Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany
The World Is against Us
By Inge Günther
Translated By Ron Argentati
4 December 2012
Edited by Natalie Clager
Germany - Frankfurter Rundschau - Original Article (German)
The list of European nations that have recalled their ambassadors to Israel in protest of Benjamin Netanyahu’s provocative settlement expansion plans grows ever longer. Great Britain and France led the way and were quickly followed by Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Spain. Commentators in Israel agree that the Europeans have taken off the diplomatic kid gloves. It is assumed that Washington – Israel’s most important ally – expressly encouraged them to do so. “The White House authorized Europe to pounce on the Netanyahu government and to punish it," writes Shimon Shiffer in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Achronoth.
It was not because Netanyahu’s administration supported Barack Obama’s opponent in the recent presidential election. It has more to do with Obama’s realization that it was necessary to find a way back to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In the end Netanyahu – the same as all his predecessors – will be unlikely to allow the highly problematic settlement expansion between East Jerusalem and Maale to sabotage the two-state solution. But this time, Israel will have to pay dearly for the Prime Minister's reckless statements.
The newspaper Haaretz struck a similar chord, saying “Netanyahu and his ministers have no right to make Israel an international pariah.” The article went on to say “Israel's security cannot be guaranteed by fighting against an already occupied Palestinian state, but by nurturing the international ties needed to face real threats like the Iranian nuclear program.” The newspaper Maariv said Netanyahu had done Israel a disservice when he mobilized the entire world against Iran with one hand, only to put Israel in the same situation by isolating it with the other.
But the foreign policy damage could also play to his domestic advantage. The settlement plans were sharply condemned in all parts of the world, according to Haaretz journalist Nehemia Shtrasler. Shtrasler says, “That's exactly what Netanyahu wanted. Now he can give fiery speeches and claim that the whole world is against Israel, that the rest of the world consists of anti-Semites and Arab-lovers, and that he is the only hope Israel has to defend against the foreigners who want to destroy it.”
The Israeli mainstream press, in any case, loudly applauds Netanyahu's settlement building offensive in the occupied territories. The settlement newspaper Makor Rishon says Netanyahu should take no heed of what Israel's European immigrants say. They are there only to test his strength. And Israel Hayom, a quasi-Netanyahu insider newspaper writes, “The West always gives in when Israel sticks to its positions. The 3,000 new settlements are just a beginning. There will be more.”
CLICK HERE FOR