Jeffrey Goldberg Bloomberg View Article “Israel Chooses Settlements Over Friends”
On October 23rd, 2014, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a piece on Bloomberg View entitled “Israel Chooses Settlements Over Friends.” In the piece, Goldberg makes a number of excellent points highlighting the political positions of the current administration of Benjamin Netanyahu and this government, and the reason why he does not seem to understand why so many are continually critical of Israel’s ongoing rights violations in the Palestine Occupied Territories. In the piece, Goldberg states that
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government fervently believes that the Jewish settlements in the West Bank — whose expansion it supports — are irrelevant to its conflict with the Palestinians. Rather, the Israeli government thinks that the core of the conflict is located in what it sees as the Arab rejection of the Jewish people’s right to a nation-state in even a part of the Jewish ancestral homeland.”
Goldberg goes on to explain that the relationship between the United States and Israeli leadership is becoming more tense, in large part because of Israel’s continued settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. As Goldberg explains,
“The war of words between the Israeli and U.S. governments is steadily intensifying. Shortly after a cease-fire reached late this summer brought a pause to the ongoing, violent conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli government appropriated almost 1,000 acres of West Bank land, prompting condemnatory statements from theObama administration and other Israel-friendly governments. A few weeks ago, after Israel announced construction of a housing development in East Jerusalem, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest warned that the project would “distance Israel from even its closest allies” and “call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”
Goldberg also talks about Israel’s concern about the rise of extremism in the region, but makes an important point that this in no way excuses Israeli’s actions with regards to continued settlements, which will make a future Palestinian state very difficult.
This is why the criticism of Israel’s settlements must continue. Netanyahu does not seem to have an interest in stopping the settlement expansion; he has shown little to suggest that he is committed to ending the settlements. Therefore, the world must continue to speak out against such actions, day after day. While international public opinion has voiced their anger at Israel’s actions in Gaza, the West Bank, and in East Jerusalem, there must be a continue voice to call out the rights violations of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is unfortunate that the individuals and parties in Israel that are truly willing to work for a peace with the Palestinians have little say in policy with Netanyahu’s party and supporters in power, because there needs to be a serious commitment by both sides for peace, and with Netanyahu’s recent policies in Gaza, as well as his criticism of those who challenge the settlements, as Goldberg points out, it is likely that Netanyahu will continue to further isolate himself in the international system, and the world continues to see what Netanyahu’s interests are (territorial expansion), and what they are not (namely peace and a two-state solution with Palestinians).