With Bennett in power, no hope for Palestinian peace
Last week Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he was opposed to a Palestinian state. “It would be a terrible mistake … I won’t do that,” he said while a source close to him said earlier that “there is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and neither will there be ”.
When Bennett was Minister of Economy and Trade and leader of the Jewish House political party (HaBayit HaYehudi), he argued that the West Bank was not under occupation because “there never was ‘Palestinian state here’. According to him, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved but must be endured, like a “shrapnel in the butt.” This is the metaphor he used in a speech to the Council of Judea and Samaria in 2013.
Bennett, a staunch supporter of Jewish settlements and the annexation of most of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, introduced the moral: “The attempt to establish a Palestinian state in our homeland is over; he has reached an impasse.
Bennett’s dangerous and destructive statements against the two-state solution, legal and just peace, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital are not new.
“Anyone who walks in Judea and Samaria knows that what they are saying in the corridors of Annapolis and Oslo is far from the truth,” Bennett also said.
Such statements and many others cannot be lightly dismissed or ignored as they were made by one of the most powerful Israeli ministers of the time. And now he even runs the country.
For those who follow Israeli politics closely, it is not at all surprising to see Bennett’s ultranationalist views as well as those of his right-wing nationalist party, The New Right (HaYamin HeHadash).
Bennett is described as “a territorial nationalist” and has long opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, including in the context of a two-state solution. He has been a strong supporter of the illegal Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian lands. This is his ideology, and his approach today has not changed and was expressed in an interview he gave to the New York Times before his recent trip to Washington.
“This government will neither annex nor establish a Palestinian state; everyone understands that, ”he said. “Israel will pursue the standard policy of natural settlement growth in the West Bank. “
The new policy
The new Israeli government, which came to power on June 13, is too fragile to take serious action on a peace front. In addition, its Prime Minister Bennett and three of the eight coalition parties are adamantly opposed to land concessions to the Palestinians.
Even before getting formal approval, the rotating Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government raised many questions about its political agenda and its potential contribution to achieving a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Three months after its inauguration, political analysts and pundits continue to debate whether the fragile Bennett government will actually survive its two-year tenure, after which Lapid will replace Bennett as prime minister for another two years. They continue to wonder how such an ideologically disparate and irrelevant assortment of cowardly allies, united by their common hatred for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could transform their political commitment into an effective and enduring governing coalition, especially on the substantive question of future relations. with the Palestinians.
It is clear that this coalition in Israel must only survive by meeting the minimum possible requirements of its eight constituent partners without jeopardizing the fragile arrangement that brought them together.
Bennett’s limited political agenda is obviously governed by his ideology and the general principles agreed upon by the parties when they joined the coalition on June 11, 2021.
There are no detailed foreign policy objectives for the Palestinians. Indeed, the main reference to the Palestinians was an indirect reference to “Area C” in the occupied West Bank, which Israel fully controls, with the agreement emphasizing the parties’ commitment to “securing Israel’s national interests. And to strengthen the Israeli armed forces. prevent Palestinians from building houses in the area, in accordance with old Israeli policies and illegal settlement practices in the territories.
Israeli occupation continues
It only means the continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine despite the widely touted inclusion of the United Arab List (Ra’am) in the coalition, which has pledged to defend the rights of Palestinians on both sides of the border. – saying “Green Line”.
During his recent visit to the United States, King Abdullah II of Jordan confirmed privately and publicly that he had met Bennett secretly and that he had in mind the question of how to “bring people back to the table” to resume frozen talks. since 2014, although the new government led by Bennett was not “the most ideal” for a peace process.
Based on his performance so far, Bennett and his government will not make the change they hoped for, and his statement that “as long as I have power and control, I will not cede an inch of land in the Land. of Israel ”will be dominant.
It is clear that Bennett is not seeking to end or even manage the conflict. Instead, he prefers to “shrink” it until the conflict sinks into unconsciousness.
Israeli politicians regularly assert that Israel is ready to negotiate but has “no partner for peace.” However, the truth is that Israel, regardless of its ruling coalitions or prime ministers, ignores international summits, United Nations resolutions and is comfortable with the current situation, which is becoming increasingly entrenched in the question of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
This reality confirms the permanence of the de facto apartheid policy denying the Palestinians the right to national self-determination. Meanwhile, the United States still lacks an appropriate regional policy and the international community silently watches as the Palestinians fight relentlessly for their rights and statehood. So the picture is bleak.