The ink was not yet dry on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promises, after Operation Protective Edge, of a “diplomatic vision” and “new opportunities in the Middle East,” before he and his cabinet were back to their old policy, which is subservient to the interests of the settlers and those who reject peace.
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The Civil Administration’s announcement of the expropriation of 3,800 dunams (950 acres) of village lands in the West Bank to create continuity of settlement between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem, in response to the kidnapping and murder in June of three Jewish teens in the Etzion bloc, renders Netanyahu’s slogans meaningless of value.
It does so in the same way that his conduct during most of his time as prime minister makes a mockery of his declarations, in his Bar-Ilan speech, regarding his commitment to the two-state solution and the vision of peace. The repeated announcements of expanding construction in the settlements during the nine months of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority brought those talks to an end. The outcome shows that Netanyahu continues to prove right the Palestinians’ claims that Israel has no interest in peace talks.
It is difficult to understand why the prime minister takes the trouble, from time to time, to plant the hope that he wants a peace agreement, when at the same time his government continues to builds in the territories — activity that is nothing but a targeted assassination of such an agreement. The prime minister — who in the early days of the latest cease-fire conveyed the sense that he had awoken from his “no partner” obsession and had “discovered” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who during the fighting in the Gaza Strip prevented the outbreak of an intifada in the West Bank — is himself destroying the new opportunities he claimed to seek.
Netanyahu is being led by the cabinet members of Habayit Hayehudi, who do as they wish with the state and its resources. His ingratiating attitude toward the extreme-right electorate, which abandoned him during Operation Protective edge, is automatic.
The “appropriate Zionist response” to the kidnapping and murder in whose name the Israeli government is eliminating any possibility of peace, is in no manner Zionist. It turns Israel into an internationally boycotted pariah state that sacrifices the possibility of peace on the altar of its imperialist and messianic aspirations and perpetuates the bloody conflict. This was expressed in the course of Operation Protective Edge, in which 2,200 people were killed. The “appropriate Zionist response” leads Israel from the frying pan into the fire, and eventually could lead to the end of the Zionist vision.