Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely one of the greatest statesmen speaking many of the truths about Israel against all the slanderers who stand against her. He has made some of the most brilliant and irrefutable arguments the last few years in his speeches given at the United Nations annual kickoff convention. Netanyahu’s pinpoint accuracy using words to shoot down those who speak vilely about Israel and her Jewish citizens is unequaled by anybody since the famed Abba Eban so eloquently defended Israel before this same body in previous times. One would think after listening to the grand speeches by Bibi Netanyahu that Israel had a man of steel at the helm as Prime Minister who would unflinchingly defend and protect Israel and her people through resolute actions and a certainty which would wilt those opposing his will. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brave words are often not backed by equally brave actions. Truth be told, Prime Minister Netanyahu oft appears to be acting with timidity questioning what would be the best and correct path thus being tentative and moving hesitantly jerking one way then another. Oh, if he would act as he speaks Israel would be healthier, happier, and her enemies would shrink before her brave leadership. But alas things have not been as such.
Once again a bill was to come before the Knesset for its first vote which would have legalized much of the communities within Judea and Samaria bringing them under the same civil laws and jurisdiction as the rest of Israel and removing them from the dominion of the military and the fickle actions of the Civil Authority and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And this has not been the only subject which has weakened Prime Minister Netanyahu’s resolve. He has retracted bills which would have pulled some of the teeth of the Supreme Court which has been biting off huge chunks of land in Judea and Samaria and classifying them as West Bank Arab lands forbidden to Jews thus ordering the destruction of Jewish homes and lives, many of whom have lived in these locations for years if not decades. It is as if Prime Minister Netanyahu can talk the talk but his legs fail him when it comes time to walk the walk. This has led many of the Likud Ministers in both his Cabinet and the Knesset along with other Ministers holding similar position from the ruling unity government, which has the largest and most stable coalition in memory, to join together and make plans for pressing these issues. One would think with a coalition that no one Party could disrupt, and could survive many combinations of multiple Parties before it would not survive a vote of confidence would give the Prime Minister the backing he needs to take on any problem with near reckless abandon, yet Netanyahu continues to walk as if on eggs trying not to crack their delicate shells.
Listening to his speeches one would conclude that he is aware that there is no partner for peace on the side of the Arabs, be they the “Palestinian Arabs, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Lebanese, the Iraqis, the Libyans, or especially the Iranians, the Turkish, let alone any of the other myriad of Muslim and Arab countries. Benyamin Netanyahu is totally aware that the only friendships Israel might be able to maintain in the Muslim and Arab worlds are the Kurds, as long as they do not have to defend such a friendship, and the Azerbaijanis who will even admit to such relations as long as they are not accused of aiding Israel in military operations against other Islamic nations, a very understandable and reasonable exception. When one takes a deeper inspection of the whole situation and all the minor and major pieces of the puzzle that makes up the entire Israeli peace negotiations with any of the numerous Arab and Muslim hostiles, one would think that a logical path would become clear and somebody holding all the cards with a super coalition such as possessed by the Prime Minister would be taking a bolder and more assured approach to all problems, external and internal. Perhaps a quick look at each would shed some light on what many feel are things that could be accomplished if only somebody with the will would be allowed to step up and lead.
When what could be called the super coalition was announced, many chimed in that now Israel had a government that could finally take chances in order to accomplish those things which had thus far remained impossible for the previous governments built on narrow majorities. The two items which were on every list and often in capital lettering were peace with the Palestinians and a better, more stable, more effective form of government. But underneath these two major undertakings lay traps and challenges that would unstring the nerves of some of the boldest of leaders, and unfortunately Benyamin Netanyahu has yet to even qualify for consideration as one such leader. I am aware that Netanyahu was in a most elite of units within the IDF and was one of those instrumental in one of the early grand operations to release hostages who were in the grasp of terrorists placing them in mortal danger. I have no doubt that Netanyahu has faced dangers and challenges beyond those that most can even imagine and performed heroically, but daring under fire in the military and daring under fire in the political arena have been proven to be two very different things and many a military hero fell short in the battle politic. So, what exactly are the vexing perplexities these two arenas of conflict pose to Prime Minister Netanyahu and those who must suffer the sling and arrows of outrageous political pundits?
The forming of a new and likely different political form of governance for the country of Israel will be made all the more difficult as it will require the approval of the very people whose livelihoods are dependent upon the current system. The form of Parliamentary Government currently used in Israel does not require that the candidates for the Knesset need to actually run for their positions. As members of their respective political parties and having a history of service and dependability to the causes of the party, the candidates are simply placed on a list and should their party receive an allotment containing at least the number of seats as their place on the list, they take office. Most of the predictions of how many foresee the changes to the Israeli form of government would require at least some, if not all, candidates for Knesset seats to actually campaign and run for their seat receiving a direct election against others who also are vying for the same seats. This is something that likely fills many of the current members of the Knesset with fears of the unknown, probably the most dread of all fears. It gives them an uneasy feeling of completely changing the rules of a game that until now they had mastered and some of these old dogs are not desirous of trying to learn new tricks. This by itself will supply a headwind against any sweeping changes no matter how beneficial they may actually be for the future governance of the State of Israel. The one promise is that there may be a choice of methods in structuring a new government such that Israel would be enabled to retain its democratic underpinnings while also assuring that the Jewish quality of Israeli governance also is guaranteed. This would allow for the population to be as diverse as events would bring about and still keep one house of a multi-chamber government strictly Jewish thus protecting the Jewish flavor and outlook of Israel. The exact manner of such I will leave to your imaginations and for the political professionals to fashion.
Peace with the Palestinians is an even more difficult problem. The reason is the same as it has been since before 1948 and dating back to even before 1900 with especially violent years between 1920 and the formal declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 which was greeted by an all-out assault by multiple Arab armies from all the surrounding Arab States and even troops from as distant as Yemen, the refusal to allow or recognize the right of a Jewish State to exist on lands that had belonged to the Ummah. Arab and Muslim riots and attempted expulsions of the Jews living in the lands that are today Israel, Judea, and Samaria have a long and violent history. Such violence was not discouraged when the reaction of the British during the Mandate Period was to force the Jews to vacate any areas where the Arabs had attempted to expel or kill the Jews living amongst them. This simply served to accomplish what the Arabs had been unable to accomplish by sheer force of arms and only served to encourage such violence. Today, every time Israel offers concessions, especially new and more generous concessions, to the Palestinians in order to attempt to find any agreeable middle ground, such offers are seen as weakness and susceptibility which is used as a trigger to renewed violence with the intent of forcing Israel to make further concessions and surrender more land. This is also done as should any Palestinian leader actually agree and sign a peace with Israel they could expect to suffer the same fate as befell Anwar Sadat after he made peace between Egypt and Israel. Yasser Arafat has not been the only Palestinian leader to actually state that all the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are being used for is to take as much land as is possible and then use those same lands as the staging grounds for the final assault to destroy Israel and murder all the Jews and even the other non-Muslims Israelis. The Palestinian have stated, almost always in Arabic, their intent is not to establish their own country named Palestine but to destroy the Jewish country named Israel. Since the Palestinians have absolutely no desire to make a lasting peace and solely wish to kill every Israeli Jew, there is no sense in even attempting to negotiate an agreement.
The only solution that will end the violence in time would be for Israel to recognize that the Palestinians are not negotiating in good faith. Then the Israelis should simply annex either the entirety of Judea and Samaria or annex all except Area A and minimal portions of Area B leaving a contiguous land in which over 85% of the Palestinian Arabs reside and let them form their own state or not, their choice. Even should Israel annex all of the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the Jews would continue to be the majority even into the distant future. Even if this were not the case, let us look at the options Israel possesses according to International Law. First, the lands often misnamed as the West Bank, which are in reality Judea and Samaria, were originally to be part of the patrician proposed by the United Nations as Israel and to be owned by the Jewish people. Jordan gained these lands in 1948 in an offensive war. Jordan made an attempt to annex these lands and even gave the Arabs living within Jordanian citizenship. Their annexation was recognized by only two countries, Great Britain and Pakistan, even the rest of the Arab World refused to recognize Jordan’s claim as to do so would also recognize Israel by default.
When Israel regained these lands in 1967, they did so in a defensive struggle. Even if it were proved that Israel struck Egypt before and acts of war were perpetrated by Egypt, and the same for Syria, Jordan was not one of the original combatants taking part in the hostilities. Believing the reports from Egypt and Syria that they were advancing towards Tel Aviv and driving the Jews into the Sea, Jordan let it be known they were intending to join the war. Israel pleaded with Jordan to remain neutral and warned them that the Egyptians and Syrians were lying and were in fact losing badly on both fronts; Jordan ignored Israeli pleas and declared war. Israeli troops which were heading across the Negev made a sharp left turn and intercepted the Jordanian forces and within hours liberated Jerusalem. After these same Israeli troops stopped momentarily and prayed at the Wailing Wall, something Jews had been unable to do since the Wall was under Jordanian control since 1948, they continued on liberating Hevron and the rest of Judea and Samaria. These lands were actually liberated and done so in a purely defensive war responding to Jordanian aggression. This allows Israel the right to retain these lands either as liberated lands which were part of Israel formally or as land gained in a defensive war. Lastly, when Jordan and Israel finally signed a peace, Jordan quit any claims to Judea and Samaria surrendering them to Israel. The last item allows Israel to deny those who lived in the surrendered territory citizenship in Israel despite not allowing Israel to evict them from their properties. They would retain their Jordanian citizenship and would be allowed to reside within Israel as legal alien citizens. As such they would not vote in Israeli elections or be allowed to hold political office except if exceptions were made in localities where they were a majority of the residents, then Israel could, and likely would, allow for regional autonomy.
The mistaken idea that Israel must return Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians so they can have their original homeland of Palestine is a myth that has been allowed to play far too long. Most of the so-called “Palestinians” are in reality Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Turkish, some even from the Balkans as well as a smattering of Arabs and others from Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. History registers their arrival to the area in search of an improved economy which was resultant to the arrival of Jews who were reclaiming the lands, draining the swamps, irrigating the arid areas, and introducing agriculture, businesses, and other economic opportunities. History registers that the influx of Arab and Muslims to the area was resultant and a lagging event to the Jewish resurgence. Such is meticulously detailed by the British foreign office but these records are simply ignored as they are an inconvenient documentation of the truth and we cannot allow the truth to ruin a good ruse to destroy Israel one more time for history’s sake. This is the real challenges before Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his super-coalition, the unsinkable government he has assembled, but for what purpose remains to be seen. My fears is he will shrink from these challenges which is a real shame as were he to accomplish even one of these daunting challenges he would leave an everlasting legacy placing him among the names of the greatest Zionists. Let it not be said he was not given the opportunity for history will know he had the greatest of chances to achieve immortality.
Beyond the Cusp