Beyond the Cusp

February 12, 2019

Israeli Elections on General Gantz

 

We would be remiss if we were to completely ignore what will sooner or later become a circus, but will be better known as the Israeli election cycle. These affairs always seem to follow a similar track which is not designed to, but manages to, become a series of comical dances as parties and personalities clash, hover, collide, crash and eventually work things out and decide to swallow pride and do what needs doing or choosing to stand on often a single principle and not make threshold for entry into the Knesset. This first entry will be about one specific candidate who we feel an urgent need to discuss early in the process and will likely warn about his history and views repeatedly, hopefully not ad-nauseum. We hope to have space to also give a few general comments on what we have been watching before closing this article.

 

General Benjamin “Benny” Gantz rose to some of the highest military positions possible and was a long-standing member of the Central Command including serving as Chief of Staff. One would naturally be led to believe that Benny Gantz, as he prefers to be named, would be a hardliner when it comes to security and things concerning the Israeli-Arab Conflict. That is unless you understand the Central Command and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the intricacies as one rises in the ranks amongst the officers. General Gantz was amongst a cadre of officers who either by active opposition or passive permission blocked numerous fine officers from reaching command ranks largely because they were overly religious and Zionist in their views on how the IDF should operate. This should be the first hint that maybe candidate Gantz might not be hardline or even right leaning, and that would be an accurate assessment. His assessments of the readiness of the fighting forces of the IDF were always on the pessimistic side and used these assessments to almost always advise appeasement. He had advised that it would be necessary to provide the Arab Palestinians with a state in order for Israel to reach a peace settlement and also rise in her standing amongst the community of nations. But, his supporters will point out, was his position as a military commander and advisor who had to keep the safety and lives of the troops foremost in his mind and coloring his assessments. There will be the claim that as a candidate he holds very centrist and level-headed positions which are no longer tainted by the military necessities and he can now be his own man. So, along those lines, let us evaluate some of his activities since departing from military service and the restrictive environment under his previous positions.

 

General Benjamin Gantz

General Benjamin Gantz

 

Since departing the IDF, Benjamin Gantz has been affiliated with two groups, Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), and until recently or possibly still is registered as part of the INSS team and is reputed to have been involved in the formulation of its “Peace Plan” as it is currently known. There is little if any difference between these two groups and they work in tandem, which is fairly easy as their central memberships are closely linked mix of former IDF, Shin Bet, Mossad, Border Police and other security personnel all of whom share a rather leftist leaning. We discussed the CIS in detail in our article from June 18, 2016, titled, “Political Declarations and Social Movements,” which was the follow-up article clarifying some points and adding a fair amount of detail to the article from June 17, 2016, titled, “When Opportunists Meet,” which was preceded by our initial mention of CIS and linking to their peace plan known as, “Security First,” a misnomer if ever there was one, and the article titled, “When Lunacy Rules and Lunatics Follow.” I know, why the silence since 2016? Well, that is easily explained, as these command officers were required to go through what is referred to as a cooling off period before they could enter politics. That period was three years and, as we mentioned back then, these agencies were mostly the tool which was to be utilized to keep them in the limelight and allow for Haaretz and other leftist news sources to continue to pump them up as the knight in shining armor who could rescue Israel from the clutches of the incompetents, which according to Haaretz and company is any and everybody right of Meretz and Zionist Union (Labor Party). With elections called, many observers have claimed this is the most opportunistic point in time for Prime Minister Netanyahu to easily glide right back into leading the next coalition with potentially an even more fanatical right wing group. How in the world these pundits came up with that will become more fogged and discredited as we continue.

 

The first item one must constantly remember about Benny Gantz is that he tries to pose as right wing and Zionist to the bone while his history, affiliations and positions are anything but what he purports. The plan, which, if he is smart, Benny Gantz will simply refer to as “the Plan” and try to leave it at that hoping that none of the media ask him to expound on “the Plan” which he will possibly have claimed was drawn up by a combined effort of the INSS and CIS, actually naming them as their names sound impressive, and then try and walk away at that point. The media will expound on the myriad of years of command, security and intelligence experience contained in these two groups, which when adding it up if you ignore the numbers of people who are on both panels, you will reach a really impressive number potentially over a thousand or so years. The problem is that the vast majority, if not all, the main characters in these two organization are “Two State Solution” proponents. Their plan is actually even worse, as they are a unique variety of “Two State Solution” fanatics. These groups first, it will be pointed out, are not in favor of Israel pulling back all the way. They will stress “all the way” possibly almost screaming it at the audience, crowd, televisions watchers and any other group which is being informed how great and wonderful the plan and Benny Gantz will be for Israel. Then they will quietly and calmly allow it to slip out that they only think Israel should pull back to the separation barrier, the anti-terror wall-fence, as this provides a defensible position and does not surrender the entirety of Judea and Samaria. They will allow the separation barrier to remain an undefined term which every person can, if the media succeeds, have their own mistaken idea of its placement and how much it differs from the 1949 Armistice Green Line, the pre-Six Day War lines. We want everyone to know what exactly is the difference so we have included a nice, easy to read, map with the Green Line in green, imagine that, and the security barrier in blue as they are in the region overlooking Tel Aviv (see map below). The separation barrier (anti-terror barrier) is partly wall, the pictures you have likely seen as they always wish to make it appear imposing, and partly a double fence with other detections devices and safeguards included. As you can easily visualize, the differences are relatively minor and the barrier divides Jerusalem right along the Green Line with no real deviations. Most of the barrier in Jerusalem is merely a fence when it ever is completed, or if it is ever completed. Still, using this as the new armistice line will not change the situation measurably from retreating to the Green Line unless you are one of the possibly ten to fifteen percent of the Jews residing beyond the Green Line but west of the Separation Barrier.

 

Green Line versus Security Separation Fence

Green Line versus Security Separation Fence

 

Benny Gantz has gone a little further in providing Israelis with a realistic view of where the parties lie on the political scale. Another figure whose speeches often make him appear to be a total Zionist and supportive of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is Yair Lapid who leads the Yesh Atid ticket. Why not, he founded and built the party and it sort of belongs to him and will possibly die should he ever retire from politics, which is not happening quite yet. Yair Lapid and a fair number of his party members are also honestly Two State Solution supporters. There were rumors circulating which claimed that Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz were going to run on a joint ticket. This would be great for Benny Gantz, as it would guarantee his being in the Knesset almost no matter what. The problem arises from having two men who both believe that they should be at the top of the ticket and possibly the next Prime Minister. A solution was offered but we doubt that they could decide which of them should be the early Prime Minister and who would be secondary. Their considering running as a joint list did provide one result which we hope would alert the average voter who is center-right, that neither of these men are center-right and could only in the loosest sense could even be considered center-left except that Israel has some parties so far left that the center is skewed leftward. This is used to paint Likud as an extreme right wing party, something it is not and never has been. Likud is at best a center-right party which has a large number of members who are spread from center and even center-left to actual right wing. The main thing is that both Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz are Two State Solution advocates and would prove disastrous for Israel, as both have also spoken in favor of separating from the Arabs without the need to reach an actual solution with recognition of Israel by the Arabs.

 

Should either Lapid or Gants become Prime Minister, their coalition would likely include other left wing and leftist parties along with the people specific parties whose only interest is retaining their government subsidies and in some cases their exclusion from the draft and IDF service. Should they actually form a government which allowed the separation from the Arabs without having any real peace agreement, that would leave Israel with a very bad situation. The problem would be the worst of the last disastrous situations which Israel now faces on two borders, Lebanon and Gaza. Simply separating from the Arabs, as they have suggested, would mean Israel relinquishing any claims to the regions beyond the security fence. Benny Gantz has addressed this by claiming he has learned from history and would demand that the IDF continue to patrol the regions where they are currently doing so. Well, he may have learned from Gaza that Israel needs IDF securing the regions from whence the terror originates but he apparently missed the lesson from southern Lebanon where the IDF was left in a region which Israel did not claim. That eventually led to the disorganized and rushed retreat which ensued after international pressures and internal pressure to bring the boys home due to constant attacks which were claiming their lives. This led to Hezballah and well over a hundred-thousand rockets all perched near the northern border targeting all of Israel. The idea of separating from the Arabs in Judea and Samaria would be the worst part of Gaza combined with the disasters of southern Lebanon, releasing all claims to areas which the Arabs would not be required to give anything in return and Israel could never reclaim and the IDF left standing vulnerable in an area which would not truly be occupied. These two men should never be elected to the highest office in Israel but should they combine their parties and perhaps find another few smaller parties to also join, then they might out perform Likud and take the elections leading to their forming the next coalition. This brings us to the commentary on the insanity which accompanies Israeli elections.

 

When Israeli elections are called, the initial occurrence is for people to start to form smaller parties with them having dreams of grandeur. When the time nears, those lists are closed and any parties need to announce if they are going to have a joint ticket, then negotiations become frantic and eventually these smaller parties combine or recombine with their original party. There are also those parties which normally run together and everyone assumes that will continue but the smaller party always demands more seats than votes they will bring with them and claim they will go the election alone which could damage both parties. The main party will often relent, but not to the extent which is initially demanded. Sometimes swelled heads get in the way of reason and the electorate are the eventual losers as many people voting their conscience end up not represented in the government. This also can work to weaken the chances for the winning party to form a coalition. We have noted something peculiar to this situation. On the left, if two parties have merely a few or even one thing on which they agree, sometimes not even that, they will agree to unite. On the right if two parties agree on everything but they disagree on one even minor issue, they will fight tooth and nail and even spite themselves and refuse to join even if it is for their mutual advantage. Politics is a strange world where unusual bedfellows often occur on the left and natural bedfellows remain distant on the right, the right needs to learn from the left that cooperation is far more successful than competition, especially mean spirited competition where they refuse to compromise because they claim their own voters would abandon them. Really? And exactly where would they go. When you weaken your chances for attaining threshold for entry to the Knesset, this is when your voters abandon you, go with a party which they mostly agree with, and is certain to make threshold.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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