Des­per­ate Ne­tanyahu

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE - Hanna An­bar

The two-state so­lu­tion to the Is­rael-Pales­tine con­flict has suf­fered blow af­ter blow over the years. Is­rael’s cre­ation of facts on the ground, from set­tle­ments to walls and roads, has sought to di­vide and dis­place Pales­tini­ans.

Now, Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s pledge to an­nex the Jor­dan Val­ley, the north­ern Dead Sea and even­tu­ally all Jewish set­tle­ments in the oc­cu­pied West Bank ren­ders the peace process clin­i­cally dead.

Just days be­fore the Is­raeli elec­tions rerun, a des­per­ate Ne­tanyahu has shown he will re­sort to any mea­sure that could gar­ner him more votes.

There has been tacit Amer­i­can ap­proval for the move, with the U.S. say­ing it wouldn’t get in the way of an even­tual peace set­tle­ment – a state­ment that means ab­so­lutely noth­ing.

In an­other telling de­vel­op­ment, the White House re­cently an­nounced that Avi Berkowitz is one of two men who will “take on an in­creased role” next to Jared Kush­ner in sup­pos­edly work­ing on Mid­dle East peace. The 30-year-old’s el­e­va­tion con­firms the U.S. pres­i­dent sees Mid­dle East pol­icy as a fam­ily freefor-all, where ex­perts are es­chewed and pals are pro­moted.

But back to the Jor­dan Val­ley, which ac­counts for about a third of the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

“This an­nounce­ment is a dec­la­ra­tion of war against the Pales­tinian peo­ple’s rights as well as the very foun­da­tions of the in­ter­na­tional rule-based or­der,” se­nior Pales­tinian of­fi­cial Hanan Ashrawi has said. Ne­tanyahu “is not only de­stroy­ing the twostate so­lu­tion, he is de­stroy­ing all chances of peace.”

The U.N., the EU, the Arab League and var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions have is­sued con­dem­na­tion af­ter con­dem­na­tion over the years as Is­rael has gone ahead with its cam­paign against the Pales­tini­ans.

Since Ne­tanyahu’s an­nounce­ment, they’ve started up again.

This ap­proach hasn’t worked in the past and it cer­tainly won’t work now. The Is­raelis won’t blink un­less they get a se­ri­ous in­ter­na­tional re­ac­tion.

If they mean what they say, Arab states in par­tic­u­lar need to use all the clout they have – right now – to stop Ne­tanyahu in his tracks. Oth­er­wise, pre­pare for the hur­ri­cane.

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