Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Mar. 14, 2010. Netanyahu is urging calm following another stern rebuke from the U.S. over plans to build 1,600 apartments in East Jerusalem.
"Choices About Netanyahu"
Op-Ed, The Huffington Post
March 15, 2010
Author: Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
"Israelis repeatedly say that, on the Palestinian side, there is no partner for peace. I would turn this formula around and state that Benjamin Netanyahu is no partner for peace. Netanyahu has twice thumbed his nose at his major ally and protector, the United States: first at President Barack Obama when the latter asked for a halt to all Israeli settlements on Arab lands; and second at Vice-President Joe Biden, who was greeted on his recent visit to Israel with the news that 1,600 new housing units are to be constructed in Arab East Jerusalem, "annexed" by the Israelis but never recognized as such by the U.S. or the International Community.
It is beside the point whether Netanyahu was aware of the Interior Ministry's decision to start these new settlements on disputed land (he claimed that he wasn't). The essential point is that he did not repudiate the decision. There is a growing impression that, whenever the United States makes an initiative toward peace, new settlements are flung in its face. This excessively macho policy is presumably attributed as a repudiation of the past. Such a policy is understandable, but it is distinctly unhelpful to U.S. policy interests in the region. In addition to being a man of maneuver, Netanyahu is a man of conviction. There is a familial history of attachment to the right-wing revisionist movement of Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Netanyahu's father, Benzion, who is a noted author and professor, was a senior aide to Jabotinsky, whose radical movement, a breakaway from mainstream Zionism, favored the creation of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River...."
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