More and more Israeli politicians are criticizing the linkage of releasing Palestinian prisoners and the establishment of new settlements. Critics warned that such a policy was aimed at keeping the embers of the sham peace process alive and attempting to pacify the extreme right-wing members of Netanyahu’s fractured coalition. Eitan Haber, a veteran Israeli commentator, reflected on the policy by invoking a Hebrew idiom about a bridegroom cannot dance at two weddings, stating that Netanyahu “is attempting to please all sides”.
Shimon Shiffer, a columnist for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, called the planned settlement announcement “a cheap and gratuitous gimmick” that would backfire by angering the Obama administration and European leaders. “Netanyahu is like a cow that gives a bucket-full of milk, only to kick the bucket over.” Shiffer is right - Netanyahu has infuriated both Washington and members of his own party. These include Isaac Herzog, head of the opposition Labor Party; Yaakov Peri, a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet; and Orit Struk, a member of the Jewish Home party who is herself a settler. Palestinian leaders have been incensed at the theft of more and more of their land and are now threatening to seek justice through the International Court. European diplomats have warned Israel that its current policies would further isolate the country.