Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Netanyahu's Latest Gambit to Thwart Palestinian
By Khalid Amayreh
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 18, 2011
Netanyahu plan seems to be another attempt to deceive the international
community rather than a genuine effort to end the occupation.
Apparently worried about the potential impact on Israel of ongoing Arab
revolutions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reported to be
contemplating a new "peace plan" that will throw the proverbial ball back
into the Palestinians' court and ease international pressure on Israel to
come to terms with Palestinian rights.
Israel has refused
consistently to give up the spoils of the 1967 war. The Zionist state has
also been adamant in its refusal to allow the repatriation of millions of
Palestinian refugees, expelled at gunpoint from their homes and villages in
what is now Israel.
Furthermore, Israel has built hundreds of illegal
Jewish colonies on land confiscated and stolen from Palestinians. The
settlements, inhabited by some of the most fanatical Zionist Jewish migrants
from around the world, have proven to be a formidable obstacle to the
conclusion of a peace agreement in the region.
Netanyahu's new "plan
for peace", already dismissed by Palestinian officials as another mendacious
exercise in public relations, is slated to be delivered in a speech by the
Israeli premier on 24 May at a joint session of the US Congress. Given the
slavish nature of Congress to all things Israeli, it is likely to be well
Speaking to his Likud Party, Netanyahu said he would use
the address to Congress to discuss a way to "bring a secure peace between us
and our neighbours".
In a clear swipe at previous US-brokered deals,
the Israeli Prime Minister said, "Not a peace on paper, not a peace of
ceremonies and lawns, but a peace that will last and ensures our future and
His idea of such a peace is warped; Netanyahu recently
signed several plans to build tens of thousands of settler units in the
occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which international observers
contend will make the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous
Palestinian state well nigh impossible.
Moreover, Israel has also
confiscated large swathes of Palestinian land along the western bank of the
River Jordan which would make any Palestinian entity on the West Bank
surrounded and controlled entirely by Israel and subject to its whims.
Notorious for his dishonesty, prevarication and verbal juggling,
Netanyahu didn't spell out the details of his plan. However, according to
reports in the Hebrew-language media, he isn't planning a real withdrawal
from the occupied territories.
According to Alex Fishman of Yedeoth
Ahronoth, "We are not talking about a rapid withdrawal from the occupied
territories and handing them over to the Palestinians. We are rather talking
about a long process, the implementation of which will take at least five
years, during which Israel will allow Palestinians to move more freely
throughout the West Bank."
In other words, and more to the point,
there will be more repositioning of Israeli forces inside the West Bank in a
way that will allow Israel to "transfer" to Palestinian Authority (PA)
control more land classified currently as zones B and C.
face value, the Netanyahu plan seems to be another attempt to deceive the
international community rather than a genuine effort to end the occupation
that began in 1967 and bring about a final resolution of the
Netanyahu has come under pressure, both in
the United States, where the Israel lobby has immense influence over US
policies, and in Israel itself, to develop a diplomatic initiative which can
undermine a Palestinian campaign to obtain a UN General Assembly resolution
recognising a Palestinian state in the territories occupied in 1967.
In recent weeks, Israeli intellectuals and political veterans have warned
that Israel stands to lose out as a result of the ongoing revolutions in the
Arab world, especially in Egypt. The Israeli media has quoted some Israeli
politicians and military leaders who describe the dramatic collapse of the
Mubarak regime as "a strategic loss".
Last week, a group of Israeli
security and business leaders, speaking at Tel Aviv University, said that
time is not on Israel's side. "The changing landscape of the Middle East and
Israel's international image demands a new Israeli peace initiative," they
Speaking at the same forum, the former Director of Shin Bet,
Israel's internal security service, claimed that the current status quo in
the West Bank is "presenting a mortal threat to the state of Israel".
According to General Yaakov Perry, "Our continued presence in the
[Palestinian] territories is a threat to Zionism. With every passing minute
further damage is done to the State of Israel."
One thing is clear,
he added, "the Middle East is changing, dramatic things are happening around
us, we are witnessing historic changes towards reform, most of which are not
being led by extremist groups."
The fact that there is very little
substance to Netanyahu's plan is not surprising. He has always been and
continues to be a firm believer in Erez Yisrael ha'shlema (the Biblical Land
of Israel). Hence, it is highly unlikely that Israel's premier will present
any initiative toward achieving a genuine lasting and dignified peace deal
with the Palestinians.
What is more likely is that Netanyahu will
continue to quibble and beat about the bush until Barack Obama becomes a
lame duck president and any ability his administration may have to put
pressure on Israel is frittered away.
In a speech at Bar Illan
University on 14 June, 2009, Netanyahu outlined his vision of a Palestinian
"state" that would live beside Israel in peace. He envisioned a thoroughly
deformed entity without sovereignty, without contiguous territory, without
control of its own resources, and without control over its airspace and
In other words, the state which the Israeli premier wanted
Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims to accept, was an entity existing on paper
which, in reality, would be a series of Bantustans with minimal, if any,
autonomy and controlled absolutely by Israel.
There has been no
indication that Netanyahu's vision of a Palestinian state has undergone any
serious transformation since that speech. He remains as committed as ever
for Israel to devour as much Palestinian land as possible while confining
Palestinians to little more than Bantustans and townships. Interestingly,
those pathetic statelets cut off from each other and dependent entirely on
Israel would, if Netanyahu gets his way, be called something grandiose but
meaningless, such as the "Great Arab Republic of Palestine".
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Benjamin Netanyahu's prevarication and
maliciousness will come back to haunt Israel and lead to the perpetuation of
the conflict. In the final analysis, Israel will still have to exist in a
hostile environment until and unless a peace deal is agreed which guarantees
justice for the people of the Holy Land. If Netanyahu and his ilk have any
doubts about that, they have only to look at the quest for freedom and
justice in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. Why should the Palestinians want
or accept anything less?