Dr. Mohammed Makram Balawi
Ned Price, the spokesman for the United States Department of State, said his country is “deeply troubled” over Israel’s intentions to legalise more illegal Israeli Jews-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.
When raising the option of self-defence, Price stands with Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, the world’s biggest open-air-prison, but against the rockets fired back from Gaza. In his opinion these rockets target only civilians.
When reporters asked him if he believes Palestinians have a right to self-defence, he declined to answer. Then the same reporter asked him if he condemns the killing of Palestinian children? He simply said he does not have enough information on this issue.
Yet, if the United State is deeply troubled, these days, obviously, it is not because justice is not delivered to the Palestinians after almost a century of Western hegemony. It is because the pillars of Israel are shaking. Opposition leaders are warning of civil war, investors have started withdrawing their investments from Israel, the chiefs of the army, the police and the intelligence are warning against giving free-hand to lunatic ministers, the same ministers who are building militias in the West Bank under the pretext of self-defence, the judiciary and the opposition are opposing “judicial reform” which they called a “judicial coup” and every weekend more than hundred thousand people demonstrate against the current far-right government.
Antony Blinken, the United States secretary of state, visited Israel for the fourth time at the end of January. Each time he came to restore calm between Israel and the Palestinians. This time his mission seems to be fundamentally different. This time he is also worried about Israel’s attitude on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and the possibilities of taking the region into a war with Iran. He also seems to be worried that the current Israeli government might make things even more difficult with Saudi Arabia, if its reckless policies lead to a new Palestinian uprising.
But was it peace with the Palestinians that occupied Blinken’s mind? Obviously, many more important issues dominated his remarks, one of them is lecturing Netanyahu on how Israel should remain a small replica of the United States, and maintain freedom, democracy, the rights of minorities and rule of law.
If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on what he calls “judicial reform” and strengthens his grip on the judiciary system, this will completely disturb American supporters especially in the Democratic Party.
Blinken stressed that the American efforts to integrate Israel in the region are not a substitute to making peace with the Palestinians, and both the Israelis and Palestinians should equally enjoy “freedom, security, opportunity, justice, and dignity.” Then he stressed America’s belief “that the best way to achieve it is through preserving and then realising the vision of two states.” He said he told Netanyahu thatanything that moves them away from that vision is harmful to Israel’s long-term security and its long-term identity as a Jewish and democratic state. In other words, Blinken is warning Netanyahu that the current course he and his government are taking will undermine the future and identity of Israel, and the American President, Joe Biden knows what is best for Israel, even more than Netanyahu himself.
Netanyahu and his gang of criminals, extremists and terrorists, on the other side, feel they do not need American warnings and advice. They do not have anything to fear when it comes to the United States, especially when it comes to managing their relations with the Palestinians. One could remember their reactions to Blinken’s remarks. Netanyahu, joked that he is a survivor who has partnered with “quite a few” American presidents. He was simply reminding Blinken: “I have seen many like you come and go. Yet, I am still in power. If Barack Obama, the former American president, could not harm me, why should I care about the current democrat president; Joe Biden?” If Netanyahu the “moderate” among them reacted this way, one could imagine how the rest of Netanyahu’s gang reacted to Blinken’s warnings.
In his remarks, Netanyahu was very clear on his plans; there’s no room for the US’ two-state solution, but a “workable solution with our Palestinian neighbours” is possible. and that is also conditioned by Americans helping Israel normalise its ties with Arab countries first. Therefore, there will be no chance for any kind of peace settlement with the Palestinians until Israel normalises its relations with all Arab countries. One may wonder, if the Palestinians could not get anything from Israel while they enjoyed all this declared Arab support, why should Netanyahu give them anything after he neutralises the Arabs.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.
(Source: Middle East Monitor)