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Netanyahu believes that Trump is behind him

Israeli settlement expansion will lead Palestinians to revolt, not only in Jerusalem, else where.

27 Desember 2016 23:01

Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United Nations, Israel’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action.

Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town tomorrow in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at Security Council countries by curbing diplomatic contacts, recalling envoys, cutting off aid and summoning the American ambassador for a scolding. "This is a responsible, measured and vigorous response, the natural response of a healthy people that is making it clear to the nations of the world that what was done at the U.N. is unacceptable to us," he said according to the New York Times.

The Security Council resolution that passed Friday condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” and an obstacle to peace. The Council approved it 14 to 0, with the United States abstaining instead of using its veto, as it has in the past.

The US elected president Donald Trump publicly pressed for a veto of the resolution and has chosen a settlement advocate as his administration’s ambassador to Israel. He turned to Twitter on Monday night to air complaints that the United Nations "is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time."

Professor Menachem Klein, a senior lecturer in Bar Ilan University, Israel, agreed that Netanyahu's overreactions against the resolution because he is so sure he will gain supports from the next Trump administration. "He let himself overreacted and be very agressive to all countries because he feels Trump is behind him," he said today in an exclusive interview via WhatsApp with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co. "This can lead to create a division between Israel and other countries."

His last book, Lives in Common – Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, published in 2014, awarded by the New Republic as one of the best 2014 non-fiction books in that year.  

Excerpts:

How significant the UN Security Council resolution to end the settlement establishing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

For the short term, there are no consequences for the resolution. In medium and long run, the resolution can evoke other organization reactions or taking step aganist Israel on the settlement. For instance, the International Criminal Court (ICC) or European countries start boycotting settlement products, settlers, and dividing the State of Israel and the settlement as as the UN Seurity Council Resolution declared and ask eed state members to act.

But it is not the first time that kind of resolution imposed by the Unites Nations and there was no impact fro previous resolutions against the Israel settelements?

The previous case discussed by the Security Council was in the early eighties. And it was not like recently because the United States vetoed all other reolution proposals and the Security Council. That's the reason why it is precedented.

Second, sanctions can be taken only if the UN Security Council resolution is taken under paragraph seven of the UN Covenant. But this time the resolution was taken under another paragraph. And more generally, Security Council that could not help the massacre in Halab (Aleppo), I don't expect this Council to do anything regarding settlements in the occupied territories.

However, the resolution can motivate other organizations to take steps. And here, this can start as a snowball along the paragraph asking the UN members to divide between the State of Israel and the settelements. It can lead to demand that any settlers must have visa when he or she visit the European unlike the Israelis.

Or can, for instance, push forward the call to boycott settlement settlers, settelement products, and so on. Actually, Jewish American progressive liberal people signed a call supporting BDS on settlements and settlers and call the American administration to join this BDS on settlements and settlers. This is something that can gain a big momentum due to this resolution.

But that resolution is taken in the last moments of Obama administration. Do you believe in the nest Trump administration the situation can be better or worse?

I believe that Trump administration will be intimate with Netanyahu and his right wing government. They can not chnage this resolution, too much for Trump and Netanyahu. They can take other actions, for instance, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, letting Israel annex parts of the West Bank and so on, expanding settlement.

But here, the UN Security Council key members, like France or Britain, and other countries can take some actions against settlements and settlers along this decision. I am not sure this will happen but it may happen if Israel goes too far and overreacts and coordinates with Trump administration.

Needless to say that European governments as well as Islamic state governments are very unhappy with the election of Mr Trump, very afraid by Mr Trump's anti-muslim and anti-Islam statements. So, if Trump and Israel go too far, that divides between America and Europe, America and many muslim countries will be greater and they can take independent states unrelated to United States or even as a contra to the Trump administration policies.

Do you think Netanyahu has overreacted against that resolution by appoving new 100 settlement residentials in East Jerusalem? What will be the implication of his reactions?

Netanyahu overreacted diplomatically, that for sure. by taking actions against the states that voted on favor of this Security Council resolution as well as the United States. Regarding 100 settlement units in East Jerusalem is just the beginning.

He will expand the settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the coming weeks, in particular after 20th January and he will coordinate this with the United States in order to create a front aganist the European countries. So, what we saw is just the start not the end of the Israeli reactions.

Are you sure Netanyahu's settlement expansion policy will stir a new violence wave in Jerusalem?

I am quite sure that Israeli settlement expansion will lead Palestinians to revolt, not only in Jerusalem, else where. Netanyahu government is very frustated because of this UN resolution. The government has a high expectation from Trump administration.

They will try to show the UN Security Council members and the Palestinians that they have an answer. So, it will lead to confrontations because Palestinians feel now much more poweful with the backing of the Security Council that takes the 1967 line as the base.                

In 15th January, peace conference will be called in Paris with the participation of many countries, including John Kerry. John Kerry supposed to address the conference and present outgoing American administration's vision about the parameters of any peace agreement between Israel and Palestine which definitely these principles, these frameworks against the Israel government views.

So, this will definitely lead to greater tensions, confrontations, and may bring back the Israeli-Palestinian peace to the interest of worldwide countries, including muslim countries like Indonesia.     

What I would like also to add is that what is needded is much more cooperation between civil society activists, peace seekers in Israel, and worldwide supportes of Israeli-Palestinian peace to act together aganist the Israeli government position.

Can we conclude that Netanyahu overreactions against the Security Council resolution because he realizes that he will get supports from the next Trump administration?

Sure, You are a hundred percents right. He let himself overreacted and be very agressive to all countries because he feels Trump is behind him. This can lead to create a division between Israel and other countries.

As I said earlier, what is needed is to establish a close cooperation between Israeli civil society members that oppose Netanyahu's policies, oppose settlement expansion and existence, and call for a Palestinian state over 1967 territories and East Jerusalem, a close cooperation between we, I am part of, and worldwide governments and civil society members that oppose Netanyahu's policy along the UN Seurity Council chapter calling to divide between the State of Israel that is legitimate and the settlements that are illegitimate.

Do you believe that Trump will start to implement his plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem after his official innauguration next month?

Yes, I do believe that he will implement his plan. He made it too clear to ignore it and actually he does not have to do too much. Just not sign every half year the postponement of implemented decision that already taken by American institution, the Congress.

All (American) presidents postponed this implementation due to American national security considerations. He just have to be passive, not to sign this. It does not take him too much. All the facilities are ready in Jerusalem to host an American embassy.

I do expect that he will take a symbolic action that shows a new chapter, a new era opens. Therefore, I do take it very very seriously.                

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