Over the past two years, there have been repeated pleas for our politicians to
recognize the gravity of the global and domestic challenges facing us, suspend
conventional party politics, and work in unison to advance the national
In recent months, the situation has deteriorated, and we are
now confronted by an avalanche of global hostility. Irrespective of the
rights or wrongs, realpolitik has led to automatic condemnation and
demonization. We are generally regarded as a rogue state, responsible for
global instability, thus effectively assuming the role of Jews in the Middle
Ages, who were blamed for all the woes of mankind.
The UN and its
appallingly misnamed offspring, the Human Rights Council, are poised to carry a
new wave of resolutions condemning, demonizing and launching boycotts against
The Durban anti- Semitic hate fest will be reconvened next year. More
importantly, there is a campaign supported by the majority of nations to
unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, taking no account of our legitimate
The Obama administration is aware that the American
people support Israel and thus, in all probability, will veto the most hostile
onesided resolutions at the UN Security Council. But we should be under no
illusions. Despite the recent congressional elections, foreign policy is largely
controlled by the White House, and there is no evidence of a change in Obama’s
ongoing determination to “engage” or appease the Islamic world, even if that
means distancing the US from this country.
The greatest threat is the
intensification of global initiatives in which our security needs are ignored
and attempts made to force us to withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice
lines, which were never regarded as borders. There is a real concern that in the
not-too-distant future, while purporting to be acting in “an evenhanded manner,”
the Obama administration may itself move in that direction.
vast majority of our leaders and people would willingly accept a two-state
solution. Ironically, it is the Palestinian Authority, no less than Hamas, whose
true objective remains the elimination of Jewish sovereignty rather than
independence. And of course, we have the additional threat of a nuclear Iran
committed to wiping us off the face of the earth.
No other state is
challenged to justify its very existence, and surrounded by so much hatred. The
security threats we face today are no less severe than those we confronted in
1948, 1967 and 1973.
During former times of national crisis, our leaders
set aside partisan political aspirations and devoted themselves to working in
concert in defense of their homeland. It may indeed be impossible to create a
national unity government, but surely today’s crisis is sufficiently acute for
mainstream politicians to suspend their political differences and face up to
their national responsibilities by displaying a willingness to show the world a
consensus that the country must under no circumstances further compromise its
key security interests.
There may indeed be differences over the
determination of final borders and some settlements. But Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, Avigdor Lieberman of Israel Beiteinu and
Ehud Barak of Labor surely all recognize that it is crucial to retain defensible
borders and the major settlement blocs. They surely also concur that prior to
making further concessions, there must be a clear formula to ensure that a
future Palestinian state will be demilitarized, and would not merely become a
platform from which Iran can launch new attacks. There should be affirmation by
all mainstream parties to stand firm on these issues.
Livni should follow
the example of Netanyahu when he was leader of the opposition. When travelling
abroad, he avoided publicly condemning government policy. During the Second
Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, he even provided his services to the
government to promote the country’s case to the global community.
current situation is appalling. Instead of behaving responsibly, Livni
continues to indulge in the most partisan political infighting.
Netanyahu introduced the settlement freeze, she bitterly condemned him. Yet when
he refused to extend the settlement freeze, she castigated him for undermining
the US-Israel relationship. At the recent Saban Forum in the US, in the
presence of PA representatives, she condemned her prime minister for lacking the
will or desire to reach a peaceful accommodation.
From within the
cabinet, both Lieberman and Barak criticize the policies of their own government
to curry favor with voters.
Setting aside the merits of much of his
argument, the outburst by Foreign Minister Lieberman publicly repudiating the
policies of his prime minister made the government look like an unruly soccer
team, and if repeated will bring about the downfall of the coalition
critics of Netanyahu try to rationalize the distancing of the Obama
administration by alleging that the current coalition is right-wing and
intransigent. However the reality is that, with only minor exceptions on the far
Left and extreme Right, all MKs affiliated to the mainstream parties endorse a
two-state solution, have no desire to rule over Arabs, and are willing to make
territorial concessions – provided that basic security requirements are not
Furthermore, based on the political outlook of most Kadima
members, aside from minor nuances, even a Kadima-led government would not
deviate significantly from the current policies of the Likud, which enjoy the
support of most Israelis. Livni should also be aware that her attacks on the
government have not increased her popularity. To the contrary, the public is far
more likely to reward the opposition if it exercised restraint and displayed
bipartisanship on critical issues.
Despite American public support and
the fact that President Barack Obama has taken a few steps backward, we face
extraordinarily difficult days. The US need only stand aside and give a wink to
the Europeans and others to proceed with an imposed solution, which would almost
certainly deny us our basic security requirements and pave the way for our
enemies to embark on renewed aggression.
There is a real threat by our
adversaries to impose a “peace” upon us which would have chilling parallels to
Munich and the “peace” imposed on Czechoslovakia. We should be clearly aware
that the Europeans have been sending clear signals suggesting they would not be
averse to repeating the same perfidious behavior.
If mainstream political
leaders display solidarity on the core issues, in addition to neutralizing the
campaigns against us, this would enable us to expose the intransigence of our
impotent and duplicitous “peace partner.” Furthermore, it would provide a
dramatic morale booster, creating an atmosphere of optimism for the future and
leading to a host of other beneficial consequences.
We are entitled to
expect and demand that our political leaders suspend their differences and act
in the national interest before it is too late.