Gadi Taub has a spot-on take:
Israelis are stunned by the fact that the world has grown to think of Hamas as the righteous victim and of Israel as the evil aggressor. This perception of Israel is false and malicious, but it does not mean that Israel bears no responsibility for it. Yes, there is a lot of anti-Semitism in the world. Yes, there are unfair biases against the Jewish state. But Israel has been feeding them. So long as Israel’s government continues to settle in the West Bank, no one—not even Israel’s American friends—will believe that Netanyahu seeks peace. So long as Israel seems to be bent on making its occupation permanent, on holding a whole population under military rule without basic political rights indefinitely, it will be increasingly ostracized by the international community.
Today, Israel is not the belligerent party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is Israel that has offered partition, and the Palestinians who have consistently refused it. Netanyahu inherited a winning hand. He could have put a peace plan on the table, leaving the Palestinians to refuse it. He could have declared that Israel wanted to withdraw from the West Bank and would do so if its security was guaranteed by an agreement with the Palestinians or a third party. He could have offered state housing help for those who would leave the settlements even before an agreement. Instead, he mumbled something half-heartedly about two states, and then moved on to fight for enlarging settlements.
Settlements, clearly, are the keys to all this. Further settlement is what energizes the campaign to delegitimize Israel. And, for the first time since its war of independence, Israel is in real danger of destruction. Zionism’s success depended, as Theodore Herzl understood, on international recognition. It will not survive without it. If Israel clings to its settlement policy, it will sink along with its West Bank occupation.
The whole piece is well worth reading.