Politicians and military employees resist Netanyahu "vendetta" against new Palestinian government
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Political figures and civilians employed by the Israeli army are against their prime minister and his proposal to punish the Palestinians for daring to launch a unity government, after the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas.
An initial harsh response from Israeli government was published a few days ago with the decision to resume the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Benjiamin Netanyahu also asked civil service officials to come forward with proposals on how to penalize the Palestinians. The officials, who are employed with the Israeli army, are in charge of different aspects of life in the Occupied Territories: water, electricity, transport, health, archeology, industry, environment.
According to Israeli media, four days ago, Netanyahu called them to ask them how to make life more difficult for the Palestinians. To his surprise, one of them - then supported by the majority - refused to enact sanctions on the civilian population because it "would destroy the true raison d'être of the employees, which is to serve the Palestinian population."
Netanyahu's staunch intent to continue the illegal settlements coupled with his rejection of dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, is creating more difficulties in his relationship with the United States; his anger against the new Palestinian national unity government, puts him in a bad light in the eyes of the European Union, which instead wants to recognize the new Palestinian government.
The prayer meeting for peace, celebrated yesterday in the Vatican gardens with Pope Francis, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas (pictured), has once again dangled the possibility of peace in world public opinion. This could lead to new difficulties for the tough position of Netanyahu.
The Prime minister also faces problems within his own ranks. Just yesterday, at the Herzliya Conference, Yair Lapid, Minister of Finance, said that he is willing to bring down the Netanyahu government if it pushes ahead with the official annexation of even a single settlement in the West Bank. The idea of official annexation of Palestinian lands in the State of Israel arosed among the extreme right, who dream of a single State in which also the Palestinian people are included, although deprived of certain rights.
Lapid is also trying to revive new peace talks with the formula of "two peoples, two States". The plan would involve evacuation of isolated Israeli settlements, as a sign of Israeli goodwill.
On the policy of settlements has also intervened Tzipi Livni, Minister of Justice, stating that the settlements should be frozen. "The settlement enterprise - she added - is a security, economic and moral burden that is aimed at preventing us from ever coming to an arrangement."
Livni also noted that the new Palestinian government endorses some important international guidelines (recognition of Israel, honoring previous agreements and rejecting terrorism). This is why it should not be immediately disowned, instead judged on "its actions and policies".