Aluf Benn in Haaretz accuses Netanyahu of falling into "the Palestinians' diplomatic trap." At least, that's how the essay is headlined, but in fact, Benn lays the blame for this squarely at Bibi's feet:
Netanyahu is now visiting Western capitals, pleading with world leaders not to turn their backs on Israel in order to buy the affection of the Arab revolutionaries. He has warned his interlocutors that if they expel Israel from the West Bank and Jerusalem, they will only broadcast weakness and facilitate the rise of Iran. He has offered them ransom in the guise of vague promises about a future withdrawal. Meanwhile, he has no buyers for this merchandise, and even if he garners a few Western votes against the declaration of Palestinian independence at the United Nations, the decision will pass by a large majority, and the intifada will erupt the following day.
Netanyahu is correct in his assessment that America and Israel are in a state of strategic withdrawal, following the overthrow of their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. It is clear that a flight from the territories under threats of an imposed agreement, or in a third intifada, will be interpreted as weakness. But like every tragic hero, Netanyahu has trapped himself. Had he continued with the Annapolis process after coming to power, instead of throwing the policy review into the trash can, his situation today would have been better. At the time, Mubarak was securely in power, America had proposed a new leaf to the Arabs, and Israel could have jumped on the bandwagon and said "Yes." Had Netanyahu accepted former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's map at the time, as a basis for negotiations, the world would have cheered him, and he could have asked for the adjustments that are important to him, such as recognition of a Jewish state and an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley.
But Netanyahu refused to discuss the core issues, beyond vague declarations ("Bar Ilan 1" ) and fell into the diplomatic trap set for him by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Barack Obama. Now it's too late. The world sees Netanyahu as recalcitrant and stubborn and hopes for his downfall. He will not be able to prevent the third intifada, and like its two predecessors, it will cost Israel unnecessary victims and ultimately lead to the withdrawal Netanyahu tried to prevent.