Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his colleagues are doing their best to put
a pretty face on an ugly situation. After nearly three weeks of deliberations,
Netanyahu and his government caved in to massive US pressure to ease, if not
end, Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.
On Sunday the government
announced that all economic sanctions on Gaza will be immediately lifted.
Henceforth, Hamas-controlled Gaza will have an effectively open economic border
with Israel. Israel will only prohibit the transfer of military material. Even
dual-use items, like cement, will be allowed in if international officials claim
that they are to be used in their humanitarian projects.
his colleagues argue that these new concessions have now given Israel
international legitimacy it needs to maintain its naval blockade of the
coast. But this is untrue. Even as he welcomed Netanyahu’s latest
US President Barack Obama made clear that he expects Israel to continue
unreciprocated concessions to Hamas.
Following the government’s
announcement, the White House declared, “We will work with Israel, the
Palestinian Authority, the Quartet and other international partners to
these arrangements are implemented as quickly and effectively as
possible and to
explore additional ways to improve the situation in Gaza, including
freedom of movement and commerce between Gaza and the West Bank.”
plain English that means that the administration doesn’t trust Israel.
escalate its pressure on Israel by among other things, pressuring it to
members of the illegal Hamas regime in Gaza greater access to Judea and
AS IF anticipating its next capitulation, government spokesmen
told the media that in addition to ending economic sanctions on Gaza,
now considering permitting the EU to station inspectors at its land
into Gaza. That is, Israel is considering a move that will constitute a
step towards surrendering its sovereign control over its borders.
economic sanctions the government is now cancelling were not simply
were required by international law. Binding UN Security Council
requires states and non-state actors to deny support of any kind to
organizations. And here, in a bid to win international “legitimacy” for
lawful blockade of Gaza, Israel has bowed to US pressure to unlawfully
facilitate the economic prosperity of an area controlled by an illegal
There is something pathetic about the Prime Minister’s
office’s protestations that by bowing to White House pressure the
nations of the
world will now accept our right to defend ourselves from an
terrorist organization committed to the genocide of the Jewish people.
all, we have heard these hollow words many times before.
This notion that
unilateral Israeli capitulation to terrorists would bring Israel
“legitimacy” is of course how former prime minister Ariel Sharon
strategically indefensible decision to cede Gaza – and the international
between Gaza and Egypt – to Palestinian terrorists.
If they attack us
after we leave, he claimed, we’ll have all the international support in
world to really destroy them.
Today, the government argues, all we have
to do is sell them spaghetti and cilantro and the international
suddenly rally to our side.
According to sources close to the cabinet,
the main advocate for the latest capitulation was Defense Minister Ehud
Barak is the serial bungler. Ten years ago, he argued that his decision
relinquish Israel’s security zone in south Lebanon to Hizbullah
Israel would have international legitimacy to really take it to the
proxy army if it dared to attack us after we left.
Barak is also the deep
strategic thinker who brought us the Palestinian terror war.
promised that if Yasser Arafat rejected his offer at Camp David and so
demonstrated that his commitment to destroy the Jewish state trumped his
interest in establishing a Palestinian state, that the international
would rally around Israel and we’d have all the international legitimacy
needed to defeat the PA.
And in the lead-up to the Mavi Marmara fiasco,
it was reportedly Barak who decided it would be a terrific idea to
naval commandos with paintball guns. Doing so, he promised would
Obama administration to support Israel against Hamas.
A key question that
needs to be considered is what makes policymakers like Barak advance
colossally stupid and dangerous policies time after time. Israel’s
1993, when then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and then foreign minister
Peres opted to embrace Arafat and the PLO, bring thousands of PLO
the outskirts of Israel’s major cities and give them weapons and
legitimacy indicates that three factors come into play.
First there is
the fact that many of Israel’s leading politicians are simply not that
They are happy to be led by an ideologically radical media that
have insisted since the 1980s that Israel must withdraw to the
Not only are they happy to be led by the media, they are
loath to dispute its misrepresentation of reality. And so the second
serial bungling on the part of politicians like Barak is that they are,
end, sheep, not leaders.
THE FINAL major cause of Israel’s strategic
idiocy is corruption. On Monday morning, the police announced that they
recommend indicting Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad Sharon for soliciting
behalf of their father.
After an eight-year investigation, the police
said they believe that Sharon received $3 million in bribes from former
Stasi-aligned Austrian banker Martin Schlaff.
Schlaff, whose former
attorney Dov Weisglass served as Sharon’s chief of staff, was the
owner in the Jericho casino. He also reportedly intended to build
on the ruins of the destroyed Israeli community Elei Sinai in the
Strip if and when Israel expelled its residents.
There can be no doubt
that Sharon’s alleged corruption and his fear of the far-left legal
that investigated his alleged corruption played a significant role in
decision to abandon his campaign pledge to voters, toss strategic sanity
seven winds, expel ten thousand Israelis from their homes and transfer
Strip lock, stock and barrel to Hamas and Fatah terrorists.
Barak has been the subject of several corruption probes. Barak is also
have had strong indirect connections to Schlaff. For instance, during
as prime minister, Barak sent shock waves through the country when, with
prior warning, he announced that he was ceding Israel’s rights to the
gas deposits discovered off the Gaza shore. Barak’s move precipitated a
between the PA and British Gas to develop the gas deposits.
exposed that Schlaff and Arafat’s economic bag man Muhammed Rashid were
shareholders in British Gas.
During his stint as a private citizen, in
2006 Barak sought to lobby Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin to permit
Egyptian telecom provider, to expand its ten percent ownership share in
Israel’s second-largest cellular telephone company.
Israeli law prohibits
foreign entities from owning more than a ten percent share in Israeli
telecommunications firms. Diskin refused to meet with him and banned the
Rashid and other Schlaff associates are reportedly major shareholders in
Barak and Sharon are only the tip of the
Schlaff’s connections to Israeli politicians run far and wide.
Most of the leading founders of Kadima, including Ehud Olmert and Haim
have personal ties to Schlaff. So too does former Shas leader Aryeh
ongoing criminal probes against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
among other things, investigations into his allegedly prolific business
REGARDLESS OF whether these ties to agents of corruption are
criminal or not, it is obvious that they have influenced the policy
of more than one major politician in Israel. And regardless of what
behind his poor judgment, the fact is that it is this judgment that is
Israel’s strategic direction.
It is also apparent, that Barak is being
handsomely rewarded by the Obama administration for his actions.
currently on yet another junket to Washington where he is being given
carpet treatment. While the premier is forced to conduct international
with Quartet chairman Tony Blair, Barak is feted by the White House,
Department and Pentagon on a regular basis. It is hard to avoid the
that the Obama administration agreed to end its public campaign to
Netanyahu government in exchange for Netanyahu’s effective concession of
over national policy to Barak.
Barak has used this control to force the
government to accede to every American demand. So far, he has convinced
Netanyahu to take a back seat to Obama on Iran; to end Jewish
Judea and Samaria at least until September; to effectively ban Jewish
construction in northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem; to embrace the
of Palestinian statehood; to accept US mediated indirect negotiations
Fatah; and to pretend that the Obama administration is a credible ally
Before heading to Washington, Barak reportedly gave Netanyahu an
ultimatum: Either make massive concessions to Fatah that will allow
claim victory in the peace process, or Labor will bolt the coalition.
too, Barak is reportedly behind Netanyahu’s latest bid to bring Kadima,
Tzipi Livni into his government.
Netanyahu and his spokesmen defend both
Barak’s primacy in the government, and their interest in bringing Kadima
the coalition by noting that the Left’s partnership ensures political
If Labor were to bolt from the coalition, the government would be less
survive until the next scheduled election in 2013.
There is certainly
truth to this assertion. With Labor inside the coalition, Kadima has no
So too, rightist parties are unable to bring down the
This would be a decisive argument if coalition stability
enabled Netanyahu to govern more effectively. But the opposite is
Netanyahu knows the folly of his decisions.
Obama’s hostility to Israel. He also knows that the US president is not
do a thing to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
should be a means to an end, not an end unto itself. Netanyahu did not
premiership to achieve the goal of overseeing a stable government. He
lead the country to secure and strengthen it. As his latest concession
makes clear, the price of governing stability is the abandonment of his