Obama and Netanyahu at the White House on September 1, 2010. AP
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on September 1, 2010. Photo by AP
Text size

U.S. President Barack Obama, aided by an Israeli prime minister with no ability to stand firm, is reigniting Palestinian rejectionism. The Palestinians, encouraged by Benjamin Netanyahu's serial capitulations, are now free to go up another rung on the rejectionist ladder. After all, they are confident - and rightly so - that Obama will continue to slice the salami even after another three months of a settlement freeze. And then, they will climb even higher.

Netanyahu told his ministers that at the end of this freeze, the pressure would be off him: The Americans would understand that the Palestinians are the ones rejecting peace. He's not mistaken, he's misleading them deliberately. And they know it. It has already been said of him, and of people like them, "you are slothful."

The Palestinians are never accused of rejectionism. Only Israel is. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or Obama himself, will tell Netanyahu that for the sake of peace, he must not make a fuss over minor issues. And Netanyahu will acquiesce, in exchange for another 20 planes. After all, it is letters of guarantee, not Israel's independent spirit, that have ensured its existence thus far.

The Palestinians have never conducted peace negotiations with us. Their plan for eradicating Israel in stages remains intact; they have merely altered its tactics - with impressive success: Instead of "what was taken by force will be regained by force," they are now "playing peace," manipulating a world that melts over the "new Palestinians." And Obama has given them the ultimate means of manipulation: a settlement freeze.

More than ever, their work is being done by others. The Americans, as is their wont in every field of endeavor, are determined to rack up achievements. And only Israel can supply them.

But once they have been supplied, the Palestinians will, of course, refuse to accept them. After all, they know that after every refusal of theirs, Obama will once again come down on Netanyahu like a ton of bricks. And he, one of the most defeatist politicians ever to occupy the post of Israel's prime minister, will capitulate in exchange for a mess of pottage of some kind or another. And on and on.

Obama, contrary to what New York Times columnist Tom Friedman claims, is not at all fed up with Netanyahu. Quite the opposite. He is Obama's strategic asset. Obama recognizes his unique added value - a weak Likud prime minister outflanking the left from the left - and applies incessant pressure to him, including via psychological warfare. Some of this warfare is conducted via the articles of his good friend, Friedman. To Netanyahu, unlike to most Americans these days, what is written in the New York Times is holier than Holy Writ.

A three-month freeze will not seal the fate of the West Bank settlements. It is also true, as Netanyahu mutters to the Americans, that a few hundred additional apartments (and that is the correct number, since there is no government construction there ) have no power to determine the final status of Judea and Samaria. But it's too bad Netanyahu does not take this line. After all, a liberal government like Obama's would never force him to expel 300,000 of his citizens, isn't that so?

And if the Americans do compel him - let's say, via a sop of 100 planes - there is no doubt that liberal circles in Israel and worldwide will rise up against this barbaric act. The settlers, all the humanists will say, want to live in a Palestinian state? By all means. Just like Arabs live in the Jewish state.

Even 1,000 American planes will not extricate us from the honey trap into which the prime minister, with the approval of his diplomatic-security cabinet, is falling. "Assyria will not save us," the prophet Hosea once warned in a similar historical situation. "So we will not ride horses; neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, 'You are our gods.'"