You can smell the fear in this Haartez editorial. Israel is a democratic state that should be saved? Who thinks this? Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza?
While the negotiations over the final-status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians have fallen into lethargy, Israel’s international status is steadfastly sinking. The process of recognizing a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders – without Israel’s prior recognition – which began in Latin America, has reached Russia this week.
President Dmitri Mevedev announced at the end of a meeting in Jericho with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Russia is comitted to the Soviet Union’s resolution of 22 years ago, which recognized, together with the non-aligned bloc of states, a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders.
On Wednesday Lebanon submitted a resolution proposal to the Security Council to denounce the West Bank settlements and declare their establishment a violation of international law.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of Russia’s joining the states that chose to demonstrate their displeasure with the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak government’s conduct vis-a-vis the Palestinians by granting diplomatic recognition to the entity under Israeli occupation. Russia has considerable influence on issues of paramount importance, such as the international pressure on Iran and restraining Syria. Russia is a member of the Quartet, which supports the United States’ efforts to implement the principles set in the “road map” seven years ago.
It would be reasonable to assume that were it not for the American administration’s insistence on reawakening the negotiations on the two-state arrangement from their slumber, central European Union states would follow Moscow.
The Obama administration – which the right portrays as an enemy of Israel – is also blocking the UN initiative about the settlements. Netanyahu’s government relies on the United States to veto the proposal, while encouraging the settlements’ expansion, strengthening the outposts and deepening its penetration into Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
Even if the United State vetoes the proposal, with no progress towards an arrangement with the Palestinians – returning the settlements to the international agenda would present Israel as the subjugator sabotaging a peace agreement.
Instead of focusing his public relations skills on convicting “the world” with Israel’s “de-legitimization,” the prime minister had better make an effort to save Israel’s status as a democratic, Jewish and peace-seeking state.