“Palestine smashed against the wall of reality,” said Israeli Minister Bennett on June 2, after a Palestinian unity government was sworn in Ramallah. Unusually violent, the statement reflected an Israeli change of attitude towards Palestine.
Unity spoils Israel’s Divide and Rule policy
Since 2006, the Palestinian Authority was split between the West Bank and Gaza.
In the 2006 popular elections, Hamas member Ismail Haniyeh was elected Prime Minister, only to find brutal opposition from Israel. He was dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, but this was not recognized in Gaza.
Since then, the Fatah (main party within the PLO) ran the West Bank while Hamas controlled Gaza. The tiny Palestinian Authority was split, allowing Israel easier manipulation. Divide and Rule is a favorite tactic of empires; it seldom fails.
Subsequently, Israel increased the annexation pace of the West Bank.
The blockade imposed on Gaza by the military rulers of Egypt worsened the situation caused by the Israeli blockade. Abbas accepted the collapse of the talks with Israel in April and was looking for a way to save Palestine.
The situation became so perilous that the two Palestinian governments decided to put a successful end to the negotiations held since the split. This ended in a new government of technocrats being sworn in Monday.
President Abbas said “an end to Palestinian division.” Hamas’ exiting Prime Minister Haniyeh said that it was an “historic day, which we forged together for the sake of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.”
Defined “technocratic,” most ministers in the new government are not affiliated to political parties. The Palestinian prime minister is Rami Hamdallah. His two deputies are related to Fatah, Abbas’ party.
During the first meeting, President Abbas said, “The government is committed to the two-state solution along the 1967 border lines, recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and respecting past agreements,” and added, “Cooperation with Israel regarding security matters will continue so as to preserve the Palestinian interest.”
Smash and Grab
Horrified watching how Divide and Rule collapsed faster than an ice-cream in the desert, Israeli ministers announced what can be described as a Smash and Grab policy.
Abovementioned Bennet and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lieberman were the first to react, before entering the National Security Cabinet special meeting.
Lieberman said, “There is no need to utter unnecessary statements. If we need to do something, it will be done.”
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, and Religious Services Naftali Bennett was more explicit, issuing unacceptable threats. He is the leader of the Jewish Home party. This Religious-Zionist party is a key member in Netanyahu’s current government and the only religious party in it (see The Rise of the Jewish Home).
“The Palestinian State smashed against the wall of reality. A government of terrorists in suits created by Fatah and Hamas . . .
” . . . an illegitimate government. Thus, the Government of Israel unanimously decided not to recognize it . . .
“It is time to move from defensive to offensive and do what is good for Israel. The sovereignty plan that we have proposed is the only solution to the Palestinian non-surrendering and to the rejection of the Israeli left to a solution.
“Time does not favor us; every day in which we do not initiate and act, puts Israeli citizens in danger and broadcast to the world that there is no price [to be paid] for terror against Jews.”
Representing mainly West Bank settlers, Bennett is promoting a unilateral annexation of the West Bank. PM Netanyahu said in recent days, following the collapse of the talks with Palestine, Israel will take unilateral steps, without specificity. Last year, the IDF exercised the conquest of Gaza City.
Walla! (Hebrew rendering of French Voila, a popular Hebrew portal) reported that a “national-level source” (code name for prime minister speaking off the record) said that the National Security Cabinet will approve a list of sanctions against Palestine. It will include economic sanctions, political limitations and travel denial of Palestinian VIPs.
In parallel, the same anonymous source added, Israel will work at the US Congress in order to achieve a cut in the foreign help to Palestine. In 2013, the USA gave it $440 million. The mysterious source knows; he has American and Israeli citizenships and is in power thanks to American help.
Who is illegitimate?
I must thank Minister Bennett for mentioning the issue of legitimacy. Israel claims now that Palestine’s government is illegitimate, but what about its Israeli counterpart?
Israel declared independence under a resolution of the UN, which conditioned it on the fulfillment of certain requisites. Israel never met them, see Is Israel Sovereign?.
In 2009, Operation Cast Lead led the UN to adopt a decision defining Israel as a “Terror Inflicting” organization, as expanded in Justice from the Hip. This the international parallel of Bennett’s declarations. His government could be defined as composed of terrorists in American-tailored suits.
Is Israel claiming that it has the right to violate others and that those others do not have the right of self-defense? Is that the core of the Hollywoodian Jewish-Heart?
Ro’i Tov is the author of “The Cross of Bethlehem.” His website is Words from a Christian Israeli Refugee.