Israel Sleepwalking Into Crisis Over Jewish Settlements on Occupied Palestinian Land

News Analysis

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By Reuters

Published February 06, 2013.
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Many ordinary Israelis see deep-rooted anti-Semitism at play in the criticism that is raining down on their nation, with the politically divided Palestinians only rarely admonished in the court of world opinion for their own missteps.

“The issue of delegitimisation goes beyond a simple United Nations report. We are aware of the situation as Jewish people and worried by it,” said Zalman Shoval, another former Israeli ambassador to the United States who is close to Netanyahu.

However, he predicted that Obama and the prime minister would be able to find some way to resuscitate the peace process, which collapsed in 2010 after the Palestinians refused to take further part unless settlement building ceased.

“Knowing what Mr. Netanyahu’s plans are in trying to move the conundrum forward … I think cooperation between the two leaders will be very successful,” Shoval said, without elaborating.

Before he meets Obama, Netanyahu must first assemble a new coalition - a particularly tricky task given the unexpected success of the new centrist party Yesh Atid (There is a Future).

Although many of the thorniest issues are entwined with domestic affairs, Yesh Atid has said that re-starting peace negotiations should be Netanyahu’s main foreign policy goal.

That sits uneasily with many of Netanyahu’s party faithful who reject the two-state solution. It will also be hard to square with another natural coalition partner - the pro-settler Jewish Home, which wants to annex much of the West Bank.

The top selling Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth said on Wednesday the surprise announcement on Tuesday that Obama was planning an imminent visit would thrust peace considerations to the top of the agenda in the ongoing coalition talks.

“Barack Obama is urging Benjamin Netanyahu to find solutions, and there is no room here for deceptions. The State of Israel is likely to find itself in another few weeks poised before one of its most important moments of truth,” it wrote.


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