Is Bibi as bad as Glick says?

By Ted Belman

Last week Caroline Glick delivered a telling blow against Netanyahu in The Peril’s of Diplomatic Theatre that had everyone in agreement with.

One of the reasons I have been giving Netanyahu some slack was that I had confidence in Yaalon, Begin and Yishai. If they were going along, I would go along.

Admittedly , I was increasingly concerned as I kept reading Netanyahu’s outrageous statements about how much he was willing to give etc.

Herb Keinon writes that Netanyahu met with his Septet, which includes the three above, last week and that “it is clear that at the septet meeting diplomatic boundaries were set, beyond which Netanyahu could not stray in his talks, lest he begin to endanger his coalition.”

    ONE OF the most surprising elements of the first 18 months of Netanyahu’s government has been the degree to which the 74-member coalition he cobbled together has remained intact, largely impervious to the waves beating up against it.

    Two weeks ago, Lieberman, in a speech he gave party loyalists after Netanyahu returned from the first round of direct talks in Washington, said that the idea of a comprehensive peace in our generation, or the next, was nothing but an illusion.

    “It must be understood that signing a comprehensive agreement in which both sides agree to end the conflict and end all of their claims and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is a goal that is not achievable in the next year or in the next generation, so any historic compromises or painful concessions won’t help,” he said.

    That remark, extraordinary as it was coming from Netanyahu’s foreign minister, did nothing to shake up the coalition.

    Netanyahu didn’t fire Lieberman who publicly pronounced disbelief in the government’s policies, and Lieberman did not quit over policies he so obviously and deeply disagrees with.

    Imagine, for comparison sake, what would have happened if Clinton stood up and said that US President Barak Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq was an enormous mistake; or if French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner would say that his president’s policy regarding the expulsion of the Roma was indeed a disgrace.

    Only here, it seems, could such a senior minister articulate such a serious break with a fundamental part of his government’s policy and still remain one of that government’s most important members.

    No, Lieberman’s remark did not compel Netanyahu to shake up the coalition.

    Nor, for that matter, did Mitchell’s comments Wednesday evening that the sides were rapidly grappling with all the core issues force Yishai to leave the coalition. Remember, this was the same Yishai who in 2008, when Shas was a member of Ehud Olmert’s coalition, said that if the Annapolis talks would even begin to deal with Jerusalem, his party would leave the government.

    Mitchell implied that all the issues – including Jerusalem – were being tackled vigorously by the sides, yet Shas did not run for the exits. The reason is because in this government there are no surprises, and Yishai – as well as Lieberman and the other four members of the septet – knows and can live with how far Netanyahu is willing to go.

    THIS HELPS explain the Prime Minister Office’s hypersensitivity Thursday to reports that Netanyahu had considered an American proposal to extend the settlement construction moratorium for three months, while the sides would engage in intensive negotiations over borders, at the end of which it would be clear where Israel could, and could not, build.

    While reiterating that it was not going to reveal the content of the negotiations, a statement from the PMO said the “prime minister’s position in relation to the time allocated for a moratorium on new construction in Judea and Samaria is known, and there has been no change.”

    This was critical for Netanyahu to clarify, since at the septet meeting the sense the participants walked away with was that the blanket moratorium would indeed end on September 26, and that Netanyahu would return to building in the settlements along the guidelines adopted by the Sharon and Olmert governments: building quietly and in limited numbers adjacent to the outer construction line in the large settlement blocks, and for natural growth within the built-up areas of settlements beyond the security fence.

    The septet, the cabinet’s premier decision making body, is arguably Netanyahu’s most important creation since becoming prime minister, because it is a structure that ensures him “industrial quiet.” Since it encompasses the heads of all the major coalition parties, when things are decided in that forum, Netanyahu can pretty much rest assured that the parties will follow their leaders – mitigating bruising political battles down the road. Because how, for instance, is Israel Beiteinu’s National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau going to threaten to quit the government over a resumption of talks, when his party’s own head – Lieberman – has given his okay in the septet.

    ON TUESDAY morning, after his meeting with the septet, Netanyahu went to Sharm for the direct negotiations with the Palestinians with at least a part of his battle won. He had consent from his senior ministers regarding the settlement moratorium – no easy matter when dealing with a body ranging from Barak on the left to Begin and Ya’alon on the right. But having pocketed that agreement, he could then go out and negotiate with the Americans and the Palestinians knowing that his political back was covered – at least as long as he remained true to the word he gave his senior ministers.

    But what will irk the ministers, and endanger Netanyahu’s industrial quiet, is any hint that he might not be keeping his word to the septet – which explains why the PMO this week responded so quickly, and unequivocally, to reports he had changed his mind and was considering extending the moratorium. Extending the moratorium is not a policy the septet signed off on, and if Netanyahu disregards understandings reached inside that forum, he will be doing so at his government’s peril.

And remember, whatever the inner cabinet accepts, Abbas will reject.

So who’s right? Glick or Keinon.

JPOST editorialized about how the continued incitement from PA and Hamas is not conducive to peace. Surely Netanyahu and his inner cabinet know this.

September 19, 2010 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. Easy for Glick to talk – she has no responsibility other than to give her opinion.

    I think Bibi is playing the Grand Caliph Barack Hussein Obama like a violin because his trump card is that NOTHING is going to proceed in the negotiations because the radical Palestinians will not let it. They don’t want any solution – they simply want Israel eliminated. Haven’t any of you read the Hamas charter?

    Bibi is far smarter than the unintelligent Obama, who is constantly preening and posturing because he thinks it will make him popular with the Muslim countries and Europe which is becoming more anti-Semitic by the day.

    Israel only needs to pretend to be co-operative because no serious negotiations are possible until the Palestinians accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and renounce violence as well. Without these two fundamental pre-conditions no serious negotiations are possible and all the leaders can do is tap dance for political advantage in their home countries.

  2. Robert_K says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Bibi only shows backbone against Moshe Feiglin

    That’s not backbone! It’s political chicanery, using legal loopholes to suppress the choice of the voters. Just as slithery an act as an of the others Bibi the invertebrate has performed.

  3. Netanyahu is also dealing with the first U.S. administration to be seen by Israelis as heavily anti-Israel.

    All American administrations since 1948 have been anti Israel. Truman,Carter, Reagan and Bush seem to have been the most anti Israel. Obama is just more openly public in his ant-Israel policies and rhetoric, he doesn’t like his predecessors try to hide his distaste or end goals. In fact policy wise he is little different than either Bushes 1&2 and Clinton. Being anti Israel has less to do with being a Republican or conservative or a Democratic liberal. There has been a very consistent anti Israel- anti Judaism policy in America since Israels founding.

    Success or failure is in the eyes of the beholder and what transpires in the future. Every attempt at negotiations reduced Israels standing in the world, reduced our rights as the Jewish people to the land of Israel, weakens our defensive positions and the effectiveness of the IDF. Causes more dysfunctional disharmony in our society, trust in our political leaders who lie and hide the truth of their appeasement to the Israeli public. Every negotiation to date has relinquished our rights and territory /concessions to the Arabs, who pocket them and use them as a starting point in the inevitable next round. Every concession to date has been used by the Arabs to attack and further weaken and reduce Israels ability to defend ourselves. Israel no longer has a superior military position in Arms and the gap in terms of Arab Israeli fighting ability has closed to a very dangerous level for us.

    Each attempt at Piece Making has resulted in hundreds and even thousands of dead and wounded Israelis….

    America needs the conflict to continue so they can continue the arms race and sell expensive killing toys to the Aborigines of this region thereby allowing American companies big profits, reducing costs of procurement and development to the Americans armed forces. Employment for American workers, Much influence and control of those countries dependent upon America for supply and training that goes hand in hand with large amounts of American weapons. American uses Israel as the well armed barking dog with the Arabs. American influence with the Arabs is commensurate with the Arabs perception of how much control America can wield over Israel. Obama did not invent this policy nor to date has he been the worst implementer either.

  4. While I would normally agree with Caroline Glick in this case I cannot. Netanyahu understands that he is dealing with a deck of cards stacked heavily against him. His partner in this, Abbas, cannot credibly sign a peace accord that he can enforce nor can anyone else enforce. In addition, Netanyahu is also dealing with the first U.S. administration to be seen by Israelis as heavily anti-Israel.

    There is no doubt that these talks will not be successful, so it is important for Israel to be seen by the U.S. as the party most willing to sacrifice for an accord. Netanyahu knows that in the next election or two the deck of cards will not be as stacked against him as they have been.

  5. By Ted Belman

    One of the reasons I have been giving Netanyahu some slack was that I had confidence in Yaalon, Begin and Yishai.

    All tuchas lickers and seat addicts. Yes, Ya’alon, too!

    Someone – other than Ovadya Yosef – has confidence in Eli Yishai?! Giggles…

    You’ll never learn will you?

  6. So who’s right? Glick or Keinon.

    Glick, hands down.

    Nobody will leave the coalition without a groundswell of major opposition from their constituents. Even then they will hold onto their seats as long as possible and when things go bad all will blame BB. Israeli politicians are even Lower life forms than are American politicians. They don’t have personal accountability for anything to the voters.

    The State prosecutor has Leiberman by his balls and he won’t do anything too radical lest they choose to issue an indictment against him. Shas won’t leave the ATM of the treasury and the Likud have no obvious leader to replace BB if they become too restless.