Following the results of the Israeli elections in which the Likud party led by Benjamin Netanyahu won the most seats in the Knesset, it’s time for the United States to make some difficult decisions. In order to push his party over the top, Netanyahu made a last minute statement that he would never agree to a Palestinian state or a divided Jerusalem. In addition, he created fear among Israeli Jews by saying that the opposition party was busing Israeli Arabs to the polls in droves.
That may have worked for Netanyahu in the short term. But it has most certainly created a long-term problem for all of the Middle East, including Israel, and, by extension, the United States. By dismissing the possibility of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu has dashed the hopes of self-determination for millions of Palestinian people – most of whom are refugees pushed off of their land in Israel. Further, Netanyahu has widened the rift between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews by pitting them against each other in the election.
What does all of this mean?
It means that Palestinians no longer have a reason to negotiate peace with Israel. It means that Palestine’s only peaceful option is to pursue state recognition from the world community through the United Nations. It means that the United States will be placed in the awkward position of either continuing its unwavering support of Israel by using its power as a member of the UN Security Council to deny Palestinian statehood or standing up for one of its core beliefs – the right to self-determination. It means that Netanyahu has, in all likelihood, inflamed tensions with Israel’s neighbors, especially Iran. It means that Netanyahu will continue to lead Israel and the United States to the brink of a widespread regional war.
The only apparent way out of Netanyahu’s path toward war is for the US to finally break our so-called “Unbreakable Bond” with Israel.
The voters of Israel have clearly shown that they have prioritized greed and hatred over peace. They have shown that they would rather continue to bully their neighbors and, if possible, the United States (How else could you describe Netanyahu’s speech before Congress?) than give back the land they stole from Palestinians. And they seem to expect the US to back their hard line positions with American treasure and blood.
It’s time for US taxpayers to ask some difficult questions. We should start by asking, what do we get for our approximately $20 billion per year in foreign aid to Israel? We should ask, who is driving US policy in the Middle East? The US government? Or Israelis?
Based on recent decisions by the GOP-led Congress, it’s difficult to tell.