It’s rather ironic: the international community is bitterly ramping up its criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu the builder of settlements — Security Council condemnations, European castigations, American criticisms, et al. But Benjamin Netanyahu the non-builder of settlements is hemorrhaging support to the party on his right.
David Horowitz, Netanyahu battered by the Jewish Home-builder, The Times of Israel, 12/20/12
The upcoming Israeli elections next month are likely to not only give Netanayahu a larger coalition, but a more right-wing one as well. Jonathan Tobin writes about this rightward shift and Why Israel Has Shifted to the Right:
This will give residents and supporters of the settlement movement an even louder voice in the next Knesset than their already healthy contingent in the current one. This will be interpreted by some on the left as a sign of Israel’s depravity or indifference to peace. But the reason for it is clear.One of those who typifies the rightward swing is Naftali Bennett, the new leader of the Jewish Home party. According to David Horowitz, Bennett is outspoken about topics that -- unlike Netanyahu -- he does not have to worry about international backlash:
Whereas in Israel’s past it could be asserted that the Likud represented Israel’s right-wing constituency, it has, to the shock and dismay of many in the left-wing Israeli media, become the center. That is not because more Israelis are supporters of increasing settlement throughout the West Bank. They are not. Rather it is due to the fact that the Israeli center as well as even many on what we used to call the Israeli left have given up on the Palestinians. They know that neither Fatah in the West Bank nor Hamas in Gaza will ever recognize Israel’s legitimacy no matter where its borders are drawn. So they have abandoned those parties that hold onto the illusion of peace in favor of those with a more realistic vision while those on the right are now embracing parties like Habeyit Hayehudi in order to hold Netanyahu’s feet to the fire and prevent him from making concessions that will neither entice the Palestinians to the negotiating table nor increase its popularity abroad.
His party is flatly committed to annexing Area C of the West Bank — the 60 percent of the territory where Israel still maintains full control — and never mind the consequent regional furor, international anger, Palestinian outrage, and likely rupture with Israel’s vital US ally.The rest of the world may have fooled itself into believing that Abbas is a moderate who is willing to make peace with Israel, but Israelis themselves may be have finally come to realize that no amount of concessions to the Palestinian Arabs can help bring peace when there is no one to negotiate with.
Bennett had no hesitation in declaring on Wednesday, “We should say out loud: There will be no Palestinian state.” Those are words Netanyahu simply can’t and won’t utter anymore, and they are sweet music to the ears of the right.
The question now is whether Netanayahu will move forward with the construction that has been proposed, and where renewed Israeli self-confidence will lead.
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