Maybe It’s Not All Netanyahu’s Fault
I’ve been thinking about this Israel-Palestine thing for the past week now, and for the most part, I’ve laid most of the blame on the Israeli Government. But how can you not? P.M. Netanyahu’s administration hasn’t exactly behaved the way a respectable statesman should. Even Jeffery Goldberg, the most pro-Israel staffer at The Atlantic, concedes that the Jewish state has made a whole series of stupid mistakes that could have been avoided. Just take a look at his most notable (and surprisingly frank) quote, which tells you everything you need to know about Israel over the past year:
“First, there was the gross insult directed at the Turkish ambassador to Israel by the deputy foreign minister. Then came the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai…a country that is obviously important to the formation of a broad, anti-Iran coalition. Then, of course, came the humiliation dealt to Vice President Biden on his visit to Israel. Bibi Netanyahu is not in control of his government.”
This got me thinking. Perhaps it is not all Netanyahu’s fault after all. Maybe he’s just stuck in the mud, or caught between a rock and a hard place, or any other old adage that describes a stalemated position. Sounds naïve? Hardly so, because this is precisely what his happening. For all of Netanyahu’s bluster and bravado, it looks like he is having a very difficult time controlling his own allies in the government. Essentially, he is being held hostage by the very same “friends” that propelled him to power in the first place.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict obviously cannot be solved by the United States alone. I agree that the Obama administration- especially Secretary Hillary Clinton and Envoy George Mitchell- are doing the right thing by pressuring the Israeli Government by airing their grievances in a very public matter. This is a warranted development, because Israel really hasn’t been pressured to do all that much with regard to the Mideast peace process.
But all of the complaining in the world won’t do any good if P.M. Netanyahu doesn’t smarten up and bring the moderate Kadima Party into his government.
Currently, Netanyahu is unable to concede to U.S. demands, due in large part to his dependence on right-wing settler movements in the coalition. Ditching the religious fanatics and replacing them with a pragmatic party in Israeli politics may be the only way to solve this settlement issue and get the proximity talks back on track.
Or if Netanyahu is prepared to resign his position, he could stop the East Jerusalem project now. But somehow I don’t think that is going to happen.
-Daniel R. DePetris