Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in Berlin Wednesday to “defend the fort” against charges its building plans will torpedo a Palestinian Authority state that the international community presumes must be established according to the PA’s territorial demands and without declaring peace.
Israel announced building plans for Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in a swift reaction to the United Nations vote to grant the PA Non-Member Observer status, and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has followed up with declarations that the Palestinian Authority now is a de facto state based on its own definitions of borders.
Germany said it was "deeply concerned" about the Israeli plans and urged the Jewish state to reverse its decision.
Netanyahu’s insistence that the government is acting out of a need for self-defense has begun to soften opposition.
EU's ambassador to Israel, Andrew Standley, said on Tuesday that not only has Israel not indicated it will change its policy, but also, "There have been in fact, to the contrary, further messages or announcements saying Israel will act upon what it considers to be its strategic interests, which may suggest that if it sees more measures as necessary, it will take more measures," AFP reported.
The Palestinian Authority is playing its diplomatic victory in the UN for all it is worth, if not more.
Reacting to the Israeli announcement of new building for Jews, senior Abbas aide Nabil Sha'ath said that "by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC,” the International Court where the PA can now appeal by virtue of its new status in the United Nations.
Simultaneously, Netanyahu has to fight off virtually a single voice of foreign and Israel media condemnation, disinformation and sometimes reports that rewrite history into fiction.
“Netanyahu embarrassed Obama,” read a headline this week in Yediot Acharonot, Israel’s largest-selling newspaper, which along with Voice of Israel government radio and Channel One television has been leading an anti-Netanyahu campaign for years.
Voice of Israel this week interviewed political leaders with an obvious bent against the building plans, while other newspapers, including those for English speakers, gave play to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said he really does not see why Israel opposed the Palestinian Authority move in the United nations.
Foreign news services took pains to show favor to the Palestinian Authority. The AFP news agency reported on the furor with a picture of sheep grazing in the Judean desert. The caption stated, “Where sheep may no longer safely graze: Israel plans to build 3,000 settler homes on this land," without noting that Bedouin have illegally squatted on tens of thousands of acres of government land and that it is totally barren.
The New York Times accused Prime Minister Netanyahu in an editorial Tuesday of being seemingly “determined to escalate a crisis” without noting that the PA bid to the United Nations was an explicit violation of the Oslo Accords, which calls for direct talks to resolve differences.
The newspaper charged that the Israeli housing plans and suspension of transferring taxes collected on behalf of the PA are “punitive, shortsighted moves threaten to crush the Palestinian Authority, and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has recognized Israel’s right to exist and represents the only credible peace negotiator.” The monies are being used against the enormous debt the PA owes Israel for electricity.
The editorial assumes recognition of Israel, which Abbas never has stated except to acknowledge that such a country exists but without his defining its borders.
The New York Times and virtually every other mainstream media outlet maintain that the “peace process’ and “negations” still are viable, adopting Abbas’ reasoning that although he has refused negotiations that do not have a pre-determined outcome in his favor, his going to the UN is a way to bring Israel to agree to what he calls negotiations.
TIME magazine’s Karl Vick pitched in to write on Tuesday a totally inaccurate picture of Israel’s allegedly having built “freeways…atop Palestinian land.”
He noted that Gaza is separated from the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, a natural condition that resulted from Egypt’s gladly forfeiting Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967, when Jordanian soldiers fled Judea and Samaria.
Vick also wrote that completion of Israel’s building plans “would make it impossible to travel from, say, Ramallah to Hevron,” which is not true. Highway 60 links Hevron, Jerusalem and Jewish communities in northern Samaria and both Jews and Arabs travel it freely.
He also claimed that the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that started 20 years ago were aimed at “creating a Palestinian state beside Israel, roughly on the border that separated the two populations until 1967.”
The conditions and commitments written in the Oslo Accords have been ignored by mainstream media, which have largely adopted Abbas’ position for a PA state based on his own definitions and without negotiations.
The peace talks in the 1990s never stated that an independent Palestinian Authority country was a goal, and they explicitly stated that any such entity's borders would be determined through negotiations.