Comment / The World Is Against Israel, and Rightly So

Richard Goldstone is an anti-Semitic Jew, Turkey became an Islamic state long ago, the Russia are a disappointment, the Chinese are confused, the Indians are mistaken, the Swedes and the Norwegians have always been against us, and the Americans, well we can get manage without them.

Like a car that finds itself in the fast lane and is driving against the traffic, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's viewpoint, all the oncoming cars are wrong and we are right. The prime minister still can't face the fact that if we wish to travel on the international highway, it is up to him to get us into the right lane and accept the unwavering demand to take steps to end the conflict with the Palestinians.

For as long as the government of Israel decides against doing a U-turn and turning onto the road of peace and reconciliation, it will keep getting hit by cars - and it will only get worse.

Netanyahu initially thought that mumbling the words "two states" in his speech at Bar-Ilan University would ease the pressure on Israel and present his government as one of sworn peace-seekers. Riding the waves of sympathy that his speech created, the prime minister tried to bury the diplomatic process, and make do solely with declarations.

Like Ariel Sharon during his first bid for the prime minister's chair, Netanyahu also believed that international pressure was just a passing headache and soon the world would busy itself with other matters, leaving Israel to its own devices.

But the ongoing settlement construction, dozens of newly built sites sprouting up like mushrooms after the so-called "freeze", a lack of initiative and chronic foot-dragging even on the subject of evacuating illegal outposts ? all of these factors harm Israel on a daily basis, turning it into a wounded animal that is bleeding in the international arena.

"Israel" is not just a curse word in Tehran and Damascus, but also in Turkey, most European countries, Canada, and parts of the United States. Israel has become a leper state, the object of widespread hatred. The world has had its fill of daily provocations offered up by the country's ministers, provocations which take the form of new Jewish neighborhoods or isolated outposts in the West Bank. And we have not even touched on the stymieing of the diplomatic process.

One cannot underestimate this issue. This is not some popularity contest between countries or the inability of IDF officers to take a vacation abroad. In the global world of the 21st century, this is a real, existential threat to the state of Israel, which is liable to find itself alone in facing its regional threats.

The international isolation provides a shot of adrenaline to Israel's real haters, who can now loudly boast, "We told you so," while enlisting some of the country's most prominent backers who have grown exasperated from Israeli policy.

Attorneys, public relations experts, spokespeople, statesmen ? none of the aforementioned can extricate Israel from international isolation. The only thing that can is a significant, genuine process initiated by the Israeli government on the diplomatic level.

When Sharon felt that he could no longer withstand the rising tide of pressure and that Israel's standing was at risk, he initiated the disengagement plan in order to prove that Israel seeks to exit the territories. Now, it is incumbent on Netanyahu to take a dramatic decision and to initiate a meaningful, substantive process before the security and diplomatic damage becomes irreversible.

The continued settlement policy, the provocations, and the unwillingness to cooperate with the Obama administration will lead the state of Israel to disaster in the international arena. In this scenario, the Goldstone report is just the beginning.

Yariv Oppenheimer is the secretary-general of Peace Now.