Netanyahu Ups The Ante Again


In another blatant "go Cheney yourself" to both president Obama and any Palestinian representatives seeking a two-state solution, the Israeli prime minister decided to make this lovely gesture for peace this past weekend:

On Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu laid out a $100 million government plan to rehabilitate what he called “archaeological and Zionist heritage sites,” during a special cabinet meeting held in northern Israel at Tel Hai, the scene of a 1920 battle between Arabs and early Zionist settlers. He said he intended to include the Cave of the Patriarchs, also known as Ibrahimi Mosque, the Hebron shrine revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians as the burial place of Abraham, on the list of about 150 sites. In 1994, a Jewish settler, Baruch Goldstein, fatally shot 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers inside the shrine. Mr. Netanyahu said he also planned to include Rachel’s Tomb, a shrine just inside the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Yes: the site of the massacre by far right settler hero, Brooklyn-born Baruch Goldstein, deemed as holy by Muslims and Jews, will become a "Zionist heritage site". Sensitive timing, no? Then, for good measure - just as Mitchell was shuttling forth between both sides - this:

Mr. Netanyahu took the opportunity of the approaching holiday of Tu Bishvat, a Jewish arbor day, to reaffirm Israel’s claim to the Etzion bloc of settlements just south of Jerusalem. “Our message is clear,” he said during a tree-planting ceremony there. “We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here. This place will be an inseparable part of the State of Israel for eternity.”

The man is either a fanatic or a politician who has to cater to fanatics. This follows the Dubai assassination and a refusal by the far right foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to meet some US congressmen because they were escorted by J-Street. If people cannot see how radical and a dangerous the Jerusalem government is increasingly becoming, they have blinkers on.

When, one wonders, is the US going to stand up to these brazen acts of contempt for an ally and deliberate attempts to poison relations so that no peace process has any chance of starting?

(Photo: Israeli soldiers stand guard near the the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank town of Hebron on February 23, 2010. Stone-throwing Palestinians were clashing with Israeli troops in Hebron amid outrage over Israel's plan to restore two flashpoint Jewish holy sites in the occupied territory, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem in a 100-million-dollar plan to restore national heritage sites. By Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)