Now for one of our regular weekly features, the Outrage of the Week.
On September 29, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his speech to the UN General Assembly. To show how seriously he took the event and takes the UN, for the second year in row he arrived after the party was mostly over; after most of the world leaders had given their speeches and left.
The speech itself was described by Barak Ravid of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz as "a tour de force of deja vu," which is a wonderful line, adding, quoting again,
the sound bites and arguments Netanyahu used on Monday have appeared in each of his General Assembly addresses over the last five years.In fact, Tal Shalev of i24news went down a sort of checklist, going, and this is paraphrased but still an accurate quote, "Prop - check; analogies - check; rhetorical questions - check, pop culture references - check; quote from Isaiah - check."
Meanwhile most US news accounts, as is pretty typical, consisted for the most part of pull quotes from the speech with little if any analysis and most of that quite shallow.
But this is the reason his speech is the Outrage of the Week, something barely mentioned in mainstream news coverage:
In his speech, Netanyahu never mentioned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. I didn't watch the speech so I can't be completely sure but based on what was in news accounts he never mentioned the West Bank, in fact he never discussed the Palestinians at all except to condemn Hamas.
Instead, he called for an “updated template for peace” in the Middle East based on making regional alliances with Egypt, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia and an update of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative “according to current realities.”
What sort of "realities" is he talking about? Here's one: We think of the West Bank and we think "Palestinian Authority."
But the map shows the reality of the West Bank: The areas in yellow are the only parts of the region under full authority of the Palestinian Authority. In the brownish areas you have Palestinian Authority civil control but the Israeli military is in control of "security," which means actual control, and in the pale blue areas it's all Israeli control, civil and military. The blue dots are Jewish settlements.
In other words, what Netanyahu wants is to back to the "realities" that existed before 1970 when the aspirations of the Palestinians didn't figure in the discussion at all. This is not throwing a two-state solution under the bus, this is not rejecting a Palestinian state, this is wanting to treat the idea as if it never even existed.
I've said before that Netanyahu does not want peace. Now he's not even trying to hide it.
The whole West Bank being part of Israel and filled with Jewish settlements. The Palestinians subjugated and subordinate. Hamas destroyed. That is Benjamin Netanyahu's "template for peace," one we as Americans are expected to endorse to the tune of over $3 billion in military aid every single year.
It is, to say the very least, an outrage.
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