Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Timing of It

I've been too busy during the week to follow the details of anything happening in the Middle East, but this doesn't surprise me:
"Obama is said to have still been bristling at the slight of VP Joe Biden when the latter was in Israel (Netanyahu insisted on supporting continued colonial settlements on theWest Bank.the form of an announcement of the building of more homes on occupied Palestinian land. The Palestine Authority leadership, including President Mahmoud Abbas, refuses to restart peace negotiations as long as Netanyahu refuses to commit to a freeze of Israeli colonization efforts. Abbas had been about to set aside his objections and begin proximity talks when Netanyahu's government announced a substantial settlement expansion. And they made the announcement on the very day of Joe Biden's arrival to kick off the talks with the Palestinians. Predictably, the Palestinians pulled out of the talks."

Does anyone else think the timing was specifically to scuttle the talks with the Palestinians while trying to make it look like it was their fault? That was Netanyahu's pattern during his last tenure as prime minister, when the issue was the Oslo Process, and he seems to be up to the same tricks.

I've recently read some suggestions that Netanyahu is acting this way because of his far-right coalition. That's possible, I suppose, as reading coalition effects on the overall conduct of government isn't an exact science. However, just as I felt convinced Ehud Olmert had been driven by demographic projections to sincerely want an end to the conflict based on the two-state solution, so Netanyahu's career pattern seems to be to pursue a maximal Israeli nationalist agenda to whatever extent he can get away with in a given climate.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)

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