In yet another sign that Israel has lost the plot, Europe is weary of the Israeli prime minister’s claims re Iran, writes Philip Stephens, lead columnist at the Financial Times, in a piece titled “Israel is losing its friends in the world:”
When Mr Netanyahu warns about the nuclear threat from Iran, even those who worry deeply about Tehran’s intentions, respond with a weary shrug. The warnings are seen as a diversion – an effort to distract from his refusal to accept a Palestinian state rather than a clear-headed assessment of a present danger.
Stephens’s piece is a full-on attack on Netanyahu for his latest settlement expansion, which guaranteed the passage of the British Parliament’s Palestinian state recognition, a monument of bipartisanship in the House of Commons. “Israel had lobbied hard against the motion. It was soon obvious it had lost its best friends.” This sounds like a call for regime change.
The Gaza onslaught, which killed 2100 Palestinians and left tens of thousands homeless, fosters only deep cynicism:
European governments had backed Mr Abbas’s initiative to forge a joint administration with Hamas as a prelude to serious peace talks [in April]. Now they speculate that the Gaza operation was Mr Netanyahu’s attempt to wreck any accommodation.These episodes have… drained patience and trust and led many to believe Mr Netanyahu prefers a permanent state of war to a difficult peace. Yet the alternative to two states, as I have heard often during visits to Israel, is one state that comes to resemble apartheid South Africa.
Britain is sure to recognize a Palestinian state before long, Stephens says.
Obviously the British vote has made a big difference in the U.S. This new climate is why J Street is hammering on Netanyahu and settlements (after it abandoned the settlements as an issue a few years ago in favor of “borders”). And here is Peace Now’s Lara Friedman:
Israel is indeed losing friends in the international community. This is not because of rising global anti-Semitism, or successful Palestinian public relations campaigns. Rather, it is because pro-settlement forces – Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of his Cabinet; [Amos] Yadlin, [Elie] Wiesel and their fellow travelers – are recklessly sacrificing Israel’s relationships and its future at the altar of Elad and its ilk, in the service of the messianic dream of Greater Israel.
Netanyahu’s Israel is increasingly on the defensive. Note what the Defense Minister said two days ago:
“I am not looking for a solution, I am looking for a way to manage the conflict and maintain relations in a way that works for our interests.”