Beyond the Cusp

December 2, 2014

Existential Crisis Most Likely to Bring New Elections

Filed under: Abdullah Abdullah,Absolutism,Abu Mazzen,Act of War,Administration,Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade,al-Aqsa Mosque,al-Aqsa Mosque,Amalekites,Appeasement,Appointment,Arab World,Arabs,Ariel Atias,Aryeh Deri,Avigdor Lieberman,Balanced Budget,Ballot Access,Barbarian Forces,Bashir al-Assad,Battle of Khaybar,Blood Libel,Borders,Britain,British Mandate,Budget,Cabinet,Cabinet,Caliphate,Chancellor Merkel,Civilization,Class Warfare,Coalition,Colonial Possession,Corruption,Count Ballots,Courts,Crusades,Danny Danon,Debt,Divided Jerusalem,Economy,Employment,Equal Responsibility,Equal Rights,Equal Treatment,Equality,Estonia,Eugenics,Europe,European Governments,European Union,Executive Order,Failed State,Fatah,Fatah Charter,Fayyad,Federal Reserve,Financial Crisis,Fiscal Cliff,Foreign Trade,Gaza,Germany,Golan Heights,Government,Government Control,Government Shutdown,Government Worker,Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hussani,Green Businesses,Green Line,Haaretz,Hamas,Hamas Charter,Hate,Hatnua,Health Care,Herzog,Hevron,Hezballah,History,Holy Sites,Hunger Strike,IDF,Inquisition,Internal Pressures,Internationalist,Intifada,Iron Dome,ISIS,Islamic Jihad,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Israeli Interests,Israeli Media,Jerusalem,Jerusalem Day,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,Jordan River,Joseph’s Tomb,Judea,Judean Hills,Justice Minister,Kever Yosef,Knesset,Labor Party,Land for Peace,League of Nations,Lebanon,Leftist Pressures,Likud,Mahmoud Abbas,Mainstream Media,Meaning of Peace,Media,Mediterranean Sea,Mercaz Harav Yeshiva,Meretz,Middle East,Middle East Media Research Institute,Ministers,Ministership,Moshe Feiglin,Moshe Yaalon,Mount of Olives Cemetary,Muhammad Abu Shahala,Muslims,Nablus,Naftali Bennett,Nahariya,Nasrallah,Nationalist,Negev Desert,Netanyahu,New York Times,Old City,One State Solution,Oslo Accords,Palestinian Authority,Parliament,Parliamentary Government,Partition Plan,Peace Process,PLO,PLO Charter,Pogroms,Politicized Findings,Post-Zionist,Power,President for Life,Price Tag Crimes,Prime Minister,Prime Minister,Prisoner Release,Promised Land,Protect Citizenry,Protective Edge,Public Service,Rabbi Yosef,Ramallah,Recognize Israel,Red Lines,Refugee Camp,Refugees,Religious Jews,Response,Response to Muslim Takeover,Response to Terrorism,Right of Return,Rock Throwing,Rocket Attacks,Roman Empire,Rome,Ron Prosser,Run-Off Elections,Saeb Erekat,Samaria,San Remo Conference,Sanctions (BDS),Security,Seige of Vienna,Senate Majority Leader,Senate Minority Leader,Separation Barrier,Settlements,Shas,Shechem,Shelly Yachimovich,Siege of Vienna,Single Payer Plan,Speaker of the House,State Legislature,Statehood,Support Israel,Syria,Tel Aviv,Temple Mount,Terror,Terrorist Release,Third Intifada,Threat of War,Tribe,Tzipi Livni,United Nations,United States,Uri Ariel,Validate Elections,Vote of No Confidence,Waqf,West Bank,World Opinion,World Pressures,Yair Lapid,Yasser Arafat,Yesh Atid Party,Yisrael Beiteinu,Yuli Edelstein,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 3:40 AM
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Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister in his own mind Yair Lapid had their fateful meeting where the real Prime Minister basically laid out what would be required from Yair Lapid and his party members in order to continue the current coalition. One of the problems which have struck the coalition has been the idea by the other party leaders that they should be the Prime Minister and run the government. Yair Lapid was rumored to even have attempted to patch together his own coalition and exercise a coup of sorts and take over the government through a deal with opposition parties thus forcing a new government without having new elections. Then we have the twisted dreams of Tzipi Livni who believes that she is fated to be Prime Minister because she honestly feels she has been robbed of her opportunity to lead the nation and will likely continue to pursue this phantom reality for the rest of her political life. There is the expected leader and head of the opposition parties Yitzhak Herzog, the leader of the Labor Party, has already claimed his rightful position as Prime Minister in waiting convinced that new elections will serve as the cleansing of the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu and instead bring a liberal wave sweeping Herzog into the Prime Minister slot. He was quoted speaking of the inevitable results of new elections stating, “The Labor party will lead the bloc that will win the election and give hope and a new reality for the citizens of Israel.” Apparently these Prime Ministerial candidates holding these delusional beliefs have either not read any of the polling done or they believe, as Yitzhak Herzog stated just the other day, that the polls are meaningless as they have sampled those they know and all of the people in their circle agree that new elections will place them at the head of the next government. If I were to ask those closest to me if I would win the coming elections and get to form the next coalition government I am sure that at least one or two would play along and assure me that I was not delusional, but they would also realize I was joking. Unfortunately for Israel, these Prime Minister wannabes are not joking and believe their own propaganda that they are the next chosen one.

 

This crisis was brought to a head when the proposed Jewish State Law which was intended to restate and reaffirm that Israel is the home of the Jewish People as well as a democracy where every citizen is guaranteed their respective rights as citizens. To any casual observer this law would be a no brainer but instead it became the initial protest vote where both Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni threatened their voting against the Jewish State Law should it be brought to the Knesset for a vote. This led to rewording the bill in attempts to make it palatable to the few who insisted on remaining unappeasable. The reality is that both party leaders were actually more upset that the governing coalition refused to tow their line and follow their agendas and instead were following the agenda put forth by the Prime Minister and originally voted for as part and parcel of joining the coalition upon its formation. So, it now appears that Israel is about to go into another election with all the usual posturing and backstabbing starting with each party holding their disparate meetings or votes or some combination thereof in order to present their list of proposed Knesset Ministers for well past their polled expectations to receive once the election results are finalized. The expectations from current polling, something that is almost meaningless as elections have historically brought surprises and twists beyond belief, has Likud remaining the largest block of Ministerial positions and thus most likely to be chosen to form the next coalition. There are indications that the next largest party might be Jewish Home which will be a surprise to the leftist parties who are expecting the Israeli voters to cast off both Likud and Jewish Home in favor of Labor, Meretz and Yesh Atid. The polling has also indicated that Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party will only manage to win half the number of seats in the Knesset than they did in their initial and surprising success in their inaugural presentation before the voting public in the last election. These polls also depicted Tzipi Livni’s HaTnuah Party as barely making a minimal entry number of seats if even breaking the threshold required to be represented in the Knesset, let alone receive the nod to form the next government. The one hope all of those vying to be the next Prime Minister can invest their aspirations upon is that the least likely thing which was unexpected by all the pollsters, party leaders, experts and prognosticators and initially dismissed as insignificant can still resonate with the Israeli public while remaining below the radar and surging forth on election day to produce the unexpected results in the next elections completely throwing all the news outlets an unseen curve which they will be at a loss to explain. The elections may prove once again that there is no such thing as a sure bet when the voting public gets to make the decisions.

 

Of course new elections are not yet guaranteed as it will take a vote in the Knesset to dissolve the parliament and hold elections and there is the possibility that Yair Lapid will return to the fold and swallow his pride for the good of the coalition and by such an action garner some new supporters which always is a desired result for any politician. Lapid was given five acts he must agree to if he desires to avoid new elections. These were to stop attacking the coalition and especially to end his criticisms of the building plans in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Israeli relations with the United States. Next he was to transfer the six billion shekels to the defense budget as promised for their development of Iron Dome systems and armored personnel carriers. Third was to release the funding for the IDF relocation to the new Negev as was agreed upon by coalition agreements, something Lapid was blocking going so far as to have frozen this funding taking what he referred to as a principled stand. Fourth was for him to support the final version of the Jewish State Law. Finally he would be required to surrender and shelve the zero percent VAT relief bill he had been pushing for very determinedly. This final demand is expected to be the last straw and the one Lapid will refuse to meet thus likely forcing new elections.

 

One reading the polls would expect that Lapid would find it easier to remain in the current coalition where his Yesh Atid Party enjoys nineteen seats in the Knesset, a far cry better than the nine seats which many polls have indicated he would receive from new elections. The guessing here believes that Yesh Atid would probably suffer an even bigger embarrassment and only manage six or maybe seven seats and be on its way to extinction unless Yair Lapid could find a path back to the promises and apparent ideals he initially presented as the guiding essentials set forth in the last election. Those who suspected that much of the Zionist and nationalist line that Minister Lapid had professed was more ruse than ideological foundation as it was presented. These suspicions proved to be valid as once in the government Yair Lapid appeared to inexorably veer to the left and discard much of his nationalist agenda and instead attempt to inject his liberal slant into policy even at the expense of manipulating the budget which he had promised certain arrangements and allocations which he in the end did not deliver on. And this may only be the tip of the iceberg of potential changes which might be produced by holding new elections. The largest changes are always the ways in which the factions and parties arrange their own coalitions’ makeup. The most evident breakup has already taken place in which the one-time marriage of Likud with Yisrael Beiteinu which will also mean that Avigdor Lieberman will be leading his own party rather than being second on the combined ticket with Bibi Netanyahu taking the top slot. Netanyahu is probably expected by most to continue to take the top slot on any Likud ticket but that may not be as guaranteed as one might believe. There will be a credible challenge to Netanyahu in the voting for the Likud ticket as Danny Danon is expected to give Netanyahu a challenge from the right and even more nationalistic Zionist side of the party. We could potentially see a Likud ticket with a new face at the helm which may signal a changing of the guard within Likud even should Danny Danon fall short in his challenge. Danon is definitely one of the future leaders in Likud and the time is rapidly approaching for these new leaders to step forth. Other than the breakup of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, there may be other alterations to more parties and combinations than could be readily covered in this article and are best left for after the parties have all filed and made public their intents. Then there will be the leadership challenges in parties other than Likud. We have to wait and see if the somewhat controversial leader of Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett, remains the top man on their ticket and whether they will continue with their current makeup or if some factions might go it on their own. Then there may be a contest for the leadership position of the Haredi parties, largely concerning in Shas and whether the more liberal and left leaning Arye Deri remains in the number one slot or if Eli Yishai or Ariel Atias will make a successful challenge from the more nationalist and right leaning side of the party. With the passing of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef there can now be a true contest for the leadership of the Shas Party. Labor just recently had a change in leadership with Yitzhak Herzog taking the top spot replacing Shelly Yachimovitch. After all is said and done the next government may very well have a similar outward appearance to the current coalition but within there will be some changes, just how many and how far this difference proves to be remains to be seen. If Likud has a new person topping their ticket, such a change could excite the electorate or perhaps the shock of Bibi Netanyahu being replaced will be too much for the Israeli public. Then there are some polls which have shown Jewish Home Party actually replacing Likud as the leader in the Knesset and thus very likely making their first name on their Knesset list the next Prime Minister. It still remains to be seen if that name will continue to be Naftali Bennett. And then again, there is still hope for yours truly as, after all, those I have talked to still hold out hope for me to be picked to form the next government, and why not? Talk about strange happenings, that would take the cake.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 25, 2014

Election Talk in Israel; Real Desire or Simply Idle Gossip?

Filed under: 24/7 News Reporting,Absolutism,Act of War,Administration,Appeasement,Bedouin Tribes,Borders,Building Freeze,Cabinet,Civilization,Class Warfare,Coalition,Cost of Living,Defend Country,Domestic NGOs,Early Elections,Economy,Elections,Equal Outcome,Europe,European Governments,European Media,European Union,Executive Order,Foreign Funding,Galilee,Government,Great Britain,Hamas,Hamas Charter,Higher Prices,History,Housing Shortage,Income,Increased Spending,Inflated Spending,Internal Pressures,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Israeli Interests,Israeli Media,Jerusalem,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,Jobs,Judea,Judean Hills,Leftist Pressures,Likud,Mahmoud Abbas,Mainstream Media,Media,Media Bias,Media Censorship,Ministership,National Debt,Netanyahu,Numbers,Old City,One State Solution,Oslo Accords,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Media,Parliament,Peace Process,Peel Commission,Politicized Findings,Post-Zionist,Pre-Conditions,Prime Minister,Promised Land,Protective Edge,Recognize Israel,Religious Jews,Samaria,San Remo Conference,Sanctions (BDS),Sderot,Secular Interests,Security,Separation Barrier,Settlements,Shas,Spending Cuts,Taxes,Tel Aviv,Temple Mount,Terror,Threat of War,Two State Solution,United States,United States Pressure,Validate Elections,Voting,Waqf,Yesh Atid Party,Yisrael Beiteinu,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 3:15 AM
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There are polls, editorials, talk show topics and all of the regular chatter and undertones that the current government is losing the support of the people or that the Prime Minister may call for elections while he feels certain his party will take the plurality, as a majority in Israeli politics of a political party of one for each citizen, or at least almost every whim having its own party even if simply to fill the ego of some of the most self-important people. This time the talk has some echoing reverberations which may find sufficient resonance to become amplified and actually have more than its rumored strength to the point of forcing real change, and in Israel change always means a new government, as does expectations of cemented static voter preference of the current Knesset representation. That is what makes following Israeli politics more like a carnival target shoot where each barrel has different warping causing their own spins and diverging paths which may not remain identical for more than two consecutive shots. You pay your monies and you take your chances. The only certain truths of the current situation is that a majority in one poll claims they desire new leadership in the Prime Minister’s office while another poll the same week has its largest plurality finding no one more preferred or qualified to be Prime Minister than the present Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu. So, what is the world to believe if the majority desires a different leader but a plurality of the population claims to desire the same party which would be sufficient for the reappointment of Netanyahu? All of these debates and polls and gossip leads to one critical question; is there anything that Prime Minister Netanyahu could possibly change in order to return faith in Israeli governance or are Israelis doomed to continue stumbling along reelecting the same parties and getting the same limited choices of leaders who change little and continue walking the same worn out paths leading one nowhere.

The truth is actually easy to ascertain as there are demands the majority of the Israeli people now support and if these stands taken by the people would only be reflected in the governance then there would be only a faint echo calling for new elections which would come solely from the somewhat-so-loyal opposition as expected even in the best of times. The problem for any leader tasked with being Prime Minister is that he has to attempt to stride a line so narrow full of twists, and turns forcing any leader to jump through hoops and perform stunning acrobatics in order to mollify all of the demands and interests which demand his acts satisfy their specific demands. The biggest problem is that apparently that many of those influencing or holding sway over the path that Prime Minister Netanyahu has chosen to tread are not Israelis but rather are the many external demands and pressures from such as European Union and individual European governments as well as the United States out of Washington and from New York the United Nations, the Arab and Muslim worlds and the threats and dangers they pose and other pressures from international sources. The average Israeli may believe they understand these forces and the powers behind them and how they might weigh on a Prime Minister’s mind, but until you have led at such a high level, these influences are probably as foreign to you as they are to most of us. There have been some who I have heard who believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu has given far too much weight to satisfying those external influences at the cost of shorting on many of the internal Israeli expectations. So, what might be the steps that Prime Minister Netanyahu might take by which he could once again receive the support he once enjoyed.

Perhaps looking back to the point where Prime Minister Netanyahu had his support take a dive in the polling might provide some insight. After the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists and during the three weeks of searching for them and their abductors and before their deaths had become a certainty, Prime Minister Netanyahu held a steady level in approval in polling, though as nearly the entirety of the Israeli public was holding their breath and praying and hoping, even as such required greater leaps of faith as time passed, made polling somewhat unreliable as it had a definitive reflection to the level of that hope. The following continuing and increasing rocket barrages by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror entities out of Gaza led to apprehensions and a general holding of the Israeli collective breath waiting for the other shoe to fall. After that shoe fell and Israel mobilized and set a date and time for a cessation of the rocket fire came and went triggering the Israeli military operations to disrupt and terminate the rocket fire began. During the periods of open warfare with intermittent ceasefires, most of which Israel agreed to ceasing operations while Hamas and fiends continued their offensives, the Israeli public support for Prime Minister remain high well into the conflict. Eventually the support began to wane but not for the reason many would like for the world to believe. The ire represented was due to timidity being shown by Israel in accepting virtually every offered ceasefire while the rockets continued to target Israeli population centers. Approaching fifty days the conflict approached a crucial point where for Israel to extend their military operations any further would have required a decision of whether the offensive was meant to end the rocket offensive or was it meant to retake Gaza and replace the Hamas government once and for all. The decision made by at the least a plurality of Israeli public, if not an obvious majority, boisterously called for retaking Gaza and split on whether to return it to Palestinian control or retain it retaking complete control over Gaza repealing the disengagement initiated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a decision which eventually led Benyamin Netanyahu to leave the cabinet and coalition supporting Ariel Sharon. Instead, Prime Minister Netanyahu accepted and bent over deeply to ensure that Hamas would also accept the ceasefire. This resulted in Prime Minister Netanyahu suffering a severe nosedive in his polling and it has yet to rebound completely. This is the challenge facing the Prime Minister and potentially the Israeli public as well.

Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to be leaning to favor the demands for Israelis to disengage from any confrontational activities or military actions and return to negotiations, even with the unity government which includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, universally recognized terrorist groups, which originate with the Europeans both as individual governments as well as the European Union and the plethora of NGOs directly financed by numerous European governments, both within Israel and within Europe, as well as the administration of United States President Obama who also is insisting that Israel also be prepared to make grand sacrifices and concessions even accepting demands from the Palestinians which cross numerous previously demanded Israeli red lines. Apparently President Obama has a similar disregard for Israeli red lines as he had for his own red lines he timidly refused to enforce when Syrian dictator Bashir Assad used chemical weapons against the Syrian people and rebel forces in an in your face dare proving that the United States under current leadership has no stomach for confrontation. Perhaps some of the gossip concerning new elections in the near future is part of Prime Minister Netanyahu testing the waters to discover how much trouble he might have bought for himself with his lack of boldness during the confrontation with Hamas and his refusal to execute the coup de grâce and put a permanent end to Hamas rule or even their participation in the Unity Government. Whatever the source, Prime Minister Netanyahu should realize that even should the Israeli not see anyone they particularly feel would be prepared and able to take the position of Prime Minister, that does not mean that an election season with the campaigning that nobody could make the case that they would be more responsive to the Israeli people and less so to the Europeans and to President Obama thus propelling their party into controlling the formation of the next government. The one guarantee is that should somebody from the Zionist or right wing of Israeli politics such as Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman or somebody else were to try and form a government, should Benyamin Netanyahu as leader of Likud refuse to join such a government holding out hoping that person fails in making a coalition and then he would be able to swoop in a save the day, such a move could prove very costly in the future as it might be perceived by the public as being a bit pretentious.

Is there another and potentially more productive path that the Prime Minister might consider? The simple answer is, yes. If Prime Minister Netanyahu instead of worrying about what the Europeans or the United States President thinks or desires and instead put the needs and concerns of the Israelis as the first and most important by far influence over his actions he might even do the unthinkable, actually win a majority for Likud in some upcoming election, well, maybe not an actual majority but sufficient votes to have a strong unarguable mandate. It is hear from all corners of the planet that everybody knows exactly what the final terms will be in making an agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Really? Is this well-known and unavoidable agreement be anything like what everybody knew would be the end agreement back in September of 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed and the only consideration was where exactly the demarcation would be in splitting Area B to set the borders between the Palestinian and the Israelis with the Palestinians retaining Area A and the Israelis Area C? Could this known result for an agreement be anything like what was thought when the United Nations decided that Israel should return some part of the lands gained after the Six Day War which then everyone knew that all of the West Bank would remain part of Israel, especially after the Jordanians refused any claim when making their peace with Israel? Where will this well-known agreement be in twenty years when the Palestinians are also demanding the majority Arab Galilee and the Bedouins are demanding their own state in the Negev? Perhaps it might be to the advantage of the Israeli people if the Prime Minister more clearly demanded that which Israel feels would be a fair and acceptable settlement instead of constantly listening obediently to what others demand that Israel agree to. The Prime Minister of Israel should represent that which is to the advantage of Israel and not what will mollify any foreign or international entities. And if the problem is presented that without the friendship of the Europeans and the United States as well as so many others then Israel might find herself defenseless as none of the weapon systems would be able to attain critical and necessary parts then perhaps Israel should not have permitted entire sectors of her defense capabilities to be so critically dependent on foreign suppliers. Israel may have entered into a Faustian deal with the United States because they feared the competition of Israeli weapons manufacturers, especially the competition from the Israeli aircraft industry so they offered a very enticing deal whereby Israel got two top of the line aircraft for the price of not producing one. At the time that must have been irresistible and back then who could have foreseen that someday there would come to be a President of the United States who was potentially antagonistic to Israeli desires and needs. Who would have said back a decade or so that in the middle of a conflict between Israel and terrorist forces backed by Qatar, Iran and who knows who else, that both the British and the United States would threaten or even embargo arms or parts shipments even those items which had already been agreed upon and paid for, but that is what Israel faced during Operation Protective Edge. The lesson might be that Israel needs to make every weapon system within Israel and not depend on others for our parts and resupply. Israel already has made some inroads in the defense market and there would very likely be a well-received response to any future weapons systems including but not limited to aircraft and even naval vessels not to mention the possibilities for dual use systems such as long-range capable bombers which could also be utilized by El Al for passenger transport making everybody happy all around. Surely if Japan feels capable of entering the air carrier market there might very well be room for an Israeli entry. The time is likely ripe for Israel to reconsider some basics and perhaps choose a path of self-reliance and forge forward no longer being dependent on others. The newly found resources off the Israeli coast make such even that much more of a possible direction as Israel will soon be an energy exporter for the foreseeable future granting her a very much stronger influence, especially once Israel becomes an alternative source for natural gas for the Europeans outside of Russian influence. Perhaps Israel requires another strong Israel first Prime Minister who decides to make decisions mainly with Israeli needs in mind and instead of waiting for the world to define the boundaries of Israeli actions and even her actual boundaries the next Prime Minister can do the delineating. Perhaps it is time to end the silent building freeze and address the silent intifada and then take on addressing the not so silent foreign demands. Anyone who would act with such bravado would win the hearts and minds of the majority of Israelis and possibly win a permanent preeminent place for their party as well. The ball is currently in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s court and his to strike, may he choose the direction and spin into a different direction and begin the march to present a strong Israel which sets her own agenda and goes forward with a necessary defiance, if that is what it requires.

Beyond the Cusp

August 21, 2013

Is Netanyahu About to Pull an Ariel Sharon?

Filed under: 1949 Armistice Line,1967 Borders,Administration,Amalekites,Ambassador Samantha Power,Anti-Israel,Anti-Semitism,Anti-Zionist,Appeasement,Appointment,Arabist,Arabs,Bayit Yehudi Party,Blood Libel,Borders,Building Freeze,Building Freeze,Cabinet,Chuck Hagel,Civilization,Condemning Israel,Condoleezza Rice,Defend Israel,Demolitions,Disengagement,Divided Jerusalem,Domestic NGOs,Elections,European Union,Executive Order,Fatah,Foreign Funding,Foreign NGOs,Gaza,George W. Bush,Government,Green Line,Hamas,Hate,History,International Politics,Islam,Islam,Islamic State,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Jerusalem,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,John Kerry,Judea,Judean Hills,Kotel,Labor Party,Mahmoud Abbas,Myth,Naftali Bennett,Netanyahu,Old City,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Legislative Committee,Partition Plan,Peace Process,Politics,Pre-Conditions,President Obama,Prime Minister,Prisoner Release,Promised Land,Response to Terrorism,Rocket Attacks,Russian Pressure,Saeb Erekat,Samaria,Secretary of Defense,Secretary of State,Settlements,Shas,Shelly Yachimovich,Statehood,Support Israel,Susan Rice,Tel Aviv,Temple Mount,Terrorist Release,Third Intifada,Tzipi Livni,United Nations Ambassador Rice,United States,United States Pressure,West Bank,Western Wall,World Opinion,World Pressures,Yair Lapid,Yesh Atid Party,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 5:11 AM
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Since the very first day after Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu accepted as the first party into his current coalition the Hatnuah Party and placed its leader Tzipi Livni as the new government’s Minister of Justice and placed Ms. Livni as the lead negotiator of the Israeli negotiations team with the Palestinians, I have had a creeping suspicion that Netanyahu was going to fall on his sword in order to satisfy President Obama and allow anything to be bargained away if it produced a treaty. What made things even worse, Netanyahu announced that she would have complete freedom and full latitude to do whatever she believed was necessary to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the model of the two state solution. The presumed safety catch that would limit anything that Minister of the Knesset Livni may eventually give away was presumably that there would have to be a Knesset vote to ratify any potential treaty and then if particular lands given away met the criteria, then there would also be a referendum of the Israeli people to decide whether or not any treaty would be accepted and ratified. But even here there are some suspicions and recent events and announcements have only served to deepen my qualms that all is not well in Jerusalem.

 

Before we theorize on the future and what we believe are the signs we will need to be on the lookout for and where such paths lead, perhaps we should review some of the most pertinent facts from the Gaza disengagement fiasco and what the steps were the last time such events transpired. The first item was that the President of the United States was George W. Bush who was perceived to be a good friend of Israel and one who, while not perfect, at least was not going out of his way to destroy and compromise Israel. The Secretary of State was Condoleezza Rice, who despite her misconceptions and misgivings such as believing the Palestinians were being persecuted in a similar manner to the Black Americans during the Jim Crow era; despite her idiosyncrasies, Secretary Rice honestly thought she was working towards a good end and really pursued peace and a better future for all, both the Palestinians and the Israelis; and despite their intents, the Bush Administration fell into a number of traps which doomed their efforts we can claim with some assurance as to its validity that they had honest and good intentions. Their first misstep was their decision to force Prime Minister Ariel Sharon into disengaging all Israeli presence from the Gaza Strip and turning it over to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians presumably so that the Palestinian leadership could demonstrate their abilities to rule and manage their own areas and live at peace alongside the Israelis. The thought was that once the Palestinian leadership had proved to administrate the Gaza Strip while preventing any terrorist attacks on Israelis or their territories, then the final formation of a Palestinian State could proceed without any further problems.

 

The next set of problems followed rapidly one on top of the next. President Bush gave Prime Minister Sharon guarantees that after Israel had released their control over the border areas between Egypt and Gaza, also known as the Philadelphia Corridor, that the European Union monitors and real-time remote video monitoring by Israeli security experts would prevent the movement of weaponry into Gaza as well as monitoring the passage of people interdicting any suspected terrorists. Soon thereafter it was time for the Palestinian government to hold elections. Big mistake number two was cued up as Secretary of State Rice insisted, with the backing of President Bush, that all factions be permitted to field candidates for the Palestinian Parliament, of course including Hamas. Despite warnings from Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, and numerous Middle East experts who warned that allowing Hamas to field candidates would guarantee that Hamas would take the majority of the seats and rise to unseat Fatah as the majority in the Palestinian Authority, the elections were held allowing Hamas candidates who won a majority of the seats as the Palestinians voted for anybody but Fatah as they perceived that Hamas would not commit fraud anywhere near the levels which had been rampant to date in the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas victory scared the living daylights out of Abbas who feeling certain that Hamas would also replace him as President and Chairman of the Palestinian Authority forcing him to cancel elections for these offices in order to preserve his positions. The Americans saw no problem with this as the overwhelming Hamas sweep in the Palestinian parliamentary elections had shaken their trust that they understood the Palestinian’s moods and proclivities. Soon the worst of the disasters that followed one after another came to fruition as Hamas executed a violent coup and took complete control over the Gaza Strip forcing Fatah and their portion of the Palestinian Authority from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. With Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, the European Union monitors made a quick retreat from their posts back to their hotels in Israel never to return to their posts after which the Hamas personnel who took control of the Rafah Crossing destroyed the video monitoring equipment. This forced Israel to rely on the good graces of Egypt to monitor the Egypt-Gaza interchange which fortunately was more successful than one might have originally expected. As it turned out, the Egyptians had issues with Hamas as Hamas was directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood which gave Egyptian President Mubarak reasons to be suspicious and to actually monitor the border.

 

Today the President of the United States Barack Obama is considered not exactly a trusted friend to Israel and some of the members of his Administration are equally not to be trusted by Israel. Some of those who cause both politicians and residents in Israel the most qualms would include Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power and some might add Vice President Biden though his record is not as adverse as others are. As anyone who has been watching the news out of Israel and the Palestinian areas has noted, the negotiations have been reinstated but at considerable cost to the Israelis who were cajoled and pressed into releasing over the period of the negotiations up to one-hundred-four terrorists who were serving life sentences, some multiple life sentences, and had much Israeli blood on their hands in order to entice and give proper cover for Mahmoud Abbas to agree to negotiate. Of course Israel only received the privilege of holding talks for their unprecedented concessions. Even with such a sacrifice by the Israelis in releasing many terrorists whom they had refused to release numerous times before, this momentous gesture was challenged by the Palestinian leadership who demanded even more. They demanded that the borders for their state be debated from the standpoint that they were to be assumed to be starting on the 1949 Armistice Lines and included every inch of the contested areas of Judea and Samaria plus they insisted they include all of Eastern Jerusalem including all of the Old City and Temple Mount. Israel refused to grant such a request but it has been leaked that Secretary of State Kerry assured Abbas that he would steer any discussion over borders in a direction that would meet his demand. Then, almost immediately after the first meeting when the Israelis announced their intention to build housing in parts of Jerusalem and the surrounding Israeli towns which the Palestinians claim is on their lands the Palestinians threatened to terminate the negotiations unless the Israelis instituted a building freeze immediately and were prevented from realizing such plans. This fortunately blew up in their faces as Secretary Kerry, to his credit, announced that the Palestinians had been offered a building freeze but had chosen the prisoner release instead and that they had been informed that such an announcement of the building was coming within the near future and they had not objected at that time. This squelched their threat to end the negotiations.

 

The negotiations are supposed to be held in complete silence with nothing to be released to the press or announced in any other manner. Thus far that criterion has unfortunately held. The first sign that trouble is on the horizon came this week when Shelly Yachimovich announced that the Labor Party is ready, willing and very able if not anxious to replace Bayit Yehudi and Naftali Bennett in order to assure that any treaty will be enacted without any difficulties. Here are some of the signs that we need to look for in the coming months of this presumably nine-month series of negotiations which are to produce a workable treaty. There will be meetings out of which there will be no announcements or release to the press held by Prime Minister Netanyahu with his inner cabinet, the same people who voted to allow the release of the hundred plus terrorists. Lead negotiator Tzipi Livni will be noticeable at each of these meetings and may even appear to have a spring in her step and a bright smile that refuses to droop. Eventually there will be disagreements which at some point will lead to a rearrangement of the makeup of the coalition. We will begin to hear rumors that Naftali Bennett and his Bayit Yehudi are being marginalized and may soon be replaced in the coalition. At the same time it is possible that Yair Lapid and the Yesh Atid Party may also be mentioned as inhibiting certain objectives and may join Bennett in being replaced in the coalition. The new coalition will replace these two Zionist parties with Shas and Labor both of whom will willingly and enthusiastically approve virtually any peace agreement hammered out by Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat.

 

Many people would claim that this would not make any difference as any peace treaty if it requires surrender of any sizeable amount of territories must face a referendum of the people and the Israelis would never allow Jerusalem to be divided or for all of the lands beyond the Green Line to be forfeited to the Palestinians. The problem here is the wording as I have been led to understand is rather vague on which lands being forfeit would require a referendum by the people. The last item which will signal an imminent disaster will be the start of a debate in the United States over providing peacekeeping troops to be placed in the new Palestinian State to prevent terrorist attacks and keep everything quiet between the new Palestinian State and Israel. Needless to point out that the American peacekeepers will provide little protection and instead simply provide the terrorists a plethora of targets until they are pulled due to overwhelming demands by the Americans themselves as their ire is raised over mounting casualties. Once we get to the point that there are debates in the United States over providing peacekeepers the only salvation which Israelis may pray for is either the American public raising a holy eruption of indignation that prevents President Obama from following through with his promise to provide peacekeepers or for Heavenly intervention. My prayers will be for Heavenly intervention.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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