Soon Israel Will Be Left With Just One Friend in the World
The UN resolution and Kerry's speech have essentially ended the era of right-wing settlement.
At the end of the first day of the French Revolution in 1789, King Louis XVI wrote in his diary, “Nothing.” He didn’t think anything had happened; there was nothing to report or to get excited about. He eventually paid for this attitude with his head. Such complete denial of events of apparently fateful importance isn’t characteristic only of distant history. Most of those responding to UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s address are making the same mistake.
For most of them, the resolution, as well as the speech about the important decisions Israel now faces, were too little and too late. From the moment the new U.S. president assumes office in three weeks, it will be swept away with the wind. The Israeli government will see itself free to settle anyplace it chooses in the West Bank, and the perpetuation of the occupation of millions of Palestinians denied basic rights will become an irreversible fact.
But as most of the Jewish people have seen, the raging response of Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers to the resolution and the speech indicated total panic, as they pin their hopes on Donald Trump like frightened children who are waiting for their father to come and beat up their attackers. The expectation of a big change in American policy has given them some breathing space in which they can collect themselves somewhat from the shock of the UN resolution.
Despite the arrogant charges against their critics in Israel and abroad, and despite the huge hugs that they are ostensibly exchanging with the incoming U.S. administration, both Naftali Bennettand Netanyahu in particular – who is, unlike most right-wingers, a man of the world – will have a hard time denying what has really happened. Insisting that it was “nothing” won’t help.
There was a clear decision by the democratic world not to allow Israel to commit suicide with its creeping annexation of the territories. There was also a simple and direct address by John Kerry, which exposed at length, during Israel’s most-watched news hour, the utter necessity for Israel to choose quickly between assuring its existence as the democratic state of the Jewish people and the current right-wing policy, which means a binational Muslim state or an apartheid state that won’t be able to stand up to the world. Both have essentially ended the era of right-wing settlement. Following both these events, no U.S. president, including Trump, can grant the right the go ahead and commit suicidal acts that the entire world, including the most important countries on the international scene, have declared again, with surprising intensity, to be illegal.
It appears that except for the U.S. abstention, there wasn’t much new in the Security Council resolution. These condemnations of Israel have been heard for many years, and until now they haven’t had much influence on Israel’s governments. But this time the entire world has told Netanyahu and his ministers that if they dare continue to slowly steal from the Palestinians, not to mention annex the West Bank or parts of it, Israel will find itself being prosecuted in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and even the most friendly American president will not be able to help, even if he wants to.
If Israel continues to avoid entering serious negotiations that will allow the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with the limitations Kerry outlined, both Bennett and Netanyahu will quickly find themselves in a situation in which the only country open to them when they go abroad will be the United States.