Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:15 PM
Purveyor (21,680 posts)
With West Focused On Iran, Netanyahu Moves To Expand Israeli Settlements
By Ben Lynfield, Correspondent / April 12, 2012
Ulpana Outpost, West Bank
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving to expand Israeli settlements in the West Bank at a time when international attention is focused elsewhere, with President Obama gearing up for reelection and the West targeting Iran's nuclear program.
Last week, the Netanyahu government took a variety of steps that, taken together, amount to a significant strengthening of Israel's hold in the West Bank, the biblically resonant territory occupied in 1967, which Palestinians claim as the heartland for their future state.
For Netanyahu, who heads a right-wing coalition with a strong pro-settler contingent, it was a delicate dance of one small step back and six larger steps forward for settlements.
On April 4, the prime minister backed the evacuation of a house illegally occupied by settlers in the flashpoint city of Hebron, endorsing his attorney general's position that there was no legal argument for approving the settler takeover. That angered some among his hard-line constituency, including Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha Council that represents 300,000 settlers. ''It is intolerable that Jews cannot exercise their property rights simply because they are Jews,'' Dayan says.
8 replies, 1217 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
With West Focused On Iran, Netanyahu Moves To Expand Israeli Settlements (Original post)
|Crunchy Frog||Apr 2012||#8|
Response to Purveyor (Original post)
Mon Apr 16, 2012, 06:18 PM
Scurrilous (27,176 posts)
5. Netanyahu fears victory over Iran's nuclear program
It appears that the sanctions campaign and/or the fear of a military assault are liable to push the Iranian nuclear issue off the Israeli and international agenda.
"A recent skit on the sketch comedy "Eretz Nehederet" featured a "debate" about the Iranian nuclear program between U.S. and Israeli leaders.
After some discussion, U.S. President Barack Obama accedes to the position of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and he urges them to attack Iran. Netanyahu and Barak exchange frightened glances and plead with Obama to stop them.
Here's an idea for a different version of a sketch on the same subject: After the talks that began on Saturday between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, Obama tells Netanyahu and Barak that Iran has agreed to restrict its uranium enrichment and open its nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. Bibi looks at his defense minister with a crestfallen expression and mutters angrily: "What are we going to do without the Hitler of Tehran? Who will we say is threatening us with a second Holocaust?"
It has recently come to seem increasingly likely that this scenario could become more than just satire. Take the ruling by Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banning the production, storage and use of nuclear weapons. Or the Washington Post opinion piece by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in which he said Iran has already expressed its opposition to weapons of mass destruction. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has promised "good news" at the end of the talks between Iran and the six powers. It appears that the sanctions campaign and/or the fear of a military assault are liable to push the Iranian nuclear issue off the Israeli and international agenda.
From Netanyahu's perspective, the suspension of the Iranian nuclear threat could become a Pyrrhic victory: The world powers will turn toward other crises in the Middle East - including, of course, the Israeli occupation and its injustices. Without having to fear an Iranian nuclear bomb, Israelis are liable to get involved in the demographic and democratic issues in their own country. If the prime minister doesn't cut down on settlements and accept the June 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution, he will go down in history as the leader who contributed to the isolation of Iran while simultaneously intensifying Israel's isolation. For how long will Israel be able to close its doors to peace activists or hide behind the childish argument that the human rights situation in Syria is much worse than in the territories occupied by "the only democracy in the Middle East?"