I am not jumping to conclusions and assuming the US, or the EU for that matter, is making a radical change in policy towards Israel. Should a veto be required in the UN Security Council, the US Index finger will rise without hesitation. But for the US to ‘recognise’ the new Palestinian Unity Government, with all the caveats regarding watching how it develops, is worthy of analysis.
Netanyahu must have been confident when he announced Israel would not work with the Government and demanded the World toe the Israeli line that the World would listen. He must have assumed the US was in the bag, the awkward Europeans would be lukewarm and that the Government would be boycotted and the Palestinians brought to their knees as aid dried up.
After all when the last unity Government was formed back in 2007, the ‘International community’ boycotted it and the Palestinian divisions started. The then dreadful British Prime Minister, Tony Blair led the charge to pressure states to boycott it and he succeeded.
This time things may be different. The Palestinian leadership, despite heavy criticism from their own people, entered a 9-month negotiating period under US Secretary Kerry’s auspices in good faith. Israel demonstrated anything but good faith. Despite agreeing to release pre Oslo prisoners, it both reneged on releasing the final batch and accompanied each release with an illegal act. Netanyahu announced thousands of new Jewish only homes in occupied Palestinian land. This eventually led to the collapse of the talks as US sources confirmed. It was the settlements stupid!
But of course the deluded Israeli Prime Minister and his settler Government denied the settlements were the cause and blamed PA actions, joining 15 accords and reconciling with Hamas. Both were legal acts unlike Israel’s settlements.
Secretary Kerry expended a huge amount of energy and travelled thousands of miles and as far as one can tell from the leaks, tried to push Israel’s quite outrageous demands down the throat of the Palestinians. But that was not good enough for Naftali Benett or Moshe Ya’alon. Ya’alon was particularly offensive.
Kerry and Obama announced a pause. The Israelis used it thus far to incite against Abbas and the Palestinians, while the Palestinians, to their credit, used it to reconcile and to form a unity Government. Abbas played a blinder, forming a Government of technocrats, which adheres to the conditions demanded by the ‘International Community’.
Israel’s reaction was to announce it would boycott the Government even before it was announced. It would not allow would be ministers to travel to Ramallah fur the searing in. It revoked the VIP passes from all who had them, except Abbas. It threatened to withhold the Palestinian taxes it collects. But of course it continued to demand security cooperation. It demanded the World boycotts the Unity Government. Netanyahu said Abbas chose reconciliation with Hamas over peace with Israel.
Well, the World clearly does not see it through Netanyahu’s eyes. Eyes blinded to the fact that he has shot himself and Israel in the foot through his own ill advised and rejectionist policies. He and his spokesmen can real off ‘Khamas’ and ‘terror’ as many times as they wish to the World’s media. People have had enough of the man former French President Sarkozy called a Liar.
It is of course too early to conclude that a major shift in policy is about to take place amongst Israel’s staunch allies. The unconditional backing it has received thus far may be about to reduce.
Netanyahu and his settler Government have in my view become a liability for Israelis. They need to wake up and smell the isolation and the growing BDS movement.