We are enjoying beautiful spring weather today here in the Middle East, but we aren't going to spend our time discussing that… lets look at a matter of sustance, and when we do that – we can't avoid a statement from Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu about how the diplomatic process towards peace is going.
Mr. Netanyahu is now considering a West Bank withdrawal in order to stop what is being described as a “diplomatic tsunami” against Israel.
The background to this is the intention of the Palestinian Authority to move ahead with plans to submit to the United Nations a request to formally recognize 'Palestine' as a state – according to the 1967 cease fire lines.
By the way, a poll was recently done in America that found that 54% of Americans oppose a unilateral declaration of Statehood by the Palestinians.
Essentially what such a unilateral action (one that Israel does not recognize) would mean is that Palestine would become a member body of the United Nations with the world recognizing it as a sovereign state – as Israel is. Then, the world body must confront the issue that Israel, a UN member, is occupying territory of another UN member – Palestine, as the overwhelming majority of settlements are set up on occupied Palestinian land on their (the Palestinians) side of the '67 (so called) Green Line.
This would open up a huge legal assault for Israel before the World Body, and something Israel wishes to avoid at all costs.
Mr. Netanyahu has said that if the Palestinians were to declare a State – the Government of Israel would annex all the settlements into the State of Israel.
This action would essentially mean 'the State of Palestine' could not exist because it would have zero continuity of land in order to formulate a State.
So, Netanyahu is planning a series of steps to try and prevent world recognition of Palestinian statehood this September.
But the statement that says it all about the peace process is this; at a meeting with European Union ambassadors, Mr. Netanyahu said: “One needs to ask what could be done if it becomes clear that resumption of negotiations is not possible.”
Well, this is an interesting statement in light of the current affairs in Israel. Many here are celebrating right now about the effectiveness of the Iron Dome defense system against incoming missiles from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. There is no question as to the system's high level of accuracy in striking down such small crude unpredictable garage manufactured weaponry in recent days.
Perhaps even more significantly, this automated defense system saved both Israel and the Gazans from a deterioration towards another military operation by Israel into the Strip.
But one commentator raised an interesting question asking what is Israel celebrating about? He was trying to encourage all to step back and think what is really happening here in the land.
His point was that after surrounding itself with a wall (the separation barrier) to the east in order to prevent attacks against Israelis from militants, Israel has now covered itself with an aerial dome in the south. His conclusion was that Israel has surrounded itself with walls of “defense and despair”.
In some peoples eyes Mr. Netanyahu's statement about 'what do we do' perhaps has already been answered.
Middle East Correspondent