There are some among us who have expressed fears that Prime Minister Netanyahu might choose to follow the exact same route blazed by the late Ariel Sharon when he formed a new party in order to facilitate the Gaza disengagement. Now we are witnessing a purely manufactured controversy revolving into a confrontation between the Prime Minister and the nationalist hardliners in the coalition. The entire flare-up was started by a planned leak from the Prime Minister’s Office that Netanyahu was about to announce a new plan which would permit any of the Israelis living in the settlements which were going to be turned over to form the Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria could simply remain in their homes and be placed under Palestinian rule. This, unsurprisingly, evoked some rash outbursts and responses from many nationalist Knesset Ministers, all of them from within the ruling coalition and some from the Likud which is the Prime Minister’s own party. The Prime Minister’s Office chose to take umbrage with only one of the dissenting Ministers, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Jewish Home Party and the Economy and Trade Minister. What makes the choice by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Naftali Bennett curious, as Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Deputy Minister Ofir Akuni, all members of Prime Minister’s Likud Party, all made similar statements of outrage and disbelief about the leaked statement from the Prime Minister’s Office and none were called out for their opposition statements.
When one adds the leaked information that Secretary of State Kerry has a draft of a plan which will include demands for Israel to surrender half of Jerusalem in order for the Palestinians to use as their capital city and force the Palestinians to at least state that they recognize Israel as the State for the Jewish People, this entire confrontation takes on an ominous note. It is interesting that the Israelis are going to be required to surrender all of Judea and Samaria with only those land swaps agreed to by the Palestinians while all the Palestinians are going to be required to do is state they recognize Israel as the home for the Jews, a statement they can recant ten seconds later and return to their resistance and terrorist ways, something which should be expected by any thinking person familiar with the history of the entire Arab Israeli conflict which started back in the mid to late 1800s. Perhaps the claims that the leaked plan to allow Israelis living in the settlements to remain in their homes and live under the Palestinian state was exactly as the Prime Minister’s Office claimed, to rope the Palestinians into rejecting the idea outright and demand one more time, as if nobody had heard them the first half million times, that no Jews would be permitted to reside, visit or set foot in the Palestinian controlled lands. This was supposed to make the point to whom? John Kerry? President Obama? Who? Anybody who cared about the Palestinian refusal has heard it sufficient number of times to have memorized the many different ways it has been stated by Abbas, Erekat and numerous other Palestinian spokespersons. But even if we give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt and agree that this was a brilliant ploy to reveal the otherwise hidden Palestinian rejectionist attitude to a Jewish presence in their state, why would they target only the leader of one of the member parties of the coalition and basically ignore the others? This leads to only one reason, to make a case for removing the Jewish Home Party from the coalition to make room for another party. It is of some interest that the Labor Party did entertain the idea of joining the coalition should the Jewish Home Party leave the coalition in order to support the continuation of the peace process. The only remaining question is would there be sufficient sized revolt by nationalist Ministers from within Likud that the coalition would still fail.
That is where the formation of a new party that would be populated with those Likud Ministers who support accepting whatever the Prime Minister plans to do when Kerry attempts to force a solution sometime between now and middle April and other politicians and members from other parties just as Ariel Sharon had done in order to facilitate the Gaza disengagement. If the Gaza disengagement was nothing short of a disaster, what would a disengagement from Judea and Samaria pose? As Mark Langfan has displayed with cogent maps; Israel would be vulnerable to rockets raining down on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, and the heart of Israeli population centers and vast majority of its economic resources as well as easy range to bring down any air traffic in or out of Ben Gurion International Airport. This situation would be inevitable and come to fruition as soon as the IDF was no longer allowed a presence in Judea and Samaria and losses their intelligence network which they currently possess and have in place. Additionally, the probability that Hamas along with Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Gaza, Salafists and whatever other terror groups currently inhabit Gaza would replace Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. What makes this even more important is that any agreement made with the Palestinian Authority will not be honored by any Palestinian once the Palestinian Authority has been removed from power and trust that they will be removed from power within months if not weeks or days or hours after the IDF and Israelis have departed. What follows after the first rocket strikes a building in central Tel Aviv or a plane is downed while on approach to Ben Gurion Airport will be touted throughout the General Assembly as the horrific assault by the Israelis on innocent Palestinians? Whether or not the Europeans will join the rabble that is the majority of those in the General Assembly is a good question. What the reaction by United States President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel have, or should we inquire how long before they demand Israel stand down and show restraint and understand that it will take time before the Palestinians accept the wonderful peace plan and stop launching rockets and attacking Israel. How many nations will claim that obviously the Israelis, or the Jews, started the violence without any real provocation’ after all, what’s a few small rockets every now and then. We have heard these exact screams from these exactly same places whenever Israel responds to the rockets fired out of Gaza at southern Israeli communities. Why should any Israeli expect any difference when the rockets hit Tel Aviv instead of Sderot? Pray that this situation is never ever allowed to come to pass as the end results are something that should be unthinkable to any sane person.