Yalla peace: A declaration of no peace

Netanyahu’s speech before Congress was the most stunning example of a leader intentionally missing an chance to bring about an agreement.

May 24, 2011 23:39
3 minute read.
PM shakes hands with US congresspeople

PM shakes hands with US congresspeople 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

I don’t know which is more occupied by Israel, the West Bank and its millions of Palestinian Christians and Muslims, or the US Congress which consists mostly of American politicians who are more pro- Israel than most Israelis.

How else can you describe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “tour” which began with a deep-freeze meeting with President Barack Obama, an uncompromising speech to his base constituency at AIPAC and his climactic pro-Israel rally at a joint session of the US Congress?

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Netanyahu’s speech was intentionally insulting to Obama in a very personal manner, as demonstrated by the lengthy applause that Netanyahu received that exceeded any applause that Obama has ever received from the Congress.

Any American watching Netanyahu’s rock concert-like performance at the Joint Session of Congress recognized right away that his priority was to politically slap Obama in the face, rather than outline, as his aides had promised, a peace plan with the Palestinians.

There was no peace plan. The only plan Netanyahu offered was a plan for continued conflict, telling Palestinians that they have no future, while demanding that they recognize Israel’s right to exists (as the Palestinians did in 1988, and six times since).

Netanyahu’s vision is a declaration that the only option before us is conflict, telling Palestinian moderates like myself that peace is impossible with Netanyahu’s Israel and that we are headed towards a future of worsening conflict.

It was the most stunning example of a Middle East leader intentionally missing an opportunity to bring about a peace accord.

Netanyahu's speech was replete with one-sided claims and exaggerated reviews of history. Most insulting was his reference to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria” which is no different, insultwise, to how Arab extremists often describe Israel as the “Zionist Entity.”

For moderates who believe in peace, there was nothing to cheer in Netanyahu’s statements. If he can’t have the blind support of the president, he is happy to have the backing of Congress, Israel’s greatest cheerleader, judging by the 26 standing ovations Congressmen and women gave him during the speech.

Netanyahu basically rejected any negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, much as he has done in the past. This time, his excuse was the unit deal with Hamas.

Nowhere in his speech did Netanyahu acknowledge that in his own coalition holds some vicious extremists, people who refuse to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people.

Netanyahu’s speech was the clearest declaration that the future of peace does not lie in negotiations.

The only option the Palestinians have to achieve statehood is by taking their case to the United Nations in September, come what may.

Palestinians should be prepared for an angry backlash from Israel, but declaring statehood and receiving UN recognition is the only road left.

The prime minister believes wrongly that the prodemocracy protests in the region show that the Arab world does not care about Israel’s Palestinian problem. But it does. And Israel’s confrontational reaction to the move will only serve as the catalyst to refocus the Arab street against Israel in a more powerful way than before.

The prime minister’s actions make it impossible for Palestinians to believe that Israel is sincere in its desire for peace.

Israelis can choose a future based on peace and two states, or they can embrace Netanyahu’s fatalistic strategy.

The writer is an award-winning columnist and media consultant. He can be reached at www.hanania.com

Related Content

Men pray at the Western Wall, Tisha B'av, 2018
July 21, 2018
Finding a new meaning in an old date on the Jewish-Israeli calendar