In my previous post I referred to Caroline Glick's claim that Israel's strategy since Oslo, including that of Netanyahu, has been appeasement of the West by making concessions to the Palestinians. I subscribe to that argument, which I articulated as "Netanyahu is all talk and no action". By which I meant, of course, that he talks tough but where and when it counts, he caves in. Where I diverge from Glick is in my doubt that by reverting back to the pre-Oslo strategy, as she suggests, would make much difference at this stage. Once Israel had accepted the validity of a Palestinian nation and, therefore, implicitly, the Palestinian narrative and, therefore, a viable Palestinian state, it had opened itself to pressures that it cannot satisfy without endangering its own existence. Hence the chain of unreciprocated concessions by even Israel's more hawkish, nationalist prime-ministers, that have satisfied neither the Palestinians nor the West.
Even though I consider the evidence of appeasement overwhelming--certainly insofar as Netanyahu's dealings with the Obama administration are concerned--let's consider some more recent policies.
First, one of the recent media Gleanings that I regularly submit to Richard Landes' blog, Augean Stables (emphasis mine):
Aluf Benn reports in Ha’aretz that Benjamin Netanyahu, feeling international pressure and a domestic dead end, is planning an abrupt tack toward a two-state solution: Now he is saying in closed meetings that “a binational state would be disastrous for Israel” and suddenly Netanyahu sounds like former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who in an interview with Haaretz at the Annapolis Conference declared: Two states or Israel is finished. And this is the same Netanyahu who has always denied the demographic threat, regarding it as a scarecrow in the service of the left. If this is right, another way of saying it is this: Obama’s pressure on Israel appears, like it or not, to be paying off in forcing Netanyahu to the policy outcome Americans want. (Ben Smith: Obama Israel pressure working?)
I will reiterate, in passing, a no-win situation with respect to concessions to the Arabs. If self-initiated out of a position of strength, in their honor-shame world they feel like humiliation and are rejected (remember the Khartoum three no's to Israel's proposed return of the territories for peace after the six day war?) And if offered under pressure, they are interpreted as weakness and invite at best demands for further concessions, at worst violence.
Then there is the following in Israel National News:
Long-time Jerusalem lands activist Aryeh King told the audience at the 8th Annual Jerusalem Conference on Tuesday that eight Jerusalem neighborhoods are actually off-limits to Jews. The news, backed up by video clips showing soldiers refusing to allow Jews to enter while Arab cars entered freely, caused a stir not only in the audience, but also among the panel of speakers ... King, a familiar face on the Jerusalem activism scene and head of the Israel Land Fund, began his talk aggressively: "Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] has already divided Jerusalem! Not with words, but with actions…. There are seven neighborhoods - and now another one has just been added, Isawiya, very close to here – where Jews are not permitted to enter! … In addition, 7% of Jerusalem area has been transferred to the control of the IDF, in violation of the Basic Law: Jerusalem.
Now, I am well aware of the source--both the medium and the person--and the bias, but nevertheless I am inclined not to doubt the de-facto policies that King documents, because they are consistent with Netanyahu's record. Indeed, there had been a de-facto freezing of building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which Netanyahu felt confident enough to de-freeze with a 500 quota only after the Itamar murders.
Israel is not in a good position to offer any new concessionary initiative right now. If it does it'll come back to bite it.