Analysis: Is Israel spitting in America's face?

What happened Wednesday was not the passage of the bill into law, but the killing of the bill; no Palestinian lost any land Wednesday, and no settler came any closer to keeping any.

By
November 17, 2016 06:31
2 minute read.
THE AMONA OUTPOST is seen in the Binyamin region of the West Bank

THE AMONA OUTPOST is seen in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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The international community, led by the administration of outgoing US president Barack Obama, is furious at Israel for advancing a bill that would legalize outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.

The report said the Obama administration saw the bill’s passage in a preliminary reading Wednesday as “spitting in their face.”

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It is certainly likely that when Obama administration officials saw Netanyahu voting for the controversial bill, they wanted to roast the prime minister on a spit.

But if the world, led by the White House, is indeed that upset, it shows how little they understand about the legislative process in Israel.

What happened Wednesday was not the passage of the bill into law, but the killing of the bill. No Palestinian lost any land Wednesday, and no settler came any closer to keeping any.

The legislation now has to go through three more votes in the plenum, with many committee meetings and votes in between, before it becomes law.

Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon will now insist on removing key operative clauses from the bill. Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett will refuse. And Netanyahu will find plenty of logical reasons why the time is not right to move it forward.



The international community should not even see it as news that a right-wing government advanced a right-wing bill. The real news for them should be that because of the changes Kahlon is insisting upon, even a government the world sees as so right-wing cannot pass the Right’s agenda.

Media outlets around the world also took very seriously another bill that has not yet advanced in the Knesset, the so-called muezzin bill. Now we have a situation where the world has not paid enough attention to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s willingness to freeze construction outside settlement blocs.

This is not Ariel Sharon, who in return for withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, obtained a commitment from then-US president George W. Bush’s administration that, “in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”

This is Liberman, the leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party, the West Bank settler, the man about whom the international community criticized Netanyahu bringing in as his minister of defense.

If the international community saw Liberman’s appointment as a sign Israel was distancing itself from the two-state solution, his announcement Wednesday should be a wakeup call to the world about how wrong they were.

If only the international community was within spitting distance of getting it right.

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