Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pretends that he is a peace-maker but deep down in his heart, he is driven by a hatred of Palestinians and will do anything to prevent the creation of a Palestinian State. Rather than support a "Road Map for Peace," Netanyahu's entire political existence has been spent building a "Road Block to Peace."
Netanyahu's policies are intended to undermine the chances of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, but to make him appear as if he is conciliatory, addresses the issue of peace without being peaceful.
Netanyahu responded to the inspirational speech by President Barack Obama to the Arab and Muslim World but defining a cleverly disguised statement of extremism to undermine Obama's efforts to usher in a genuinely fair and just peace between longtime foes, Israelis and Palestinians.
Netanyahu has demanded that there be no pre-conditions, but he is the pre-condition master, throwing obstacles in front of Obama he knows will trip up peace the way he tripped up peace the last time he served as Israel's prime minister.
Netanyahu says no pre-conditions, but demands these pre-conditions for himself: No discussion or negotiations on Jerusalem. He insists that not only must Arabs recognize Israel's right to exist -- which they have done without any quid pro-quo. He now insists that Arabs must also recognize Israel's Jewish character -- what does that mean exactly since Palestinians have already, repeatedly, recognized Israel's right to exist in the pre-1967 borders?
In his most strident move, Netanyahu rejects any compromise on settlements, insisting that he will expand them and build them. The real obstacle to achieving peace is not Palestinian resistance to Israel's occupation but Israel's own continued confiscation and theft of Palestinian lands to build and expand illegal settlements in the West bank.
Netanyahu is not a man of peace. He is not a visionary for peace, either. He shows a disdain for the Palestinians that prevents him from making the compromises that are required to achieve peace.
Most disappointing is the failure of mainstream Israelis to challenge Netanyahu and to call his hatred and extremism what it really is. Instead, they excuse Netanyahu in part because they are conditioned to defending Israel with knee-jerk blindness. Israel can do no wrong in their eyes and that failure to hold Netanyahu and their own government accountable for the undermining of peace is in fact the biggest obstacle to peace. When Israelis one day wake up and become moderates and embrace genuine compromise based on fairness, respect and justice, there will be peace.
Until then, Palestinians and Israelis are being pushed into more conflict thanks to Netanyahu and an Israeli society that is in denial.
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