Netanyahu seeks a solid ally to back for the presidency, not an enemy like Peres

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis May 17, 2014, 10:25 AM (IDT) Tags:

peres,HIsrael’s presidency is designed as a respected, mostly ceremonial, position transcending the nitty-gritty of politicking, with policy-making the sole province of the executive branch, the government and its head.

And that is how it was conducted until Shimon Peres entered the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.

As his seven-year term draws to a close, the 91-year old former veteran of Israeli politics is discovered to have been running an indepenent policy in the frequent meetings he initiated with foreign leaders at home and on his travels. That policy conflicted in critical aspects with the course set by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Friday, May 16, Peres played host to visiting US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He informed his visitor, the embodiment of US military strength, that America was not cut out to be the world’s policeman but rather the instigator of world peace.
He did not mention Iran, but his purpose was to deliberately contradict the spirit of the message Secretary Hagel had just heard from Netanyahu, which was that the US must act to stop the ayatollahs from prevailing in the nuclear controversy and continuing to cheat the world.

In this contest with Peres, Netanyahu was at a disadvantage, because his words fell on deaf ears. It is no secret that President Barack Obama will never attack Iran’s nuclear program, a position Peres backed to the hilt, leaving Netanyahu with empty words and low credibility, after years of holding back on Israel’s avowed military option for preempting a nuclear Iran.

Continuing the charade, Secretary Hagel offered this ringing pledge after talking to the Israeli president: “I want to assure you of the United States’ commitment to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon – and that America will do what we must to live up to that commitment.”

As he spoke, the latest round of nuclear talks between the Six Powers and Iran, touted optimistically as heralding the draft of a comprehensive accord, collapsed in Vienna after Iran rejected one point after another.

Tehran saw no need to yield on a single centrifuge or missile for the sake of an agreement, when it was obvious that neither the US nor Israel was about to launch a military offensive to interfere with its progress toward a nuclear bomb. The US and Israeli presidents were, moreover, in agreement that America’s mission was to bring peace not war.

On peacemaking with the Palestinians, President Peres was more direct, taking matters in his own hands. Without batting an eyelid, he revealed on Israel’s Independence Day, May 6, that in 2011, he was on his way to cross the border into Jordan and meet up with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to sign a peace accord – when a phone call came from Netanyahu telling him not to proceed to Amman and return at once to Jerusalem.

“Netanyahu stopped me,” he said and claimed that the prime minister had endorsed his initiative before cutting it short.. “Maybe he thought that a better deal was attainable,” he said sarcastically, hinting broadly that if he were prime minister in charge of negotiations, instead of Netanyahu, peace with the Palestinians would have been in the bag three years ago.

Peres’s message for Washington was that had the administration heeded his advice and backed him, it could have saved itself from the embarrassing dead end reached by Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace effort .

Peres, who hails from the dovish Labor party, has not just been working against Netanyahu’s policies, he has also for two years been conducting a quiet intrigue to remove him and his Likud party from power. He has been gaining some ground in view of Netanyahu’s predilection for sitting on the fence and letting vital issues take their course without stepping in. The prime minister stood by, for instance, as Shimon Peres broke the rules dictating the limits of presidential authority and privilege, without pulling him up short.

DEBKAfile’s political sources report that Peres turned down offers to serve an extra six months, in consideration of the difficulty of finding a suitable candidate to succeed him, because he plans to return to political center-stage himself after assembling a lineup of Netanyahu’s enemies.
It has not been plain sailing.

One of those enemies, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, was knocked out of the running when the Tel Aviv district court convicted him of corruption and this week sentenced him to four years in jail.

Another foe, former IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi, is under investigation on suspicion of plotting against the defense minister while still in uniform.
But Peres is not giving up. He recently held several meetings with Ehud Barak, ex-prime minister, who last year retired as defense minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet and said he was done with politics.

When asked about this, Barak said: “I have no plans to return to politics.”
Although Barak appeared prominently at a number of public events in recent weeks, he is far from Peres’ ideal choice as a political ally. Barak would be too independent-minded to fit in with Peres’ plans and he had a record of shifting loyalties among various parties before joining Netanyahu’s cabinet.

So the president is still looking around for allies for his umpteenth comeback, hoping to beat Netanyahu’s hunt for the right candidate to succeed him in the presidential residence. The frontrunners are so far mostly unsuitable and the dark horse is still invisible.

The prime minister must be sure of getting the right person, because one of the president’s few prerogatives is the right to pick the most suitable candidate for heading a new government after a general election. With Peres on his tail, he needs a solid ally in the presidential residence in order to maitain his own foothold.

May 17, 2014 | 41 Comments »

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41 Comments / 41 Comments

  1. @ honeybee:

    if while fraking the drill bit cracks, […]
    Think boys. This is why I ran of with a nasty Texas cowboy.

    @ honeybee:

    phoenix and I have been discussing fraking either he is a hapless naïf or he’s not really Jewish.

    Ehm.. Were you pregnant?
    (Hopefully I have put to rest both assumptions… 🙂 )

  2. @ the phoenix:

    no salacious or lascivious sense of humor, you’re to dense for me. Now answer this, if while fraking the drill bit cracks, how is it bit safely extracted vies a vi you video? Think boys. This is why I ran of with a nasty Texas cowboy.

  3. honeybee Said:

    phoenix and I have been discussing fraking either he is a hapless naïf or he’s not really Jewish.

    Not sure much of the environmental criticism has no validity. I am always skeptical of new technologies when all other considerations are made subservient to greed. There is plenty of oil to be gotten by conventional means with known risks to the environment. I am wary when you need Highly toxic chemicals to produce any product… I think small scale Fraking should be allowed in certain areas over many years to test both the efficacy and the negatives of that technology.

  4. @ Bear Klein:

    It was I think in Late March.

    If they were listed on other surveys they would have show in brackets (00) They received over 60,000 votes and no one know how many were stolen from them at the polling stations.

  5. Bear Klein Said:

    Bayit Yehudi now also appeals to many of the voters Dr. Eldad appeals to as it is no longer just a religious party.

    I doubt many moved to support Bennett from those who supported Otzma. However Bennett may want to hide the fact his party is very much a religious party with some secular backing. Whether the seculars will stick with him is an open question. Depends on what options they have on polling day. Being in such a coalition and their betrayal of the ideological supporters will hurt Bennett on election day. He will be blamed no less than the Likud and BB.

    Most voters voted for Bayit Ha Yehudi for one major reason and that was to stop the creation of a Palis State. Yet they voted against legislation to extend Israeli Law to the settlers and settlements. Allowed BB to Bury the Levy Report and really messed up on religious matters allowing the Haredim to get the Chief Rabbinat, the conversions Law and recognition of queers same sex marriages. De-funding Yeshivot and not opposing the release of Palis terrorists and now a defacto building freeze. The longer they stay in the government of BB the longer the negatives pile up against them come election day.

  6. @ Bear Klein:

    I said that most polls don’t list them when polling.

    Professors to Sue over Electric Co.’s Pro-PA Bias

    The Professors for a Strong Israel Forum sent a letter Monday warning the Electric Co. that its policy of continuing to supply power to Palestinian Authority (PA) regions despite the PA’s refusal to pay is tantamount to discrimination.
    Professors warn: if Electric Co. keeps giving Palestinians free electricity, it cannot cut off Israeli debtors, either.

  7. the phoenix Said:

    These two video clips were made in march 2008.
    His message is indeed noble and inspiring and nonwavering.
    Nonetheless, dr eldad is no longer on the political scene.

    Not true:
    Former MK Eldad to Head Professors for a Strong Israel

    Former MK Professor Aryeh Eldad was appointed chairman of the Professors for a Strong Israel organization.

    Eldad said he intends to place the organization at the forefront of the struggle to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    “Unfortunately, there is no right-wing opposition to the Likud and the Bayit Yehudi in the Knesset, but if not in the Knesset, we will lead all the non-parliamentarian forces outside the Knesset in this struggle, in order to force all those who are faithful to the land of Israel to remain loyal to Israel,” said Eldad.

    Ben-Ari Not Worried About Threshold Law

    Ukraine’s Lesson for Israel: ‘US Guarantee Worthless’
    Ex-MK Aryeh Eldad notes that the US and Britain guaranteed Ukraine’s security in exchange for nuclear disarming.
    Former MK warns upcoming law meant to silence ideological parties, says Otzma Leyisrael will continue and won’t lose its values.

  8. @ honeybee: No Ibaka no chance of winning. Spurs have a great team. No superstars (Parker is very close) but probably the best overall team.

  9. @ yamit82: I just found it was back in March of this year.

    Unfortunately on the more recent polls I did not find “Strong Israel”
    listed ( do not know if this because they were not sampled or did not make the cut). Anyway polls are just indicator of things at a particular point in time.

  10. @ yamit82: Look I hope he gets into the Knesset and government! Bayit Yehudi now also appeals to many of the voters Dr. Eldad appeals to as it is no longer just a religious party. I hope he joins them.

  11. @ Bear Klein:

    Not accurate. Eldad represented many more than any of the religious component factions in National Union (Israel) party and certainly the potential. Basing the list on the polls at that time Eldad would have been left out. He was correct based on the data at that time.

    There is still no other party other than Otzma L’Yisrael, that represents the secular political and ideological right in Israel except Otzma which still exists and a poll a few months ago gave them 4 seats. problem is most polls don’t list them.

    Panels conducted two polls last weekend for Sof Shavua, the sister paper of the Jerusalem Post.
    One poll with the new threshold of 3.25% and one poll with the 2% threshold.

    New Threshold (3.25%)

    Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

    36 [31] Likud Beitenu
    20 [15] Labor
    15 [12] Bayit Yehudi
    12 [19] Yesh Atid
    11 [06] Meretz
    07 [11] Shas
    07 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
    04 [06] Movement
    04 [04] Hadash
    03 [04] Ra’am-Ta’al
    04 [–] Strong Israel
    00 [03] Balad
    00 [02] Kadima
    69 [61] Right-Religious
    51 [59] Center-Left-Arab

    **** Surprisingly, Strong Israel comes in with 4 mandates in the new poll.
    Ra’am-Ta’al, Balad and Kadima do not pass the new threshold. The right-religious block grows to 69 seats under the new threshold, compared to 65 with the old threshold. Panels points out that not everyone is aware of the new threshold and that we do expect merging of the smaller parties in the near future.*****

  12. @ the phoenix: I have gone to listen to Dr. Eldad speak and I admire his thoughts and ideas. However politically he is own worst enemy because he can not try and get into a coalition with Bibi and walk around constantly saying, “he will be Netanyahus’ spine”. That is reality.

    With the Bayit HaYehudi he did not like his place on the list and miscalculated (did not make threshold). Ironically he would have been in the Knesset had he accepted the position on the list offered. Bayit Hayehudi got more votes than anticipated with the broader appeal the party had under Bennett’s leadership. In politics you make decisions and they do not always work out.

  13. @ yamit82:
    These two video clips were made in march 2008.
    His message is indeed noble and inspiring and nonwavering.
    Nonetheless, dr eldad is no longer on the political scene.
    I am scratching my head trying to understand WHY?, … HOW COME?…
    Sometime in the past, you have offered as an explanation to the same question I asked (but perhaps differently phrased), that like all normal people in the world, Israelis are also preoccupied with such mundane things as, making ends meet, cost of living etc.

    On yet another thread, you wrote:

    “I have said many times if any politician here or in America would speak the truth they would never be elected.”

    And I am afraid that the truth lies right here.
    Kahane spoke the truth… And today???
    Likewise, dr eldad spoke the truth… And today???
    It is beyond sad…

  14. Assuming Bibi can not delay the Presidential election who will be the President? Anyone have an opinion?

  15. bernard ross Said:

    In fact he appointed Peres

    He did not appoint Peres who was elected by secret ballot of MK’ in the Knesset. That does not mean that he didn’t make a deal with Peres(the devil) to get Peres to award BB first chance at coalition making when Livni had a Majority over the Likud. It was BB who screwed National Union (Israel) by getting them to support BB creating a coalition and he did that by turning his back on the National Union and picked Labor and Barak instead. Big double cross here but that’s BB. I warned them not to support BB unless they had some form of Iron clad agreement.
    Religious components of NU turned around in the next elections by forcing Eldad so far down on the list his party would have been eleminated so they formed a new party almost made it but took 1-2 mandates from Bennett in the process.

    Eldad is still the most qualified man in Israel to be PM.

    BB and Peres get on well and it’s hard to know if Peres is operating against BB’s wishes but the political history of Peres says he is.

  16. Depending on the constellation at the time leading contenders besides BB could be Lieberman, Gideon Saar of Likud, Ya’alon of the Likud, Herzog of Labor.

    Remember the Parties choose their list here and at the top of each were they able to cobble a coalition gets to be PM.

    Watch BB’s moves leading to elections. He could force a palace revolt and be replaced by the Likud Central committee which Dannon and Katz head. Katz is still loyal but not in BB’s pocket..

    The religious will punish BB but not the Likud necessarily if BB is not leading. It could turn out no matter the results that the Only way the Likud can govern is by dumping BB.

    Food for thought and BB knows what I say here is the truth, ergo much of his hysteria is paranoia but not just paranoia.

  17. yamit82 Said:

    Lets give someone else a chance, anyone.

    Who would you expect to be the likely contenders and the likely winners? (not asking what you would like to see happen) If your life depended on making an accurate prediction who would you predict to win and lead? (this is my personal method I use to sharpen my judgement and decision making, I highly recommend it as a method of decision making. 😛 )

  18. I am not so convinced by these assertions of enormous daylight between BB and Peres:

    “Netanyahu stopped me,”

    the timing of this comment serves in actuality to strengthen BB’s right wing credentials in an attempt to continue to lead the constituency who elected him. In fact he appointed Peres and Livni and has done nothing to advance right wing positons wrt YS and the pals. we are deluged with timely announcements of tenders, E1, etc but what are the facts? I see nothing that qualifies BB to claim to lead the right. The question is who is likely to replace him as party leader and PM? Last time at this juncture it was Barak. I cannot point to one thing that BB accomplished in Israel’s favor wrt the BS peace talks. The claim must be that he was able to withstand the terrible onslaught of Obama and the world and keep the ship of Israel afloat. In other words: NOTHING!
    The pals are fed their mirages and the Israels are fed their mirages. For all we know these are shows designed to keep “players” in power. Everyone appears to be strengthened for THEIR constituencies: Sisi, BB, Obama, Abbas,…… The appearance of conflict and conflict management and resolution does not have to be factual.

  19. BB’s Hysteria over who will be the the next president is grounded both in his paranoiac dementia and his belief that new National Elections are imminent.

    There is no doubt in my mind that BB is behind all the dirt being dug up on candidates he doesn’t want to be president.

    He demands a President who be be condescending to him and he needs to ensure that BB gets the mandate to create a coalition first. Since elections will not be favorable either to him or the Likud he is worried and has every reason too.

    The religious parties may withhold their support as might Bennett and Lapid but with another leader in place of BB in the Likud they might get their support and thus with a compliant President select the Leader of the Likud to form the next government.

    What ever the real facts BB believes his chances for a third term may rest on who is the next President. He is behaving today exactly as he did in 1996-99.

    I Believe five min. after BB is out of office the wolves will attack with all the dirt they have on BB and he faces what Olmert has faced.

    Being the PM of Israel apparently gives him a certain amt. of immunity but with a lot of power and control.

    Know this: BB is as dirty as Olmert and probable more so and they will do a lot of things to stay out of the calaboose.

    I believe BB has hurt enough people and has accumulated enough enemies that his prospects Post PM of Israel is not very bright.

    Question always remains is how much damage he will cause before he is brought down and put to pasture with the rest of our dirty rats.

    I hope BB is correct and New elections are near.

    Lets give someone else a chance, anyone.