The M.E. Tradeoff

Aluf Benn writing in the Washington Post under the title, A Changed Netanyahu gives his take on the give and take.

    What caused Netanyahu to rethink his long-held ideology? To be sure, he did not go through a midlife left-wing epiphany any more than Nixon did. Rather, he succumbed to American pressure, and this, too, speaks in his favor. Statecraft requires reading power relationships correctly and acting accordingly.

    Past right-wing Israeli leaders went through similar about-faces. Menachem Begin gave the entire Sinai back to Egypt only weeks after he pledged to spend his retirement in an Israeli settlement there. Ariel Sharon demolished the settlements in Gaza shortly after declaring them as important as Tel Aviv. Yitzhak Shamir, the toughest of the breed, put aside his beliefs to attend the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. All these leaders were said to have “reckoned with reality” — which, in Israeli political parlance, is a euphemism for “dependence on America.”

    With no serious domestic challengers, Netanyahu knows that he is the strongest Israeli leader in a generation. Looking outside, however, he sees mostly trouble: His country is ever more isolated from an international community that increasingly rejects Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, its settlements and its excessive use of force. At the same time, he is deeply alarmed by Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, coupled with what he describes as its effort to “delegitimize” the Jewish state. He sees Israel’s sheer existence, not its controversial policies, as the matter at stake.

    He therefore wants President Obama to help neutralize the Iranian threat — and he understands that Obama’s price for that help will be Israeli concessions in the West Bank. And so, as Obama toughens his stance toward Iran and expands security cooperation with Israel, Netanyahu softens his tone vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

September 7, 2010 | 4 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Why must the Iranian situation be left up to Israel? Iran threatens the entire world with its nuclear program. Why can’t action be taken by a coalition of countries who fear for their future?

  2. Now that Abbas has clearly stated that he will not concede anything to Israel and that his policies are the same as Arafat, Israel must tell the US and everyone else to take a flying leap and then annex all of Judea and Samaria. Maybe we, the Israelis, can get a better deal with Russia.

  3. With no serious domestic challengers, Netanyahu knows that he is the strongest Israeli leader in a generation. Looking outside, however, he sees mostly trouble: His country is ever more isolated from an international community that increasingly rejects Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, its settlements and its excessive use of force. At the same time, he is deeply alarmed by Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, coupled with what he describes as its effort to “delegitimize” the Jewish state. He sees Israel’s sheer existence, not its controversial policies, as the matter at stake.

    There is no “occupation” since the Arabs referred to as “palestinians” never were in control of the territories and in any case there never was a sovereign nation of palestine and no such people as “palestinians”. In turn the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are not “settlements” and they have the legal right to be there. Finally, far from using excessive force, Israel’s military responses have been extremely limited and ineffective. Once again the case of a self-hating leftist Jew using the loaded terminology of Israel’s enemies to demonize the Jewish state.