Israel may have to take unilateral steps in the area, ostensibly lacking a partner for any bilateral solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. One curious aspect of Netanyahu’s musings is the fact that Israel has been acting unilaterally ever since I can remember. We also keep assuring everyone, regardless of clear and unequivocal evidence to the contrary, that our unilateral actions do not, in any way, have a negative impact on our ability to make peace with the neighbors. So there is really nothing new here. But then again, Netanyahu may be speaking about a different kind of unilateral action.

The fact  that Netanyahu makes a point of bringing his own thoughts about unilateral action out into the open these days is the result of the vacuum that has been created by the abrogation of the peace talks with the Palestinians. All of sudden, after a year-long period of frequent visits by US Secretary of State John Kerry there is nothing. Just bad press. Netanyahu has probably realized that this is not a good thing and he is looking for something to fill the vacuum. Not to find a solution to the conflict, G-d forbid, not to restart the negotiations. Netanyahu doesn’t do negotiations. Negotiations are dangerous because they could lead to controversy. Netanyahu wants to do something that is in the consensus.

As always with Netanyahu, there is no vision, no clarity, no hope. There is just an opportunity for another way of muddling through, always sticking to the consensus. What Netanyahu does, and he acts like this repeatedly, is to test the waters by launching trial balloons:

Many Israelis are asking themselves if there are certainly unilateral steps that could theoretically make sense. But people also recognize that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza didn’t improve the situation or advance peace.

Hear oh People of Israel, your leader is thinking aloud.

And what’s next? Next might just be a unilateral step which sort of connects to the Prime Minister’s public reflections, but only sort of: Like an annexation, not a big one like area C but a small one, maybe Gush Etzion or Ma’aleh Adumim, something totally within the Israeli consensus. No surprise then that the US (remember the days they used to be our best buddies?) right away placed a (feeble) shot in front of the bow of the government:

We don’t think either side should do anything to complicate efforts right now to build the trust necessary to resume negotiations.

Obviously the US are, yet again, not on the same page as Netanyahu who is busy setting up the Jewish Nation State in Eretz Israel, the more territory he can slip in, the better. If Putin can get away with taking Crimea, we can easily grab Gush Etzion or Ma’aleh Adumim, or both. It’s our’s anyway and this is the time to do it. The Palestinians are on the ropes, Europe is dithering as always, the US are disengaging and we are cuddling up to India and China who couldn’t care less what we do to the Palestinians as long as they have access to our technology.

Let’s face the music, this government doesn’t want peace, doesn’t want negotiations and doesn’t want a Palestinian state. This government is marching full steam ahead towards the Jewish Nation State in as much of Eretz Israel as we can grab, at our convenience. At this time, there are no indications why we shouldn’t get away with it, none whatsoever. The only question is if those parties in the coalition who claim to favor a peace process will get cold feet before it happens and jump ship to force new elections. The people of Israel just might feel a little different about not giving a damn about the whole world. I certainly hope so.

About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is a member of the Council for Peace and Security and was a candidate in Labor’s 2012 primary election for the Knesset list