Israeli Official Hits Back At US After “Chickenshit” Comment, Sweden Recognizes Palestine As State
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) October 30, 2014
So much for cooler heads prevailing. In response to a story where an anonymous Obama Administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit”, an Israeli official has gone on the record to trash the United States under President Obama. Moshe Feiglin, one of the Deputy Speakers of the Knesset and head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the ruling Likud Party, said if President Obama did not “distance himself” from the negative comment about Netanyahu the US will become a third world country.
Feiglin represents the ascendent right wing of Israeli politics that is quickly gaining power more and more power. The real threat to Netanyahu’s leadership is from his right flank.
I fundamentally disagree with PM Netanyahu on many issues – including those issues over which the US has criticized the PM in the past. But if America does not officially distance itself from yesterday’s personal attack against Prime Minister Netanyahu (who represents all the citizens of Israel) we can conclude that under Obama, the US has deteriorated to the cultural and essential level of a third world country. Its future is already behind it.
While there is no doubt that even a slight unraveling of the US-Israeli relationship should rank as a major concern among Israeli policymakers, they may have bigger problems at the moment.
The Swedish government has now recognized the state of Palestine. The Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, told reporters that Palestine qualified as a state under international law because “There is a territory, a people and government.” The EU as a governing body is still delaying any such recognition though Sweden’s unilateral move may expedite the process.
Sweden’s recognition of Palestine comes as Israel faces international condemnation after it announced it would be building 1,000 housing units in the Arab section of Jerusalem. Israel is also facing allegations of war crimes for its latest incursion into Gaza that included attacks on UN and international aid facilities. Sweden’s announcement could be the beginning of a larger movement within the international system to recognize Palestinian statehood so that Israel can be held accountable for taking land and launching military attacks under the framework of violating the rights of another state. That framework could make it easier to subject Israel to sanctions to incentive better behavior towards the Palestinians.