I think I've come to the end of the road with Netanyahu. It's taken a long time. I've supported him because I think he has been the only viable candidate for the post of Prime Minister, and there's no doubt his almost accentless English and understanding of America has been a great help. Begin spoke an elegant English, but he had the accent of the little Yiddishe tailor from the Lower East Side, and Americans gave him about as much respect as a tailor would get. Shamir was almost unintelligible. For better or worse, this damaged their attempts to get the Israeli position across to the mass US media repeatedly. But Bibi was different.
He now appears to have lost his backbone. It's no secret that he and Obama don't get on. There's a saying that you dislike in others what you see in yourself, and both men have outsized egos and arrogance. Obama also doesn't like either Jews or Israel although he and his staff scramble to try and hide it. [He is basically disinterested in foreign issues generally, unless he can lecture someone on how to improve things]
When Kerry announced that talks with the Palestinians would resume, there was a flurry of reports in international news that it was all conditional on certain preconditions [absolutely impossible preconditions] that Kerry promised the Palestinians that the Israelis would agree to, such as withdrawal to the pre-Six Days' War ceasefire lines, before even sitting down to talk. It was pretty much the usual hot air, and the "shuk mentality" -- begin the bargaining by asking for 200%; settle for much less. America does not understand this form of preliminaries at all, and has a distressing tendency to think everybody is on the up and up and really means what they say. We've been here before: each attempt at negotiations has been preceeded by much arm-twisting by the US on Israel to make "concessions" and the net result has been that never have the Palestinians budged from their original position -- that they won't even recognize the existence of Israel -- by so much as an inch while Israel has conceded things which weaken it strategically for no gain whatsoever. This time, Kerry initially not only did not put any pressure on Abu Mazen, he attempted to give the Palestinians a massive bribe [which they contemptuously rejected, already getting massive amounts of money from the EU and elsewhere and probably fearing the US would want some accounting of where the money actually went], and only, on the orders of his Jew-hating boss, no doubt, put the thumbscrews on Israel. And Bibi succumbed.
If the PA can demand total withdrawal from half of the State of Israel, then Israel should counter by demanding an explicit statement from the PA recognizing the existence of the State of Israel within secure boundaries, AND the total cessation of violence against Israel as a precondition to attending the talks. The talks themselves should be negotiations on where boundaries should be placed, not on whether there should even be a Jewish State. [Of course, the PA, dedicated to the extermination of Israel, would no more agree to this than Israel would agree to return to the 1948 cease fire lines]. But it would demonstrate  just how bankrupt the whole concept of talks is at the present time, and  Israel would be negotiating from a position of strength.
Instead, Bibi has given a clear sign that Israel is weak, and caused the families of victims of terror, still reeling from the exorbitant price paid for Gilad Shalit, great distress, and has given the enemies of Israel a huge present. It is so unnecessary right now. One has to wonder what in hell Netanyahu was thinking about. Someone in the PA is kicking himself and wondering why they didn't demand even more, since the Israeli idiots were so willing to give in to their exorbitant posturing.
Obama has one more year in which to swagger; the midterms, I am convinced, will lose the Democrats both Houses of Congress, and if the GOP can only get its house in order, have a very good shot at 2016. Hillary has lost a considerable amount of her luster [I predicted that being Obama's lackey at State would do her no good]. Obama is going to be the lamest of lame ducks very soon -- Obamacare is increasingly obviously not going to work; Afghanistan will become a Taliban stronghold immediately after the last US troops leave in a year; Iraq is on the simmer, the "economic recovery" in the US is no recovery at all, really -- and the Islamic world is dissolving into civil war in ways no one thought about even 5 years ago. The struggle between the Sunni and Shi'a began over a thousand years ago, and is rapidly heating up again, and what the outcome will be is uncertain [I personally am convinced the US will not be able to remain on the sidelines entirely, although they probably will have little real idea of what is going on as they seem not to have anyone in State who has learned history] Bibi has little, if anything, to fear from Obama -- and he knows that Congress is steadfastly supportive of him.
Yair Lapid is looking better by the minute, even though I think that he's an economic tyro with a lot to learn on that front. The Likud is in trouble.
|Your Brain is Green|