Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pressuring Netanyahu

Obama utilizing Bibi’s greatest weakness; inability to withstand pressure

Elyakim Haetzni

I dreamt that I returned home after a long absence and a hostile neighbor started to embitter my life: He threatened, cursed, and broke windows. The neighbors said that because of me there was no peace in the neighborhood and sent a delegation to my house. The thing is, they explained, that the neighbor wants my wife, and therefore in the interest of peace they are offering territorial and functional compromises. During the time of negotiations, they also ask that I put my relationship with my wife on hold. Are you crazy? I yelled at them, and kicked them out of my home. Subsequently, they informed the journalists waiting outside for a “breakthrough” that I “hate peace.” I woke up frightened. I hate peace? After all, I merely love my wife.

In his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu still refused to hand over the Jewish homeland to the neighbor, even theoretically, and also did not agree to temporary put it on hold (“settlement freeze”) as preparation for divorce. Ever since then, Netanyahu had been rushing down the slippery slope: He declared his endorsement of the “two-state vision,” froze Jewish construction in Jerusalem as well, razed Jews home in Judea and Samaria with the help of the defense minister and State Prosecutor’s Office – which regularly endorses Peace Now positions at the High Court - stepped back from the “natural growth” formula, and already reached agreement on a “temporary” freeze – curbing the flow of blood and oxygen to the limb about to be cut off.

A majority among the people objects to Netanyahu’s way and identifies with the contradictory position of his deputy, Yaalon. A recent poll undertaken recently by Maagar Mochot (on behalf of IMRA) revealed the following:

a. 52% of respondents object to the freezing of construction in exchange for Arab gestures – 33% are in favor (within Netanyahu’s party, 70% resist.)

b. 51% endorse Minister Yaalon’s call to complete the permit process for Judea and Samaria outposts – 24% object (within Likud, 73% support this view.)

c. 41% believe that Peace Now “caused great damage to the State of Israel” – only 19% object to this statement.

d. 55% said they think Netanyahu is currently going down a slippery slope vis-à-vis President Obama – only 26% disagreed. (Meanwhile, 47% of respondents said a temporary construction “freeze” will become permanent, while only 15% disagreed.)

Netanyahu is addicted to polls and is likely aware of the public opinion objection to his concessions. What then prompts him to again go down the slippery American slope, which in the past already prompted his government’s collapse? The Americans, who are experts on preparing psychological profiles for foreign leaders, discovered the man’s weakness, which neutralizes all his good qualities – inability to withstand pressure – and they are exerting brutal and insulting pressure on him. On the other hand, Netanyahu does not fear similar domestic pressure, knowing that the “National Camp” will refrain from again toppling a “rightist” government in favor of a party such as Kadima.

However, Netanyahu is wrong here. First, because there is a limit to how much one can abuse the will of the people and the will of one’s own party. On one occasion they elected Sharon as leader of the Right and discovered him on the Left, and now it’s happening to them again. Secondly, there is no need to hand over power. When the Brits became fed up with Chamberlain they did not elect Labor. Rather, they replaced him with another leader from the same party: Churchill.

And most importantly: Some issues cannot be controlled by cold calculations, including a nation and party whose reaction comes from the heart or “gut,” even in contradiction to logic and a cost-benefit analysis. For example, values considered to be outdated, such as the notion of the land of our forefathers and our attachment to our homeland.

For this reason, we may yet hear the battle cry: “Are you crazy? We do not hate peace; we merely love our land.” And then, the American stick may break, and Netanyahu may pay the price by losing his job

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