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Netanyahu’s Mistake

In every move the Prime Minster has taken so far since the American Presidential election, he has had the complete support of the US. Now with this announcement, Israel has taken a step backward.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the PM's office in Jerusalem. December 02, 2012.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the PM's office in Jerusalem. December 02, 2012.
Photo Credit: Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Flash90

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I know that what I am about to say is unpopular with many readers who generally agree with me. But as a seeker of truth, I am bound to speak the truth as I know it and understand it.

Last week Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the construction of 3000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria. He is doing this in a section called E1. That is the area between Maleh Adumim which basically borders on the so called “Green Line.” These units will connect the two.

First the disclaimer. I truly believe that in the event of any final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Ma’aleh Adumim will be a part of Israel as will any territory between it. I also do not believe that there will be a peace agreement any time soon. The way things are going now, probably never. But in theory at least I don’t think even the Palestinians (Under Abbas – Not Hamas) would disagree with that statement. Why that won’t happen is beyond the scope of this essay.

In a related issue, I also believe that the Palestinians should not have asked to be upgraded at the UN to non-member observer state status, and it should certainly not have been granted. The US and Israel were both right to oppose it.

I understand why the Palestinians did it. They want desperately to have their own state. And they will not get it any time soon through negotiations. So they are doing whatever they can on the international scene to take steps towards making that a reality. And the world says,” Sure.” “Why not?” “Palestinians have a right to a state same as the Jews.”

But as the U.S. pointed out in a very powerful speech by UN Ambassador Susan Rice – this action does not advance the cause of peace and indeed even harms it.

How does this move in any way harm Israel? By upgrading the Palestinians to observer but non member status it can now bring Israel to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and charge it with crimes against humanity in its role as an occupier of the disputed territories. (Editor’s note: An opinion of the International Court of Justice is only binding if the parties to the dispute both accept the jurisdiction of the Court).

This court according to many opinions will be a kangaroo court when it comes to Israel. That shouldn’t be too hard to believe considering how most of international community usually views the Jewish state. Including the left in both in America and Israel. They see Israel as an oppressive occupier akin to the Apartheid State of pre Mandella South Africa.

That said, I don’t think the Palestinians are going to try bringing Israel to that court. That will most certainly end even the remotest chance for a peace deal. It will also probably end American financial aid to them as well.

It is pretty clear to me that the only reason the Prime Minister has authorized new housing in Judea and Samaria is in retaliation for what happened in the UN. They want to re-assert their right to settle anywhere in Jerusalem and its outskirts. The current Israeli position is that Jerusalem is the once and forever capital of Israel and not subject to negotiation.

While this is a view that I favor, I don’t think it was wise for the Prime Minister to announce new housing in Judea and Samaria at this time. Unless there is an urgent need to accommodate natural growth, it should not have been done. Not because they don’t have that right. But because it serves no purpose other than to antagonize the only real friend Israel has in the world, the United States of America.

It is no secret that the US is against any settlement activity. Even for natural growth. If natural growth isn’t even the reason, why spit in the face of the only friend you have by announcing new construction in Judea and Samaria? Especially right after they cheered Israel on during their incursion into Gaza; paying for the Iron Dome Defense System that saved so many lives. They gave Israel 100% support! And Israel did this right after the US made such a strong speech opposing raising Palestinian status in the UN. The US is only major country to do that aside from Canada? 138 nations voted to support the upgrade including the UK!

Had there been some sort of security reason, I would have supported it. But what will be the fruit of such a move? Well here is what this move has thus far wrought. From YWN:

In this current E1 crisis, the United States has expressed opposition, along with UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, as well as the UK, Germany, Sweden, France and others

Leading the list perhaps is London, which has signaled it may recall its ambassador over the issue, already summoning Israeli Ambassador to London to the Foreign Office, where he heard of Downing Street’s objections to moving ahead in the E1 area.

What makes matters worse is that this construction will likely never happen unless there is a peace deal. As much as Maleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel praised the move, he is also a realist and admits that construction will probably never begin. So what was gained? Was anything gained at all?

I am a big fan of Netanyahu. But I disagree with what he did here. It serves no good purpose. It has only resulted in a negative backlash. Had the Prime Minster just left things alone he would have been one with the US.

In every move the Prime Minster has taken so far since the American Presidential election, he has had the complete support of the US. And the Palestinians have been in the dog house due to their pre-conditions for negotiating a peace treaty with Israel; the daily Hamas rocket attacks into Israel; and for what Abbas did at the UN. Now with this announcement – Israel has taken a step backward.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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7 Responses to “Netanyahu’s Mistake”

  1. Kevin Paulsen says:

    They should be able to build on their own land!

  2. Benjamin Rau says:

    the problem is that the US has NOT SUPPORTED Israel fully in 60 years…. and if it had there would be no need for a 2 state solution because there would only be Israel left…

    Yes, Obama, like the Israeli prime minister, makes a lot of promises that sound good when you hear them; but what I have seen is little, if any at all, follow through on those promises….

  3. Rick Connell says:

    Israel is a Hebrew Nation and can't keep holding on to the Greek mentality of the Muslims in the White House… be a set apart people and rely on YHWH your Elohim!

    Israel has to take care of Israel and stop worrying about being politically correct, America will support you until you are no longer an asset to their gov, and the people of America will be there forever!

    so on that note "BUILD BIBI BUILD!

    Deuteronomy 7 6 For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure.

  4. A Y Margalios says:

    As a Chicago videographer specializing in weddings, Mr. Maryles should change his name to “marry more.”

    His supposed Haskama from a dead Gadol is way out of line.

  5. William J Hurst says:

    When he stopped being a puppet and stood for His country, then the US withdraws support. There is no nation that has the right to call the shots for another nation. Just as they have no right to impose their will on the rest of the world. I love and respect the USA, but when they try to restrict a nation from protecting its people, be they Jew or Palastinian, then they step over their bounds, just as the UN has because they had no right to give the Palastinians any status cuz they do not rule the world

  6. I still think Israel should be able to build like any other country if they so wishes. Israel doesn't tell the U.S.A where they can build and where not. I believe Israel has been tolerant enough, It is the Arabs who are intolerant, The Israelites tolerate a mosque on the site of where Solomon's temple stood, but I cant see the Arabs tolerating synagogues or churches in their country. and besides I don't believe Obama is as friendly towards Israel as he makes out to be. Many people believe he is a muslim, he certainly is not a christian.

  7. I agree that Netanyahu made a mistake or two. The biggest one that he made was the Bar Ilan speech where he accepted the possibility of a Palestinian state. He, and every other prime minister, president, minister or even MK should retract that mistake and clearly state that we have this one small country and it is ours alone. We don't need to split it up with any other people. If the Palestinians wish to make themselves a state, they should take some land from one of the 22 Arab states (if they can) and give it their best shot. If they want to live in Israel, they can on condition that they abide by the rules which include not terrorizing Jews (no, not even throwing rocks at passing cars). If they can't do that, they must leave. If they want to be citizens of Israel, they must accept Israel as a Jewish state and swear allegiance to it. Without that, they can't be allowed to vote. We certainly don't need MKs that seek the destruction of Israel. As far as building is concerned, we don't tell the rest of the world where they can or can't build and they should not tell us. The problem is that the Israelis aren't convinced that this is our land. This should be solved first then the rest of the world will understand. For now, we should build where we need to and not make provocative statements.
    Be strong and of good courage!

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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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