Benjamin Netanyahu has a sense for timing. To answer Obama's ultimatum on illegal colonies on Palestinian ground, he waited for the POTUS to be silenced by uproar in Iran*.
Emboldened by the crisis in Tehran, Tel Aviv hawks pushed ahead, financing new settlements. Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharanovitch's visit to al Aqsa Mosque was supposed to mirror that of then Interior Minister Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount back in 2000, which ignited the Second Intifada. Only Sharon didn't even dare entering the Mosque. Avigdor Lieberman's friend did, and his team went as far as exlaining that "the intention of the visit was to see how the police would deploy in case of an emergency"**.
The Temple Mount has been under considerable threat for years, several extreme right Israeli activist groups undermining its very foundations and claiming this sacred Muslim ground as theirs. One could hardly find any more controversial thing to do at this defining moment.
As advertised during his campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu is governing the most extreme way. His intentions are crystal clear : fueling hatred, destroying all peace attempts, strengthening radicals within Israeli as well as Palestinian ranks... business as usual for a post-Rabin Israeli PM. The difference : Netanyahu must act even bolder than his predecessors to maintain his coalition.
Joe Biden mentioned a test during the first 6 months of Obama's presidency ? Here we are. Die hard fundamentalists are putting their very existence in the balance in both Iran and Israel... And oh, Kim Jong-il plans another missile launch to celebrate July the 4th. Take your ticket and get in the line.
* see previous blogules on post-Bush Israel and Iran, and "Justice in America, No Democracy in Israel ?".
** from IslamOnline.net and "Occupied Jerusalem" : "Palestinians Blast Provocative Al-Aqsa Visit"
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