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Monday, 3 December 2012

How Bibi’s Horrid Hatchet Job Rebounds

This is a bad day. It is one on which to reflect that not only does Israel have senior politicians in prison, it also boasts spiteful bullies in Cabinet and no statesmen left at all.

Benjamin.NetanyahuWhat possessed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce the construction of three thousand new housing units in the West Bank in response to last week’s unilateral Palestinian U.N. status upgrade is beyond understanding.

Not only has he now alienated Israel’s most important friends, Netanyahu has  placed himself in the impossible position of no return, both on the building plans and the decision to delay the transfer of 450M NIS ($118M) in taxes Israel had collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. If he were to retreat, he would appear weak and foolish. The best we can hope – should he see sense – is to let the building go by default and to allow the money to be transferred in dribs and drabs.

As I write, both the U.K. and France  have summoned their respective Israeli ambassadors for ‘talks’. However, the suggestion that Matthew Gould, Britain’s Ambassador to Israel may be recalled has been dismissed as speculation.

What cannot be challenged is that Israel may well lose its preferential trading terms in Europe and that United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed "grave concern" at the building plans, warning they could prove fatal to peace efforts.

We must listen to what he says. The U.N. is not any old international forum which continues to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Its vote, on November 29 1947, became the very path to the creation of  the modern Jewish state. All other criticisms aside – and they are legion – we must not allow ourselves to forget this. Netanyahu, who served for four years between 1984 and 1988   as  Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations knows this only too well. Moreover, as a seasoned diplomat he is also aware of the precise and delicate power of artful manoeuvres  over the bludgeon of ugly threats. Why did he not instruct his present ambassador, Ron Prosor to do this? In my scenario, Mr Prosor would have told delegates during pre-vote negotiations that he knew he had little chance of changing minds but that a vote in the wrong direction would undermine the Oslo Accords.

Neither, in my view, will this horrid hatchet job help Netanyahu at the polls in January. I’m no Likud supporter but Bibi has now almost certainly lost the vote of others who have been staunch admirers for years. Netanyahu and his colleagues are blissfully unaware of my existence, let alone that Brian and I made aliya (emigrated to Israel) from the U.K. two-and-a-half years ago. Since then we have made a sterling effort to help the State of Israel in face of hateful opposition in cyberspace. Is their behaviour the way to acknowledge the little contribution of olim in supporting Israel’s case in a hostile world? Do they consider for one micro-second how this situation makes us feel as Jews with twin nationalities? A long time ago, I was often wrongly and nastily accused of being anti-Israel because I spoke out at times like this. I do so again now.

I’ve just glanced briefly at the trajectory of Bibi’s career path. It is most impressive. Moreover, it appears that presently he is not only Prime Minister but serves also as Chairman of the Likud Party, as well as Health Minister, Pensioner Affairs Minister and Economic Strategy Minister. This means a ridiculous amount of power has been allotted to one person for far too long because the Israeli electorate has allowed themselves to believe there is no-one else suitable for the job. What tosh!

His advisers should have the courage to tell Bibi that he is guilty of the same sin which brought down Moses and David. No-one is irreplaceable. He should go – and his departure should be swift:

“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly.”


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