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July 13, 2020

Netanyahu’s tactics

Opinion

July 13, 2020

Land seizures, annexations, and conquest. These are words axiomatic to the state of Israel. In the main, the state has maintained an uncomfortable position based on patience and attrition. We have waited this long; you will wait longer.

Be it dispossessed Palestinians and their aspirations for state recognition or what are loosely described as the objections of the “international community”, Israel has imperial staying power. Be patient, and the rage over the abuse of Palestinians will die down.

It is that staying power that navigates the often feeble exhortations to international law that pullulate airwaves and diplomatic traffic. Be it the legality of international settlements, attacks on sovereign countries that have not been given the legitimising wash of the UN Security Council, or Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons – all of these are frowned upon, condemned only to be assimilated into a ceremony of legitimacy. Israel might well be condemned and scolded, but nothing more will come of it. The game of semantics will be played, masking the exertion of brute force.

This pattern threatens to reassert itself in the latest warnings directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise of annexation. The timetabling for this muscular assertion of land pinching remains vague. It is intended to apply to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in the Jordan Valley from this month.

The promise seems, on paper, audacious, foolish, and destructive – and that’s just for starters. Benny Gantz warned that there was little reason to take such action, given the coronavirus crisis and the country’s economic ills. But for Netanyahu, every crisis needs a distraction, even if that distraction is another crisis.

Accordingly, explanations for this annexation drive vary. The “legacy” line of thinking is that Netanyahu wants to leave something to remember him by. David Horowitz ponders the point. “Has Netanyahu decided that this is to be his legacy – as the Israeli leader who formally, permanently reconnected modern Israel to its formative biblical territory? Well, maybe.” Then come those reasons motivated by psychology (keep the people busy with something else instead of focusing on the corruption trial) and ideology (habitual expansionist aided by Washington right-wingers).

Various foreign governments have strong words on the point, but they are not likely to affect the balance sheet of considerations. Netanyahu’s tactics in dealing with the Palestinians tend to be finessed upon domestic considerations and moderated by winds of Washington. Those winds have tended to blow warmly in his favour.

In 2017, the Trump administration recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, though remained abstruse on the scope of sovereignty. President Donald Trump’s peace plan gave Netanyahu much confidence to cock a snook at the Palestinians and his detractors.

Excerpted from: ‘Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive’.

Counterpunch.org