Arab Israeli MK: Netanyahu Will Avoid Peace Unless World Steps In

In Los Angeles Times op-ed, Ahmed Tibi says PM may repeat his personal history of finding loopholes instead of seeing the Palestinians as equals.

The United States and the international community must pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if peace between Israel and the Palestinians is to be finally achieved, Arab Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi said in a Los Angeles Times editorial over the weekend, adding that, left to his own devices, Netanyahu would only continue his history of evading an honest peace deal.

Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi
Olivier Pitussi

The L.A. Times op-ed was published in the wake of last week's peace summit in Washington, in which Israel and the Palestinians relaunched direct peace talks in an attempt to reach a final status peace deal within 12 months.

However, despite reports of optimism in both camps over the possibility of a peace agreement, Tibi wrote that Netanyahu would only use direct talks to avoid achieving a deal with the Palestinian Authority, as he has done in the past.

"It is unfortunate that the direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that got underway this week are saddled with an Israeli prime minister who has made clear his unwillingness to reach an equitable two-state solution," Tibi wrote, saying such a move would be "consistent with Netanyahu's actions when he was last prime minister during the late 1990s."

"The prime minister did not enter negotiations then, nor does he enter them now, in good faith. If he can derail the talks, he will," the Israeli-Arab MK and Knesset deputy Speaker wrote, adding that he was "not alone in being pessimistic."

"Most Palestinians are. Young people in particular have been betrayed. A whole generation of Palestinians has grown up watching as talks failed. They have seen deepening colonization rather than freedom," Tibi said.

For talks to actually succeed, the United Arab List-Ta’al chairman said, "the international community, and the U.S. most particularly, will have to press Netanyahu."

U.S. President Barack Obama, for one, would have to, according to Tibi, challenge the prime minister on settlements.

"To succeed this time, the international community, and the U.S. most particularly, will have to press Netanyahu," Tibi said, adding that "whether in the United States, Israel or the occupied territories, equal rights before the law is a powerful and crucial concept. And it is one that should be at the forefront of the next round of talks."