During the past two years the government of Israel had a willing partner for peace in President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. An agreement could have readily been concluded which would have established a Palestinian state and finally resolved the issue of West Bank Jewish settlements. Abbas repeatedly asked Netanyahu to place a freeze on West Bank settlements and cease taking over Muslim areas of East Jerusalem. There was strong evidence Abbas would have agreed to a compromise under which most Jewish West Bank settlements remained under the control of Israel, but Benjamin Netanyahu was only concerned about playing to the right wing religious fanatics who did not want peace and regarded the end goal as complete control of the West Bank. Netanyahu now is furious because Fatah and Hamas have agreed to reconciliation. Under an agreement developed by Egyptian negotiators, Fatah and Hamas will cede power to an interim government of technocrats who will organize free elections for the legislature and the presidency.
The only response from Netanyahu was that “you can’t have peace with Hamas and Israel.” Well, Abbas tried for two years to get an agreement with Israel and was denied such an accord. Frankly, there was no opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to reach an agreement with Israel due to lack of interest on the part of Netanyahu.
We expect that Netanyahu will now play to the Republican crowd in Congress and to right wing fanatics. The nightmare scenarios is another Jihad and more deaths– of both Israelis and Palestinians.