|PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Commentator Emily Hauser, in “Bibi’s Fake Jerusalem,” reminds readers of The Forward that Har Homa — officially an outlying neighborhood of Jerusalem begun in Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister in 1997 — is actually a chunk of the West Bank unilaterally incorporated into Jerusalem. Its creation has everything to do with the fact that Netanyahu defeated Peres in the election of 1996, following Rabin’s assassination and the wave of terrorist attacks launched in retaliation for the killing of Yiyah Ayyash (click for discussion of Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of Palestinians, committed in Hebron on Purim 1994).
|Har Homa in 2010
At this critical juncture in the current round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Netanyahu again shows his preference for expanding settlements to coming to a peace agreement with Mahmoud Abbas. He showed this in the first place by choosing as a trust-building measure, the phased release of Palestinian prisoners instead of a construction freeze in the settlements (the third installment of this release is currently in doubt). Abbas is not above criticism, but it is hard to be confident in a good result for negotiations in the absence of an Israeli leader who does not seem to want to get there.
Postscript: Check out Emily Hauser’s new piece in The American Prospect, in which she lays out her nuanced but strongly-worded position as an American Israeli who opposes BDS, that the only effective response to the BDS movement is to end the occupation:
. . . From the way my community (on either side of the ocean) yells about BDS, you’d think that BDS is the problem. You’d think that for the last 47 years, the BDS movement had been investing Israel’s resources—financial, military, and human—in morally disastrous policies that serve to dispossess the Palestinian people and undermine Israel’s own democracy. You’d think that BDS is behind the settlements and a bifurcated legal system wherein settlers live the good (tax-subsidized) life even as Israel’s military serves as dictator over 2.6 million Palestinians. You’d think that BDS is responsible for settler violence that goes unchecked, human rights abuses that go unremarked upon, and the fact that Israeli and American Jews hardly seem to care about either. You’d think that BDS had built roadblocks and access roads and walls, cutting whole communities off from their incomes, their communities, and their futures. You’d think that rather than being a military powerhouse in possession of nuclear weapons, Israel was the occupied, and BDS the occupier.
Alas, BDS has done none of those things. Israel has. . . .