The last month in the Israel/Palestinian conflict has taught us a valuable lesson. The world community took two actions that were fair and balanced, signaling to the parties, including the extremists, that enough is enough; end the conflict by nudging the parties towards boundary lines based on UN Resolution 242, i.e. a Two State Solution.
At first the world community supported Israel for defending itself against rocket attacks from the Hamas controlled Gaza. Then the world community overwhelmingly supported an upgrade in Palestine’s status at the UN from an “entity” to a “state.” What is the world community of nations trying to tell the Israelis and Palestinians?
I hope that both the Palestinians and Israelis interpret the world community actions in the spirit that I believe they were taken.
After the cease-fire between between Gaza and Israel, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal quickly stated that Hamas is willing to accept a TSS with 1967 borders. This is a major accomplishment for the advancement of peace in the region. No similar statement was heard from any of the major parties within Israel.
In fact, after the UN voted to upgrade the status of Palestine to that of observer “State”, Israel responded by stating that they will go forward with objectionable plans to build settlements in Area E1 around Jerusalem, which effectively kills the TSS by dissecting a West Bank home for a Palestinian State. This too is a major accomplishment but not for the advancement of peace but for the prolongation of the status quo, i.e. occupation. This is sad.
Britain, France Spain, the European Union, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and Egypt have all summoned its Ambassadors to Israel, a step short of “recalling” the Ambassador to protest the Israeli settlemtn announcement. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to meet formally with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sternly tell him to drop plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in a highly contentious strip of the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem.
Netanyahu responded by not fully appreciating what the World community was trying say to Israel and Palestine by telling the German press, "I appreciated the support of Chancellor Merkel and the German government during the operation in Gaza..At the same time, I would be disingenuous if I didn’t tell you that I was disappointed, as were many people in Israel, by the German vote in the UN.
Netanyahu also stated that the UN vote also would unite the West Bank Fatah Party with the Gaza Hamas Party, as if that was taboo. This just reinforces my argument that Israel is not looking for a TSS but a Three State Solution (TSS). He also referred to Hamas as terrorist, overlooking the fact that in his own coalition includes the Shaas Party, whose whose spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yousef calls for the annihilation of the Palestinians.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abass has signaled, after the upgrade of the UN status for Palestine and in response to the Israeli action on new illegal settlement building, that he will seek International Criminal Court action “in the case of Israeli aggression.” Netanyahu responded by withholding $100 million of taxes that Israel collects on behalf of Palestinians and must turnover to the Palestinian Authority.