Bibi's double standard /You need to build trust, not just neighborhoods
Benjamin Netanyahu is surprised. He pretends not to understand what the Washington administration wants from his life. Why are they picking only on him? All Israel's governments went against the Americans' wishes and built neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Yet only his cabinet is blasted for it.
His aides searched and even found proof for this - suddenly officials in Washington are scornfully calling him "Bibi."
Quite right - all the governments built in East Jerusalem, some more and some less. But they did something else, as well.
The Rabin government recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the Arab Palestinian's people's legitimate representative, negotiated with it and signed the Oslo agreements. Yitzhak Rabin also said he was ready in principle to withdraw from the whole Golan for complete peace with Syria. The world believed him and learned to know him as a serious man who keeps his promises.
The Barak government went to Camp David and Taba, acting along the tracks of the Clinton peace outline. This government was prepared to make unprecedented concessions even in Jerusalem. Did Barak really mean to do something or was he pretending? This was and remains a riddle. Before it could be solved his government toppled.
The Sharon government was regarded with overall suspicion, which Sharon managed to relieve to some extent when he decided to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. In Washington he was clever enough not to blink or stutter.
The Olmert government conducted continuous negotiations, made far reaching proposals and even reached a few conditional oral agreements. Had Olmert not spoiled his own party, some good may have come out of it.
But the Netanyahu government has done worse than nothing. It has set fires and is pouring oil on the flames.The Temple Mount is catching fire, Jerusalem is about to burn and Netanyahu continues fiddling.
He gave the Bar-Ilan speech as though it was foisted on him, went through the motions of seemingly freezing the construction in the settlements for 10 months, but insisted again and again to prove he was sowing nothing but wind. No wonder he is reaping a whirlwind.
The Americans, who were willing to keep one eye shut in the terms of previous governments, quickly realized they have to keep seven eyes on this deceitful government, which has three wheels - Netanyahu, Lieberman and Yishai. Barak is superfluous.
There's another reason for treating Netanyahu with a double standard. After 43 years of occupation - an eternity - the whole world is fed up with the occupiers. Maybe there's a limit to what it can take.
The international community has reached the end of its tether. It has another few serious problems to solve and a few more dangerous threats to thwart. And America is growing impatient with spoilers, who sit at its table but turn it upside down every chance they get.
So it fell to Netanyahu's lot to exceed the limit, and he can do so like no other, for he doesn't know when to stop.
Enough is enough, the White House is saying. Many are saying so here as well, but in English it sounds so much louder and clearer.