Shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finished meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest hastened to issue a statement harshly condemning Israel. Israel’s plans for further construction in East Jerusalem would “poison the atmosphere” and “call into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” Earnest said, referring to its approval of a plan to build 2,610 housing units in East Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood, which is across the Green Line.
And thus, through what appears to have been a planned chain of events, the falsity of the claims of a “good meeting” between Obama and Netanyahu was revealed. Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the meeting, in which he paid lip service to his continued commitment to a two-state solution, were of no avail. Given his government’s policy – which is partly reflected in the construction of this new neighborhood of Givat Hamatos, whose goal is to prevent any possibility of dividing Jerusalem – nobody can seriously believe any longer that Netanyahu wants to resolve the conflict.
The prime minister’s trip to the United States revealed Israel’s true international standing, as well as the damage Netanyahu has repeatedly caused it. Shortly before his White House meeting, Netanyahu met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and a rancorous dispute erupted over the Israel Defense Forces strikes on UNRWA schools in Gaza this summer that killed Palestinians who had sought shelter there. It’s impossible to keep having wars that sow such immense death and destruction every few years, Ban told Netanyahu. An Israeli official who was present at the meeting described it as extremely tense.
One after the other, the masks are being torn off. Netanyahu is not (and apparently never was) aiming for a two-state solution; his actions prove it. And the world, including the United States, is losing patience in the face of Israel’s policy of deception and its failure to propose any alternative.
Granted, America continues to support Israel automatically, both diplomatically and militarily, but the damage caused by Netanyahu’s policies keep growing and they will ultimately sabotage the practical aspects of Israel’s relationship with Washington as well. A government that is suspected by the UN secretary general of committing war crimes and whose policies are termed poisonous by the White House is a government that is doing enormous harm to Israel.