I watched Benyamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress yesterevening. He laid a heavy emphasis on the strong relationship between Israel and the US. He thanked the United States for her support for Israeli. Well may Israel say thanks! They have much to be thankful for. What does the US get in return? Little beyond words. They can use Israel as a jumping off point for campaigns in the Middle East but seldom do so. From Israel it is mostly take take take. There is very little give. Admittedly there is not much they can give to the best armed and richest country in the world. However, the Israeli Government is not even willing to make significant concessions to the Palestinians in order to achieve a peace that will be beneficial to the US.
Netanyahu said that Israel was prepared to make painful concessions to Palestine but this is false. He says this because it allows him to present his government – however unconvincingly – as reasonable, as minded to compromise. He has rejected key parts of President Obama’s peace proposal. Netanyahu said that Palestine must be demilitarised if it is to be fully sovereign. One would be forgiven for thinking that it was Palestine that had dispossessed Israelis. Yes the Middle East is unstable partly because the Israeli Government keeps destabilising it by sequestering Palestinian property.One of his preconditions for negotiation is for Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah to break the coalition with Hamas. I admit that Hamas is horrendous but many Zionists are no better. Hamas is the more popular party in Palestine. Would it be fair for Chairman Abbas to say that he will only parley with the Israeli Labour Party when they disassociate themselves from Likud because Likud are a bunch of militant religious nuts? I do not think that Netanyahu would find this proposition to be reasonable.
The Israeli Prime Minister noted that Israeli is smaller than every state in the US bar Rhode Island and Delaware. However, Palestine is even smaller than that. The Palestine that is actually under Palestinian control is tiny. There is such myopia on the part of B. Netanyahu and many of his supporters. If anyone in this conflict is vulnerable it is the Palestinians.
Mr Netanyahu did not allude to the fact that he is a US citizen himself. Not in the portion of his address that I watched anyhow.
The worrying part was how much he was applauded by Congress. There were even several standing ovations. I thought that it took a little mettle not to stand as certain Congressmen chose to remain seated.
Depressingly there is no sign that the US Government will put considerable pressure on Tel Aviv to get serious about peace. Of course B. Netanyahu is insincere about this. If he were to make major concessions this would dismay the supporters if Likud.