An analyst says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the Palestinians disappear from the international stage with the "will he, won't he" drama of threatening to bomb Iran.
In an article on The Guardian
website, Chris McGreal said Netanyahu’s bid to draw “Washington's energies into trying to prevent him from attacking Iran before the US election” has all but eliminated any talk of the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and Palestine’s move for statehood or recognition at the UN.
“When the Israeli prime minister was last in Washington, there was barely a mention of the Palestinians after his meeting with [US President Barack] Obama. And barely a word was breathed about the Palestinians at this year's meeting of the most influential of the pro-Israel lobby groups in Washington, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The focus was firmly on Iran.”
McGreal said Netanyahu’s recent appearance on Meet the Press this weekend was “telling” in that “there wasn't a single mention of the Palestinians during the 15-minute interview.”
“[Interviewer David] Gregory didn't ask about them, and Netanyahu didn't talk about them. Thus the fate of several million people living under varying degrees of an occupation that continues to plunder land, maintain discriminatory laws and administrative procedures - such as rationing water to Arab villages while their neighbors in the Jewish settlements have unlimited supplies - remains in limbo.”
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The international community regards all the Israeli settlements across the West Bank as illegal under international law.
“Just last week, the prime minister moved to expand 40 West Bank settlements built on land confiscated illegally - Israel admits it was illegal - from Palestinians by military order; hardly the actions of a man or a government that only wants peace, as is so often claimed,” McGreal said.
The Israeli military also frequently attacks the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.
In addition to airstrikes and ground attacks, the Tel Aviv regime also denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to decent living, work, health and education.
Gaza has been blockaded since 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
McGreal concluded: “Netanyahu has everyone where he wants them: the Palestinians behind the wire and most of the rest of the world looking the other way.”