When Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made critical remarks about Secretary of State John Kerry, the American State Department reacted angrily. Ya’alon’s remarks implied Kerry was “obsessed” and had “messianic feelings.” In turn, Ya’alon apologized and said he meant no harm. Everyone shook hands and made up.
However, the exchange highlights the tension that Israel is now under. Prime Minister Netanyahu has had no coherent settlement policy and that is creating problems. No one can deny that the Prime Minister remains in a precariously difficult spot even within his own administration. His coalition government includes both extremes of Israeli politics. Dovish Tzipi Livni stands to the right while to the left is hawkish Naftali Bennett. Within his own Likud party are equally divisive factions pulling on him from both directions. To keep his government running, he has to placate all of these diverse groups before he even confronts the Palestinians. No small task!
In the end, Netanyahu must make the decisions that will allow Israel to go forward and find a secure feature. For example, Palestinian terrorists were released in order to bring Abbas and the P.A. to the negotiating table. Obviously, families that had lost children and parents through terrorist attacks were not happy. This effort was made in the face of the hard facts about the Palestinian’s real objectives in such negotiating.
Regardless of what John Kerry says, does, or promises, the current Palestinian leadership has zero interest in reaching a settlement. They have one fundamental goal: the dismantling of the Jewish state.
These factors are pushing Netanyahu into a corner where Israel is becoming dangerously isolated. Because Israel continues to build illegal settlements, the government is facing the possibility of an international boycott. The Palestinian led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions called the B.D.S. movement is bringing pressure to bear outside the negotiating conference. If Israel can reduce the B.D.S. factor to only an image problem and propaganda tool, it can stem the tide. If not, Netanyahu faces a potentially highly serious situation.
Currently, new strain is on Israel as the Palestinians have gained a sympathetic audience for their claim that their human rights have been violated and they are victim of discrimination. The protective fence around the state of Israel to stop suicide bombers has raised the image of apartheid. All are super-sensitive issues in today’s world.
The squeeze is on Netanyahu to develop a broader policy that is comprehensible across the world. Sand is seeping through the hourglass and delay only creates more chaos. A resolution is needed!