Bibi is now saying that Israel has ‘no acceptable negotiating partner’ with which to continue the peace negotiations. This is despite having accepted Mahmood Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, as spokesman for the Palestinians for years. This is a tactic that was used way back in Arafat’s day as an excuse for delaying talks. It’s very clear that Bibi and his gang don’t want to talk peace, they’re too busy building illegal settlements in the ‘Occupied Territories’ (I refuse to call it the ‘West Bank’) – and they’re building them fast while everybody’s attention is elsewhere.
Meanwhile back in the US, AIPAC, America’s hugely powerful pro-Israel lobby, is busy telling Congressmen the same thing to ram home the lie. But there’s more to this tactic. The recently published ‘Palestinian Papers’ showed that in the recent negotiations, Abbas was prepared to go more than an extra mile to get a settlement. This got Bibi very worried indeed. He sabotaged the talks to avoid being painted into a corner and now he’s making sure they don’t start again – at least for a very long time.
Bibi’s argument now is that without Hamas – the elected, but not recognised authority in Gaza, there can be no peace. Yet he positively refuses to allow Hamas and Fatah to talk to each other.
The only conclusion to draw from this is that this Israeli government doesn’t want peace and it doesn’t want a Palestinian state – period. They are quite prepared to prevaricate and obfuscate for fifty years if need be, by which time they will have covered the whole of the Occupied Territories in illegal settlements. This is not only a very dangerous game, but is it also a massive misjudgement?
Right now Israel is losing friends fast. In America many within the Jewish community, and particularly the young, are rejecting AIPAC’s hard line, unquestioning approach. A new pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian organisation J Street, which promotes a two state solution, is gaining in popularity.
Internationally, Israel’s old ally Turkey has turned its back on Bibi and his gang over the illegal Gaza blockade. Elsewhere post Mubarak Egypt is in turmoil and unlikely to be as pliant or as friendly as the previous regime. Jordan is looking shaky and regime change in Syria could pose big problems. There is a new dynamic emerging in the Middle East: what it will be nobody knows.
So Bibi, maybe it’s time you changed your tune. Aren’t you pushing things a little too far, letting precious time slip through your fingers? Don’t you think that the time is not far off when you might need a settlement more than the Palestinians? You might get away with playing these silly games in the short-term, but get it wrong Bibi and you’ll pay a very heavy price. It’ll be a one state solution for you old chum, and the route to that settlement will be a bloody one. Too clever by half? Maybe not very clever.