Henry Siegman writes:
Is there anyone familiar with the history of the Israel-Palestine peace process who still believes that this Israeli government would defy the over half-a-million settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — by far the most influential political force in Israel — and their networks of supporters within Israel, and present Palestinians with a reasonable peace plan for a two-state solution that would be acceptable to even the most moderate and accommodating of Palestinian leaders?
Shelly Yachimovich, an Israeli Knesset Member who is a leading candidate for the Labor Party’s leadership, recently declared that Israel’s settlement project is “not a sin or a crime” since it was initiated by a Labor government, and therefore “a completely consensual move.” Leaving aside the bizarre notion that the consensus of thieves legitimizes their theft, if these are the views of candidates for Labor Party leadership in today’s Israel, what prospect can there possibly be for an acceptable peace accord to emerge from the peace process?
And is there anyone who witnessed the frenzied applause that greeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most recent speech before the U.S. Congress in which he left no doubt about his government’s intentions for East Jerusalem and for the West Bank, or heard President Obama’s assurances to AIPAC’s conventioneers that the ties that bind the U.S. to Israel are forever “unbreakable,” who still believes that the U.S. will ever exert the kind of pressure on Israel that will finally change its cost/benefit calculations with regard to its colonial project?
These incontestable realities give the lie to America’s absurd insistence — expressed most recently by President Obama on September 12 — that a Palestinian state can be achieved only as a result of an agreement between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. Surely President Obama must know that left to their own devices, Netanyahu and Abbas will never reach a two state agreement, and that the only purpose a resumed “peace process” would serve is to continue to provide a cover for further Israeli land grabs in the West Bank.