Thursday, December 8, 2011

Netanyahu’s Double Talk: Always Negotiating But Never Fully Negotiating

By: Fadi Zanayed (Written Oct., 2010)

One does not need to be an astute politician or political guru to understand Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lack of desire for concluding a final peace treaty with the Palestinians.  Speaking to his Likud Party, Netanyahu made it perfectly clear that he really does not want peace.  But if he is forced to negotiate, he wants to continue the dragged out non-committal agreements that never lead to a Palestinian State.  

Here is what Netanyahu has said. "What matters is not the length of the talks, but whether the Palestinians want to solve the conflict. The Palestinians must decide if they want to solve problems. If there is willingness to solve the dispute, it will be solved, but if not, it will not be."  He continued, "If the Palestinians want to continue the conflict, they can find a way. But if they want to solve it, I have ways of doing it.”  (Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2010,

There are three very important thoughts in this statement. The first about the length of time; the second is that he doesn’t really care if the Palestinians want to resolve the dispute; and the third is that if the Palestinians want to resolve the dispute, Netanyahu has the way to do it.

The “length of the talks” is a reference to the thirty years since the Camp David Accords which stated that Palestinians would gain “autonomy” within 5 years and to the seventeen years since the Oslo Agreement which stated that final status talks were to occur in 1999.

Netanyahu is well aware that Palestinians have accepted piece meal authority in the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, while Israel has found ways to never really allow the final status talks to take place. He is also quite aware that he has helped establish the obvious Israeli policy of always negotiating but never fully negotiating, all the while Israel continues its land grabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and builds more and more settlements.  Netanyahu is telling his hard line party members and the right in general not to worry, a solution is not in the works for years, in essence endorsing his Foreign Minister, Agivdor Liberman’s speech at the United Nations.

In the second part of the above statement, Netanyahu is quite clear he really does not want there to be a solution to the dispute. Although he states the dispute can be solved if the Palestinians want to solve it, he is not bothered if the dispute is resolved or not—“but if not, it will not be.”  This is equivalent to the Arabic saying, “Touz, Touzain, Thalath” which means “who cares, who cares twice, and a third.”

Finally, Netanyahu states his true intentions.  If there is to be a solution, he has “ways of doing it.”  In other words, he is telling his supporters not to worry; that even if a solution is possible for the dispute, it will be on his terms and not a mutual agreement with the Palestinians.  This statement is a direct result of years of Palestinians allowing Israel to dictate to them instead of negotiating as equals.  This is where the Israeli mindset of feeling superior to the Palestinians has hindered a resolution to the conflict.  See my article: Hatred, Superiority And the Israeli Mindset at

Taken all the statement into one cohesive context, Netanyahu is really saying that it is preferable that the Palestinians do not want peace, i.e. who cares; that even if the Palestinians want peace, don’t worry it will be on his terms and it will take forever.

At the same time, Netanyahu is appeasing the United States by agreeing with it that a final peace treaty with the Palestinians is achievable within one year.  But his actions of not extending the settlement freeze and granting the permits for 240 housing starts in East Jerusalem clearly show that he wants to appease the far right wing of Israeli politics and thus wants to kill any chances for the resumption of peace talks, knowing full well that Palestinians will not resume direct talks because of these decisions. 

This double talk clearly shows, even to the novice observer, that Netanyahu lacks the desire for concluding a final peace treaty with the Palestinians. 

(  © Copyright, Fadi Zanayed.  Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)

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