Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is proud of his diplomatic achievement over the weekend: He managed to influence the concluding statement of the G8 summit in France. Netanyahu lobbied Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and convinced him to oppose a reference to the formula proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama in which the border between Israel and a Palestinian state would be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed corrections.
Harper agreed with Netanyahu that there is no reason to stress the border issue and not other aspects of the Obama plan, including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The G8 makes it statements by consensus, and the Canadian leader's opposition was enough for the U.S. and European leaders to change the wording.
It's nice that Netanyahu found a leader of an important Western country ready to support his pronouncements, after other leaders turned him down. But Netanyahu's lobbying only brought Israel the illusion of success. Obama didn't change his position and neither did the leaders of the European Union. Even after supposedly yielding to Netanyahu's demand, they still believe that Israel should retreat from the West Bank, evacuate the settlements and allow the Palestinians to set up an independent state, with its capital in East Jerusalem.
Instead of engaging in verbal gymnastics and fiery speeches, Netanyahu should work to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians and partition the land, as he promised once again in Congress last week. The unnecessary censuring of the international community's position distracts us from the heart of the matter: changing the situation on the ground to end the occupation and provide Israel with a permanent border with an independent Palestine.
Netanyahu finds it easier and more pleasant to hold talks with Western leaders in diplomatic parlors, to indulge forever in public relations and smear the Palestinian leadership than to make vital decisions on Israel's future. Netanyahu forgot, probably, that Israel doesn't need peace with the G8, but with its Palestinian neighbors, and that it must reach out to them instead of digging in behind the claim that there is no partner.
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