It seems that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has begun to understand the
extent of the breakdown in our future relationship with Washington. US President
Barack Obama emerged this week as a clear front-runner in the polls. In the
running for the electoral college delegates to be selected by each state to
formally elect the president, his situation is even better.
It seems that
only a miracle will save Mitt Romney and those who have pinned their hopes on
his victory. This is the miracle that Binyamin Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson are
While Bibi seeks to persuade the Americans that he is not
intervening in their election campaign and his only considerations are the
rotating centrifuges in Qom, ridiculous and characteristic mishaps continue to
occur on a daily basis.
A few days ago, as Netanyahu hopped from American
network to network to explain in his impressive English how he was not involved
in the battle between Romney and Obama, one of his former advisers, Prof. Israel
Hanokoglu, published an “investigation” on his Internet site purportedly proving
that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was forged, that he wasn’t actually born
in America, and therefore he shouldn’t be the president of the United
The “investigation” was removed very quickly from the Internet
site (apparently following heavy pressure from Netanyahu), but in the meantime
it was picked up by many Republican websites in the US.
Then it was
revealed that a group of Republicans working for the election of Romney in
Florida, a critical battleground state, were using excerpts of Netanyahu’s
speeches to persuade undecided voters to move from Obama to Romney. After this,
Bibi would have to prove that he doesn’t have a sister, and her name isn’t
Adelson! He wouldn’t be able to persuade Obama, that’s for sure.
wake of the enormous harm caused to the delicate but vital relations between
Washington and Jerusalem, Netanyahu is slowly but surely trying to plan for the
day after, assuming that a miracle doesn’t occur and Romney is sent home
defeated on November 7.
Netanyahu’s people are well aware of what they
can expect from the White House in a second term for Obama. They are fully aware
of how much the American president has grown to despise everything that the
Israeli prime minister represents.
They know that the rehabilitation work
that lies ahead is hopeless, pretty much. It’s like standing on the spot that
the Twin Towers stood, 15 minutes after they fell. Destruction, smoke and fire,
Nevertheless, Netanyahu won’t have a choice. He will
have to survive. It’s still not clear whether it is preferable for him to call
elections as soon as possible – before Obama makes clear to the Israeli public
that Bibi’s reelection would incur a costly price – or to put them off as much
as possible, to allow the US president to chill out.
What is clear is
that Netanyahu will have to pay a heavy price for his past actions. This is bad
news for the Right, for settlers, and for anyone else who has forged ties with
I would not fall off my chair if Obama’s second term begins with
a new freeze in settlement construction and a resumption of negotiations with
That is, if Mahmoud Abbas survives until then – he
won’t, if it depends on Avigdor Liberman. This, by the way, is what Ehud Barak
is counting on – the Israeli chameleon now wearing the colors of peace and
What Netanyahu will need more than anything after
November is peace and reconciliation.
Barak’s premise is that if his
Atzmaut (Independence) faction makes the 2-percent election threshold and if
Netanyahu in any case wins the next election, the prime minister will have to
establish a moderate centrist government, one that will talk about peace and not
war, a government that will wink at America and represent a certain, albeit
late, compensation for all its shenanigans in its first term of office.