Israel’s most pro-settlement government ever

Geoffrey Aronson writes: The only time the word “peace” is mentioned in the coalition government of the newly installed Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the section promising a member of Yesh Atid a place in on the negotiations committee to be headed by Tzippi Livni. Livni, of course, will not be making policy. Netanyahu’s alter ego, Yitzhak Molcho, promises to be in the room at all times. And the rejectionist tone of the government will be set by a diplomatic mini-cabinet including Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon and Minister of Economy and Trade Naftali Bennet, a former director of the Council of settlements in Judea and Samaria (Yesha).

This aspect of the new government’s priorities is not surprising. It promises to be the most unambiguously partisan in favor of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories of any of its predecessors. Acting so will be no mean achievement, given the record of success established by previous Israeli governments during the last four-plus decades, particularly those led by Labor Party leaders — from Golda Meir to Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.

It is not for nothing that it has long been said that “the Likud will announce 10 settlements and build one while the Labor Party will announce one and build 10.” Leaders from the heart of the Labor Zionist movement — the same one that transformed 78% of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state — were the principal architects of Israel’s post-1967 settlement policies in the occupied territories and employed all the instruments of Israel’s national power and authority to place the territorial future of the “liberated territories” beyond Palestinian reach. [Continue reading…]

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