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Friday, June 21, 2013
The emperor has clothes
Op-ed: PM Netanyahu's statements in
favor of peace talks merely meant to placate his coalition partners Elyakim Haetzni
Danny Danon declared that Netanyahu is not
serious when he speaks of the two-state solution, meaning the prime minister is
not rejecting his own principles and rightist promises. Netanyahu lost the
elections, and barely managed to remain in power thanks to a losers' alliance
with Lieberman, who also feared a downfall.
Let us examine Netanyahu's options. If he tries to please his new
followers from the Left and enter into negotiations on a two-state solution,
Habayit Hayehudi will leave the government. If he tries to replace Bennett's
party with Shas, Yesh Atid will quit. If Labor's Yachimovich is asked
to join the coalition, she will demand such a price that will split Likud and
leave Netanyahu without a home. Unlike Sharon, the current PM will not be
adopted by the Left.
There are only 20 Likud MKs because the Left did not vote for Netanyahu, despite
the Bar-Ilan speech, while the Right ran away because of it. Netanyahu is
heading a Tzipi Livni coalition that includes Tzipi Hotovely, Yaakov Peri and
Orit Strock. How does he do it? By not rocking the boat. As long the "peace
process" remains dormant, the fragile coalition remains in tact – albeit without
any political, social or economic purpose (apart, perhaps, from the Iranian
issue, although this appears to be the prime minister's private project).
The coalition stands on two feet: The 31 Likud-Beiteinu MKs, who are
connected to the coalition only by their desire to remain in power, and the 31
MKs from Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, who are joined together by the "equal
share of the burden" ideal, or, in other words, the desire to keep the haredim
away from positions of power. This alliance will hold as long as the diplomatic
issue remains stalled. So what reason does Netanyahu have to take the
"Palestinian bear" out of the woods?
Where can the peace talks take us when the Arab world is becoming more
and more extreme and is soaked in blood? Can Abbas, who is far from being Sadat
(who didn't survive), really follow the peace path at such a time? Would he give
up one stone in the Western Wall?
The peace camp takes comfort in the fact that "only" 150,000 settlers
would have to be uprooted. Another 250,000 would remain in the "settlement
blocs." As part of the land swaps with the Palestinians, Israel would have to
give up large parts of the Negev, the Lachish region and the Beit She'an Valley.
Netanyahu has yet to confront the "settlers" from those areas. When he tries, he
may miss the settlers from the West Bank.
And why should Netanyahu risk his premiership? In order to sit with Jibril
Rajoub, who said he would have dropped an atomic bomb on us if he could? With
Abbas, whose media outlets continue to deliver the message that Jaffa, Haifa and
Beersheba are Palestinian cities conquered in 1948 and who names every square
and school after terrorists who killed Jews?
Netanyahu swore he wouldn't trust any agreement but would count only on
the IDF forces that would be deployed in "Palestinian" territory. Does he really
believe he will find an Arab partner who will agree to such an arrangement? When
the entire concept of a Palestinian state seems so unrealistic, it is no wonder
that Danon tried to assure us that our prime minister has not gone mad.