Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I vote idealogue

Re: the "great question" referenced in the second paragraph of JMM's piece

If Netanyahu were a "political opportunist" he could be using foreign disapproval of the settlements to tamp down on settlement expansion. If he wasn't committed to seizing as much land as he can, he could be telling his coalition partners that while he would like to expand the settlements, Israel can't risk further alienating its allies, including the U.S.

He isn't doing that. Instead, he is making a show at thumbing his nose at the U.S., by far the most important ally that Israel has, and marching ahead with the displacement of Arab residents around Jerusalem.

In other words, I don't think Bibi is a chickenshit, because that assumes that he secretly wants to make peace with the Palestinians but is too scared of losing power to do what he needs to do to pull it off. There really is no reason to believe that Netanyahu is secretly a peacemaker. Just about every thing he has done in his political career suggests precisely the opposite. The thing that first propelled him into the Prime Minister position was a backlash against the Oslo treaty. Although he has since (reluctantly) embraced the rhetoric of the "two state solution", there is virtually nothing in his very public history to support the idea that he has any commitment to anything other than territorial maximalism and opposition to any steps that would increase real Palestianian autonomy.