USA-Israel: the Split

It’s a bad sign. Benjamin Netanyahu is re-enlisting for a fourth term as the head of the Israeli government. Just a few formalities, and he will put together his government. Before even taking office, he announced the “flavor” of things. He will not leave any chance for peace as long as he is running Israel. He’s the one who said it. “As long as I am Prime Minister, there will be no Palestinian state,” he lectured to anyone who wanted to hear it. He knows that his declaration stirs up a hornet’s nest. He knows where despair can lead a colonized people. He knows he is getting on the wrong side of the entire international community that defends the two-state solution. It’s exactly because he knows all that that he is becoming a dangerous man for the Israelis in particular and for the world in general.

Especially since he has proved capable of worse again and again, and this worries a good number of Israelis. Leading this group is former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who recognized that a “two-state solution for two peoples is the sine qua non for Israel’s survival” while at the World Economic Forum in Davos this past January. Which means that in refusing this solution Netanyahu puts his own country in danger.

In any case, this danger has already been set in motion. The U.S. administration, which up until how has always guaranteed unconditional support to Israel, has decided to review its position. It has even made it known that it will no longer be able to use its veto power to protect Israel at the U.N. Security Council. Incidentally, last Monday at the session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on the situation in the Palestinian territories held in Geneva, the American delegation did not take the floor so as not to defend Israel, as it usually does; a first in American-Israeli relations.

It must be said that Netanyahu did everything to get here. He didn’t hesitate to trample the basic rules of decorum and protocol by haughtily ignoring the White House and going directly to Congress to make a speech against…the United States. At issue during questioning were the negotiations with the Iranians. President Obama responded in his own way. He laid it on thick by addressing the Iranian people directly in a speech to convince them of the necessity of arriving at an accord. The escalation increased to the point where British Prime Minister David Cameron, without being a close friend of the White House, yesterday urged Netanyahu to come to a two-state solution. Except that the word of the Israeli Prime Minister is no longer credible. After having stigmatized the Arab electorate in Israel, Netanyahu apologized to Israeli Arabs without really convincing them. They see duplicity there.

We can also see signs of panic in Netanyahu: abandoned by the European Union whose parliament voted last December for the recognition of the Palestinian state; abandoned by the international community after the Syrian situation; abandoned by everyone on Iranian nuclear power as well. Netanyahu is losing control and rebelling; he who always knew how to hedge on his intentions of proclaiming Israel a religious state, on saying goodbye to the fake label it has as the only democracy in the region, on his racism vis-a-vis Israeli Arabs. Laid bare, Netanyahu will not hesitate to try to set fire to the entire planet.

The days and the months to come portend great risk with Netanyahu in power. With his Republican allies in the U.S. Congress who yesterday asked their administration to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, no one is fooled about what is afoot; surely not the European countries who have piped down, and even less the very persistent Obama and Putin. The stubbornness of Netanyahu is bringing Israel into a new era. The most dangerous one of its existence!

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