US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel could face an international delegitimization campaign “on steroids” if the current round of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority proves fruitless, American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg reported in his Bloomberg View column on Monday.
Goldberg writes that continued settlement building continues to harm Israel’s interests and that “Netanyahu is realizing the price his country may one day pay for its settlements, in particular those near Palestinian population centers.”
According to sources who spoke to Goldberg on condition of anonymity, “Kerry thinks the one thing Netanyahu fears as much as Iran’s nuclear program is the growing power of the international movement that seeks to isolate, scapegoat and demonize his country.”
Kerry’s warnings have been able to “at least partially capture Netanyahu’s attention” who believes that a delegitimization campaign would not only hurt the country’s economy, but also threaten the Jewish state’s ability to defend itself. The Israeli Prime Minister believes the campaign “could force Western powers to rein in Israel, or at the very least, rush to condemn it before it has the chance to defend itself,” according to the report.
In addition, Goldberg writes, “Israel will find it increasingly difficult to one day act against the Iranian nuclear program if it is hobbled by the hostility of the international community.”
According to Goldberg, Netanyahu has moved more to the political center, as it has become apparent that the more hawkish among his Likud party “delude themselves into thinking that their country is a superpower, and can behave as one.” Adopting a more practical stance, Netanyahu, while vehemently rejecting new European Union guidelines that will restrict its members’ interaction with state institutions on the far side the Green Line, now “understands that he can’t win a fight with the entire EU if it decides to enact a partial boycott of his country.”
This has opened Netanyahu’s eyes to the importance of finding a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict, Goldberg claims, adding however that “Threats directed at Israel from Europe, the continent whose cruelty and hatred helped create a need for a Jewish national refuge in the first place, may, in the short term, bolster Israel’s far-right, which could handcuff Netanyahu in negotiations.”
“On the other hand,” Goldberg continues, “the majority of Israelis are sensible, and they know, as Netanyahu knows, that Israel can’t exist in an entirely friendless world”—a fact that may come to have an increasingly profound influence on Netanyahu if peace talks with the Palestinian Authority progress.