For the first time in the 30 years that I've been following this story, the Palestinians are making a good faith effort to govern themselves effectively--the subject of my print column this week--on the West Bank. Which means that the Israelis--who have made most of the good faith efforts toward peace in the past--are increasingly seen as the primary obstacle to a two-state solution, especially given the presence of right-wing fanatics in Netanyahu's government who are completely opposed to any sort of deal. And so, the question: Are Bibi's recent actions calculated to provoke the Palestinians? Does he want to prove to the world that you still can't trust those volatile Arabs? I mean, if he were really caught up in historicity, he might propose a tripartite commission--Muslim, Christian and Jew--to establish the mutual designation of historic sites on both sides of the green line. But I have a sneaking feeling that this isn't about historicity at all.
This is about killing any peace process, telling Obama to jump off a cliff and annexing the West Bank for eternity. Some readers have said that Netanyahu was merely trying to make the Cave of the Patriarchs an "archeological" site and not a "Zionist" one. But it's clear from the Israeli press that this site will be added to a list of "national heritage sites" and their inclusion was at the behest of two far-right religious parties.
The meretricious move has outraged Abbas and given Hamas an opportunity to call for renewed violence. At some point, even the US press is going to have to cover this as what it is.