Amid US and Palestinian anger over Israel expansion plans in East
Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing mounting
skepticism on peace talks from Palestinians and splits within his
On the eve on Israel's Passover holiday, which celebrates
liberation from oppression, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked
so mired in his mounting, multi-faceted crises that he might need a
miracle to survive them.
The Israeli premier's meetings last week with US President Barack
Obama looked like such a failure for Mr. Netanyahu that the left-
leaning Haaretz on Sunday declared Israel to be "deep in the abyss."
The more right-leaning, mass circulation Yediot Ahronoth on Sunday
quoted a member of Netanyahu's inner cabinet, known as the "forum of
seven," as saying that the "situation is catastrophic." The source
blamed the Obama administration's "hostility" towards the Israeli
government and said that Obama was had turned out to be a "strategic
disaster" for the US-Israel relationship.
Alongside the diplomatic woes that have strained ties with
Israel's closest ally, there is an air of rebellion in the ranks, as
more pro-peace members of Netanyahu's government - the Oslo Accord-
pioneering Labor party is a member of his coalition - are musing
aloud about breaking up the constellation of governing political
parties to make way for a new team more committed to Israeli-
If that weren't enough, there's been an upsurge of violence in
and around the Gaza Strip, bringing into question the sustainability
of the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that marked an indecisive
end to their devastating war 14 months ago.
In Sirte, Libya, where the Arab League was meeting, Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas was being urged by hard-line Arab states -
Syria and Libya in particular - to withdraw from the US-sponsored
peace process and resume violence against Israel, according to the
Associated Press. The AP quoted two delegates who spoke on condition
of anonymity "because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Among more mainstream voices, Arab League chief Amr Moussa urged
countries to consider finding a new strategy for dealing with Israel
in light of fading peace hopes, saying that their offer of peace
could not be "an open-ended process." He also asked Arab states to
foster a dialogue with Iran, a tilt sure to be upsetting to Israeli
At his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu tried to downplay
concerns over the troubled US-Israel relationship, and even
addressed the Yediot article as not having represented reality.
"Regarding the issues that came up [in Netanyahu's meetings with
Obama], there were areas in which there was full agreement, as well
as those where there was disagreement. We took various steps to
reduce the gaps in order to advance the process. We are continuing
these efforts," Netanyahu said.
"I have recently heard anonymous, unworthy remarks in the media
regarding the American administration and the American president. I
would like to make it clear: I find these remarks to be