Friday, April 02, 2010

Netanyahu's Tired Old Likud Game.

I can't help myself, when I read of Israelis air strikes within the Gaza Strip, from wondering if Netanyahu is upping the ante with Obama.

The timing is simply too convenient. And it fits in with the image I have at the moment of Netanyahu in a constant state of panic, wondering what Obama is going to do next and how he can possibly derail him. Yoel Marcus writes an article in today's Ha'aretz entitled, "Obama doesn't have to be an Israel-hater to be angry with Netanyahu."

One of Benjamin Netanyahu's most quoted statements is that he wakes up every morning and asks: Who should I be afraid of today? The answer is: He should be afraid of himself. This time he doesn't even have to ask. He's in a panic. I'm relying on the headline in Haaretz on Passover eve, which said U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to impose a permanent settlement on Israel.

"Political sources" have cited that this is "just the tip of the iceberg," underneath which lies a sea change in U.S. policy to exert pressure on Israel and isolate it.
That is how I see this. I think Obama knows that this is his moment and that he is going to push for peace no matter how hard Netanyahu tries to get him to back off. Obama has woken up to Netanyahu's game. He may have spoken of a two state solution, but only an idiot would believe that he actually wants one.
Obama doesn't have to be an Israel-hater to be angry with Netanyahu, with his tricks, the continued blockade of Gaza, continued building in the West Bank and the failure to take even one constructive, confidence-building measure toward the Palestinians. Obama doesn't need Jewish advisers to understand that Netanyahu wanted to meet him exactly when the annual AIPAC conference was taking place, in order to say, through the most important Jewish forum, exactly what Obama did not want to hear.
These two men are at loggerheads because each wants the opposite of what the other desires. Obama is serious about achieving a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and such a deal would destroy Netanyahu's extreme right wing coalition and leave his premiership in tatters. Even Dick Morris has caught on to what is going on here.
They want Netanyahu out. Specifically, they want him to feel such pressure that he dumps his right-wing coalition partners and forms a new government with the center-left party Kadima, headed by former Prime Minister Tzipi Livni.
Although Dick, being a Dick by name and by nature, still feels the need to give Netanyahu the benefit of an awfully long rope.
Netanyahu insists that he’d be happy to negotiate a peace accord. But, as he told me last year, “I just don’t have a peace partner with whom to negotiate.”
There it is again, that well worn mantra; the Likud party desperately want peace but are, as always, left vainly searching for that "partner in peace".

I would argue that if Abbas is not a suitable "partner for peace" then such a partner will never exist.

Netanyahu is playing the same tired old Likud game and Obama is on to him. That's the real difference in what we are witnessing.

Yoel Marcus:
Our government's zigzagging only encourages Obama. Otherwise, how is it possible to explain, when we are on the verge of proximity talks that will quickly turn into direct negotiations, the government brings up the subject that at every step of the history of the conflict has been left for last: Jerusalem. And bringing up the subject of building in Jerusalem at the beginning of Obama's initiative is like throwing a lit match into a reservoir of gas.

Netanyahu lost control at the beginning of the talks, when he said that Jerusalem is no different from Tel Aviv. The Shas party disclosed the plan to build 1,600 apartments, and the Jerusalem municipality its plan for 20. And former army chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon claimed that not one of the seven members of Netanyahu's inner cabinet believes that agreement can be reached with the Palestinians. Netanyahu is counting on the Iranian problem to solve everything, but that's not so. The only solution to this miserable situation is to work wisely, without panic. That is, to establish a peace government with Likud, Kadima and Labor - without Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu.
The real problem here is the fanatic right wing coalition which Netanayu leads. And, much as it pains Morris to contemplate a government in which Tipzi Livni and others "force [Netanyahu] to bend to the will of Washington", that would be the best thing which could possibly happen here.

Morris's argument is an old one. It speaks of peace whilst giving the same tired reasons as to why one can never deal with these dastardly Palestinians.

The Palestinians (a) break their promises and (b) don't speak with a unified voice rendering negotiation meaningless.

It's the language of Netanyahu. It's the language of people who wish to talk about peace whilst advancing the notion of Eretz Israel.

That's why anyone who seriously wants to see peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians needs to sideline the Netanyahu's and the Morris's. They are obstructionists who only see ways in which this process can fail. Because the failure of the process is actually their deepest desire.

Click here for Marcus's article.

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