Netanyahu’s Sacred Cows

By Ali Younes

No one should be surprised or even raise an eyebrow over Netanyahu’s speech this past Saturday regarding his policies with the Palestinians. True to his cunning nature, Netanyahu played the semantics game by appearing to be accepting the "Palestinian state" as declared by President Obama in his Cairo speech. In actuality, Netanyahu accepted a resemblance of state or a virtual state within the Israeli illegal occupation system that will function more like a Zulu state in the former South African apartheid state. 

Netanyahu, in his speech, played the Iranian card claiming that Iran is an imminent danger not just for Israel but for the entire world. The impression one’s get from hearing Netanyahu is that if the United States did not act and perhaps wage another war to get rid of the “Iranian threat” the world might come to an apocalyptic end. Strange as it sounds, Netanyahu went on to cite Iran, Islamic radicalism, and the economic crises as his priorities. On the Palestinian question, Netanyahu relegated the Palestinian issue to back burner thus defying, in essence, the United States declared policy without risking a head-on collision with Obama administration. The most important thing about Netanyahu’s speech however, was his treatment of the issue of Jerusalem and Jewish Settlements as “Sacred Cows” that are off limits to negotiations. Netanyahu however agreed to:

  • A Palestinian state that cannot and should not defend itself militarily therefore to stay forever under Israeli threats and control. 
  • The Part of Jerusalem Israel occupied in 1967 will, according to Netanyahu, remain occupied forever “and he likes to use the pretty word “United”. Its worth telling, however, that Palestinians are not asking for the part of Jerusalem Israel occupied in 1948. And never mind that this is all illegal under international laws and conventions.
  • Palestinians, Arabs and the rest of the world should regard Israel as a wholly ‘Jewish state” for Jewish people only. This means of course that all of the native Palestinians, Christians, and Muslims who are Israeli citizens will be at some point expelled or at best be considered as “guests” in their own villages and towns that they inhabited well before Moses thought about leaving Egypt. And this is akin to something like making America a country for the white folks of German stock only or for those who are Baptists.
  • Palestinian refugees shall never return to their homes or lands that are now either Israeli settlements, airports or a stranger’s home.
  • He wants an economic peace with the Arabs, in other words “lets just do business and the hell with Palestinians, and they can just work the fields and pick our cotton”.

In the meantime, it will be hard to imagine peaceful settlement in the region that will not address and actually solve the issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees displaced by the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The Israeli position on these two issues is not only unfair and unjust to the Palestinians, but also dangerous. Its danger lies in the fact that it sets a precedent for international law. If the Palestinians and the rest of the world accept the Israeli conditions, then it would be legal for any other country to cross its borders on a land-grab mission, occupy other’s territories and make it its own. The Israeli position will also render the Geneva Conventions, the laws of war, and host of other international treaties useless. Israeli leaders should realize that if the Palestinians did not give up and surrender their rights in 1948, or in 1967 they are unlikely to do it now.

– Ali Younes is a writer and Middle East political analyst based in Washington DC. He contributed this article to Contact him at

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