Israel’s reaction to Palestine’s victory at the UN was perhaps predictably mean, petty and counterproductive to any early resumption of peace talks.
Natanyahu was eager to appear on world television as a stern man, intent on revenge. It might have been different if in the past he had bent over backwards to ease the dormant peace process forward, if at any time he could show some tolerant accomodation to Palestinian aspirations for their own country, free and unoccupied by a foreign army. But he is not a big man: his revenge was to announce another big splurge in settlement buidling, particularly on the highly sensitive E-1 land tract that if built on would bisect any future Palestine state and render the country irretrievably non-contiguous and therefore non-practical.
But our kindly and expansive Mr. Natanyahu didn’t stop there: he froze some $118 million in tax revenues owed to the Palestinians–just to make life less easy for thousands of civil servants, security personnel and firemen whose pay checks rely on these tax collections.
Even more sinister is the following statement by the Israeli Prime Minister:’…we will continue to build [settlements] in all the places that are on the map of Israeli strategic interests’ [my italics].
Wasn’t it a man named Hitler who kept referring to his own strategic maps to define Germany’s need for expanding its constricted borders so that the great German people had room to grow and prosper? He labelled his aggressive intentions under the rubric lebensraum. And he had no compassion or sympathy for any country whose land would disappear as a result of his land grabs. Sound familiar?
Natanyahu has gone too far this time. Words of condemnation from the U.S. Secretary of State will not be enough. Israel’s pompous and arrogant leader must be reigned in and, if necessary, dragged to the negotiating table. The ball’s now clearly in President Obama’s court.