The media relays the results of polls taken every day and often more than once a day if there are two polls available. If no new poll is released they discuss the trending of the polls over the last few days or the polls this week compared to last week or anything in order to stress the same point endlessly, the race is between Labor and Likud and everyone else are insignificant. They claim that the choice is between returning current Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and taking the chance with Yitzhak Herzog-Tzipi Livni splitting the position between them. Netanyahu has the disadvantage in that the majorities of the Israeli media caters to the Tel Aviv liberals and mostly are antagonistic against the Prime Minister and would really love for their hopes to be realized and have Herzog and Livni sharing the time as Prime Minister. There was a report last week which actually went so far as to test if all of the Arab parties were to run a joint campaign along with Meretz and the Communist Parties they would have sufficient numbers to challenge for the spot of having to share the office of Prime Minister on some kind of rotating schedule that only a fiction novelist or a theoretical mathematician could make up a formula. This fantasy was probably run so they would not have to note that the one poll available showed not only Netanyahu wining but with Labor not taking second place, though I have yet to see such a poll.
The fact that no poll has shown much difference at the top with Labor and Likud both hovering between twenty-two and twenty-five mandates and taking turns leading over the other makes the entirety of the polling both irrelevant and questionable as to what exactly is their sampling distribution. There are likely a number of sampling biases which make these polls potentially far off from what the actual distribution of the actual electorate, but that will not bother these reporters of fact and fancy. The problem is that by their daily repeating the same basic numbers and whittling the race down to between two parties the newsmakers and pollsters are reinforcing the idea that nobody outside the two parties which have traded the office of Prime Minister between themselves with barely an iota of difference to show for it they are robbing the Israeli public of seeking someone outside of these two overly tried and not so true choices. Additionally, one must wonder from where they get their samples for these polls. From the numbers I have seen it appears they are sampling heavily in Tel Aviv and its surrounding suburbs and other cities, western Jerusalem, Haifa, a few areas in the Galilee, of which much would include some of the Arab cities, Eilat and Beersheba and that is about it. There is probably little if any polling taken from East Jerusalem and the Israeli populations living beyond the Green Line or the population bordering Gaza in the south. This leaves out a fairly large segment of the population which is less likely than the rest of Israel to vote outside of the traditional leading parties. By ignoring such in their polling, as we suspect, they leave these people with a false impression that if they do not vote to support either Labor or Likud then they are only voting for minor members on what may be the coalition and not deciding on who will win and lead the coalition. Why might this be important?
That is the easy part of this exercise. The one thing which has been proven is that there are a large segment within Israel who is tired of the same political gamesmanship and the trading the lead position between two parties which offer no real difference. Both Labor and Likud have agreed to surrender lands to form an Arab state out of lands which by international law and every treaty since 1920 has denoted as reserved for the Jewish state, end of statement. The only agreement which suggested otherwise was a nonbinding resolution from the United Nations General Assembly which was immediately rejected by the Arab League making it null a void. The entirety of the Arab claims to an Arab state beside Israel on Israeli land derives from that rejected resolution which was negated by the very Arabs who wish to now use it for their advantage as they found that Israel was a little more difficult to erase from the map than they had figured. They rejected that resolution in order to erase Israel from the map at the birth of the nation and invaded with troops representing more than a half dozen nations and with an advantage of hundreds against each Israeli soldier and Israel survived. They tried again in 1967 and failed again losing even more land which Israel returned the majority when making peace with Egypt thus meeting the requirement to return lands and retaining those lands Israel felt she was necessary for her to have defendable borders. When after the Israeli war to retain her founding in 1948-9 Egypt gained control of Gaza and Jordan gained control of Judea and Samaria which Jordan renamed the West Bank when they annexed those lands. Other than Britain and Pakistan every nation and the United Nations referred to the Jordanian control of these lands as an occupation rejecting the annexation. Here is the sixty-four-thousand dollar question; to who did the lands of Judea and Samaria belong that Jordan was thus occupying? If you guessed Israel as the proper owner of those lands occupied by Jordan go to the head of the class. The same was true of Gaza which Egypt occupied. This was amongst the reasons that Egypt and Jordan did not retain these lands when making their peace with Israel; they knew full well that those lands belonged rightfully to Israel.
The next question would be when was the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the forerunner of the Palestinian Authority, first organized and come into existence and what was the stated aim of the PLO? The answer is that Yasser Arafat with his second in command Mahmoud Abbas declared the existence of the PLO in 1964 with the stated aim to eradicate Israel and return the occupied lands to their rightful owners, the Jordanians. You see in 1964 the only lands Israel occupied were its boundaries as set in the Armistice of 1949 which is also known as the Green Line and often referred to as the 1967 lines or boundaries. The lands of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) were still under Jordanian occupation and Gaza was still occupied by Egypt in 1964 thus if the Palestinians Arabs having their own state in those areas as is so demanded today, it could have been established between Jordan and Egypt without even bothering to ask or demand anything from Israel. The Palestinian Arab desire is not for their own state but to erase the Jewish state, to destroy Israel and return all of the lands to Islamic rule. Thus the chanted phrase heard so often around the world at demonstrations and such of, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” That is the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea which pretty much defines the eradication of Israel the last time I checked a map and not two nations living side by side in peace and security. Maybe with this in mind we should return to the Israeli upcoming elections.
The three frontrunners for the Prime Minister’s leadership of Israel are defined as between Benyamin Netanyahu and the tag team pair of Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Let’s take them in reverse order. Tzipi Livni is a well-known entity. She was a solid Likud member and right-wing Zionist through and through before delusions of grandeur struck her with a touch of insanity. When Ariel Sharon was not able to get the rank and file of Likud to support his unilateral disengagement from Gaza which meant removing close to ten-thousand Israelis from their homes, businesses and communities as well as removal of all IDF troops and security gathering from Gaza he formed a new party named Kadima which Tzipi Livni joined with promises of future high positions dancing in her head. The turning all of Gaza over to the Arab Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, that is Abbas the Holocaust denier who also was fundamental in supervising the funding and approving the plans for which he provided funding of the Munich Olympics murdering of the Jewish teams and their coaches in the Olympic village as well as the funding and particulars in the assassination of an American Ambassador in the Sudan in 1973, would prove to be fateful beyond anything imagined at the time. That means it led directly to the takeover of Gaza by Hamas and the thousands upon thousands of rockets rained down on innocent Israeli civilians ever since which have resulted in three wars in response. Ariel Sharon was struck down by a stroke and subsequently passed on after spending the remaining years of his life without ever regaining consciousness. This placed Tzipi Livni as the favored person to take the next elections for Prime Minister and after the votes were counted it appeared that was to be so as Kadima won twenty-eight mandates and Likud won a mere twenty-seven. Tzipi Livni was on the cusp of winning the Prime Minister’s chair and all that remain was the Israeli President choosing her to form the coalition. The selection fell to Israeli President Peres who had left the Labor Party to also join Kadima before being elected to be President so of course he would choose Tzipi Livni to form the next coalition as Kadima had the most mandates and had won the election. Inexplicably it was not to be so as President Peres decided to give the nod to the second place Likud party placing Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Ever since that day Tzipi Livni has been possessed with becoming the Israeli Prime Minister to make up for having it stolen from her by Netanyahu who she holds responsible for cheating her out of what should have rightfully been her chance to grab the golden ring and lead as she was born to lead. This acting as if fated and her delusions which had her making offers to Abbas which were not approved by the Prime Minister when she was trusted to negotiate with the Arab Authority to try and reach an agreement was simply further evidence that Livni was losing her grip on reality. She now believes that this election was called to prevent her from completing the negotiations and once again she was cheated by Netanyahu, this time from a Nobel Peace Prize. I obviously fear her ever sitting as Prime Minister.
Labor Party Leader Yitzhak Herzog has made his feelings quite clear in that he believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu is solely responsible for the soured relations between the White House and the Israeli government. He discounts the good relations which Netanyahu has forged with the Congress and the people of the United States and has set as his campaign theme his promise to repair the damage and reconcile with United States President Obama. He has made it clear that flexibility is what is required and that regress is what must precede progress with the White House. Considering the animosity President Obama has shown for Israel and her safety and interests, making nice and bending to his will can only result in a disaster for Israel. The one saving grace is that even if Herzog were to bend and agree to everything President Obama demands and thus present to Abbas the 1967 lines and east Jerusalem and the withdrawal of every Jew back inside the Green Line, which would be a disaster waiting to happen for Israel, the dangers such a deal would place Israel in would be irrelevant as even such a deal would be refused by Abbas as he would demand the right of return for five-million plus Arab refugees. Even should President Obama also make that one of his demands and Herzog agree, I would continue to expect Abbas to live up to the expectations of Abba Eban who once said, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The problem is that once any Israeli Prime Minister agrees to any negotiations point, even if it is refused by the Arabs, the next negotiations will be demanded to begin from that point with everything once previously agreed with included as the starting point and then a list of a number of further demands to be debated. Eventually those debate points become preconditions which Israel is obliged to meet, as if they were as claimed, Israeli obligations. The fact that Herzog is promising to make amends to President Obama and claims that the problem with Prime Minister Netanyahu is that he has been unwilling to make a sufficiently generous and proper offer which would be acceptable to Mahmoud Abbas and that he would be willing to go that extra mile to make peace as getting a peace agreement with Abbas’s signature is necessary because such an agreement will end the terrorist attacks and flowers will bloom and kittens will rain down on little parachutes from the skies. (There are some who believe this situation must have occurred in Nahariya thus providing the town with wall to wall cats everywhere.) Still, a Prime Minister Herzog would weaken any future Israeli attempt to negotiate if that is what is truly desired by the Israeli people, which could be what this election could and should be about, maybe the next one if not this.
This leaves Netanyahu who has been Prime Minister since 2009 without making any progress but at least only losing ground in the field of world opinion, something which would be unavoidable no matter who was Prime Minister. The problem with Benyamin Netanyahu is that he lost some pivotal points to President Obama and completely missed some opportunities to regain the upper hand. When President Obama forced him to make an apology on the spot on Air Force One, Prime Minister Netanyahu might have been better served to have refused to take the phone or to have offered a half apology such as he regrets that Prime Minister Erdogan (he was the Turkish Prime Minister at that time) has chosen to make such a monumental problem which has caused this rift between former friends and allies and that we regret that it proved necessary to resort to force in response to the ambush onboard the Mavi Marmara and Israel hopes that relations are able to be repaired and as Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu is willing to meet and discuss any difficulties. There was another pivotal point when Prime Minister Netanyahu was visiting the White House and President Obama reaching the height of hubris, turned to leave the meeting in the middle of discussions and instructed Prime Minister Netanyahu and his advisors to talk amongst themselves and let one of the staffers know when they were ready to meet President Obama’s demands but right then he was going to head to the family quarters in the White House to have dinner with his family and he would return should the Israelis reach some acceptable position. That should have been greeted with an agreement that perhaps both sides were too hungry for cordial discussion and perhaps a fresh start the next day is in order and that they will await the President’s call should he care to continue the discussion, meanwhile Netanyahu and advisors are also going to have dinner at Maison Blanc (one of if not the highest rated restaurant in the nation’s capital). Prime Minister Netanyahu started out in his relations with President Obama with two strikes against him and double vision blurring his being able to judge the coming pitches which were guaranteed to be sharp curve balls. President Obama had set his position on Israel on his initial Inauguration Day when he made his very first call from the Oval Office in the White House that afternoon calling not a head of state or even an ally but he made that first phone call to talk and joke with his friend Mahmoud Abbas. To make matters worse, once Abbas wore thin and was no longer best friend forever, President Obama has let slip who is his best friend currently and that person is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Still, the greatest mistake Netanyahu made was to agree that the two state solution was the only acceptable resolution to the Arab demands for their own state within Israeli lands. Once he made that promise he lost all bargaining power with the American President as all he cared was to hear that agreement to extrapolate to a total Israeli surrender sometime in the future and still within the time frame of his time in office. This is still President Obama’s dream, to force an Arab state next to or even instead of Israel whichever proves necessary and doable.
That brings us to what can Israelis do to avoid the traps which have been set all along the path to reconciliation with the Arabs and Mahmoud Abbas as their leader. The choice needs to take the past and the leading events which have brought Israel to this juncture. One of the largest teachable moments was given when Israel pulled the unilateral disengagement of Gaza and the subsequent takeover by Hamas and the ensuing wars between Hamas and Israel. When Israel pulled completely out of Gaza they were supposed to be granted some warming and greater acceptance that Israel was making an effort to meet and win the hearts and minds of the Arabs. The result was not love or even mild support but instead when Hamas took over and began raining rockets and mortars down on Israeli civilians all along the Gaza border and beyond the world sat silent as if nothing was out of balance or demanding denunciations. Finally, when the numbers of rockets became too large and too frequent Israel reacted militarily and one would think that Israel going into Gaza to protect her civilians would have met with support from at least the Europeans or the American President, but nothing of the sort was coming. Instead of understanding or standing with Israel as she defended against the rain of rockets into civilian areas there not only was no support or understanding from the Europeans or the American President but instead there came condemnations from Europe and a call for both sides to show restraint from the United States. The same was the situation the next two times Israel was forced to defend herself with this last summer the United States President taking the additional step of refusing to allow resupply of necessary weaponry including the essential guided munitions which permit for precise targeting thus reducing collateral damage. So we have established the world will hate Israel even when Israel surrenders land in the hopes of peace only to get naked aggressions in exchange for granting land to the Arabs. So much for ever receiving the approval from Europe and not from the current President in the United States, so what next? If the desire is for more of the same then Netanyahu is your man as this is exactly his plan whether he admits so or not and if you want this on steroids potentially surrendering the entirety of Judea and Samaria along with East Jerusalem, then the Livni-Herzog shared Prime Minister are your choice. Choosing thusly will not only place Israel’s future in doubt but will have surrendered many Jewish holy sites which will probably be destroyed just as they were destroyed by the Jordanians. What Israel requires is a new face with a new plan to replace the same old tune where it is Labor then Likud then Labor then Likud back and forth making few if any changes but both making small concessions, the same territorial concessions which have changed the vernacular from Israel retaining almost all of Judea and Samaria along with East Jerusalem to Israel returning to what Abba Eban referred to as the “Auschwitz Borders.”
Israel is at a point where she needs, nay, requires a change from the same-old same-old and a drastic turn from the past exercises of giving concessions for the privilege of being spat upon and saying thank you and here is another concessions and some lands you can demand from us for perpetuity into the future. Israel needs a leader who can explain to the people in plain language a future with hope and promise instead of hardships and potentially a deadly decay through pressured negotiations and all which comprises as their conclusion. Likud had an opportunity to offer such change but their list proved that they were not about to select new leader and offer up Danny Danon but overwhelmingly they chose not to change horses in midstream. That leaves looking to the other parties for a choice. The candidate most likely to be in a position to be capable of receiving sufficient votes to receive the nod from President Reuven Rivlin to form a ruling coalition making their party chairman and the holder of the first slot on their ballot becomes Prime Minister. The closest party which is within ten points of the current polling leaders is the Jewish Home Party which is running along with Tacoma Party and together they are approaching twenty votes and real contention. The leader who would become Prime Minister would be Naftali Bennett. His campaign slogan is for Israel to stop apologizing. He makes his point in this video below.
Naftali Bennett has realized and stresses those Israeli efforts to play nice and bend and twist to meet every expectation in order to please European governments, the European Union, United Nations, United States, Arab nations, and to prove the BDS and other detractors that Israel is really not such a bad place and that the people are humane and caring. Despite these efforts, the world continues to hate Israel and make more and more demands seemingly with the end result being little or no Israel left. Bennett is suggesting that as long as we are going to be treated in this manner, Israel may as well give the Europeans primarily something they can really sink their teeth into and complain about and return some of what was initially intended to make up Israel. His point makes some sense that as long as everybody will demand concessions from Israel, even as just an enticement to bring Abbas and the Arabs to the negotiating table, is ridiculous and; if anybody will be required to offer something of material worth for Israel, it is the Arabs who should be required to concede something of value before Israel would be required to return to the negotiations table. Every week Abbas decides that he is better off demanding greater offerings before he comes to the table, Israel should annex another few acres of lands. There needs to be a price that the Arabs pay for their intransigence and the best price is land. Bennett’s line for Israelis to stop kowtowing before every nation hopefully will be taken to heart across the width and breadth of the land. Perhaps offering less land and reclaiming much every time Abbas and the Arab spokespeople decide not to negotiate Israel should annex another piece of land or a city. The areas Israel target initially should be the areas where there exist large numbers of Jews already residing followed by the cities of importance from out of the Bible. That means annexing all of Jerusalem then Hevron followed by Shechem (currently known as Nablus), Jericho and so on. The world will go into potentially new areas of indignance with a slight possibility of a few going into catatonic shock completely incapable of speech. Much of the world may initially refuse to recognize the areas annexed by Israel as legitimate but over time they would adjust. Any areas annexed which has a large number of Arabs not citizens of Israel, these people should be offered a choice of continuing to reside in Israel as legal resident foreigners or to relocate at which point they would be given remittance for their property plus a generous relocations allotment and airfare or other transportation costs taking them to whatever country they wish to reside. Areas which Israel would not wish to extend her direct rule would be granted semi-autonomy where they would elect their own leaders and be left to run their own lives but would be under Israeli security and the lands would be considered part of Israel. Perhaps in some future period complete independence may be considered but such would not be guaranteed. Whether or not Abbas and the other kleptocrats would be permitted to remain would be determined at such time as would necessitate such a decision. Needless to say that such actions would negate the Oslo Accords relegating them to the dustbin of history as they already have been shattered by the recent unilateral declarations and moves committed by the Arab Authority which negated their solemn commitments under the Oslo Accords.
Beyond the Cusp