Candidly Speaking: Israel needs a national unity government

The leader of the opposition should offer to participate in a cabinet led by a new Kadima Party prime minister.

Isi Leibler 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Isi Leibler 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In many respects we are rapidly moving toward a situation which has ominous parallels to the weeks preceding the Six Day War. As then, the enemy is gathering on our borders while the nation lacks faith in its leadership. To make matters worse, our dysfunctional government is poised to make decisions in sham negotiations with a failed Palestinian leadership that may be irrevocable and could have existential implications for our future. The Winograd Commission report has only served to intensify the rage and frustration shared by the majority of Israelis across the political spectrum against a failed prime ministership of Ehud Olmert. Yet alas, the reality is that cynical Knesset members remain glued to their seats and elections in the short term are unlikely. But if we cannot immediately achieve our goal of holding elections, we must not despair or wring our hands proclaiming that we are helpless. Nothing is more certain than the inevitability that people power will prevail. The imminent danger confronting us is the permanent damage that could be inflicted on the nation before elections take place. It is therefore imperative for Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of the opposition, to seize the initiative and launch a campaign proclaiming that the House of Israel is facing the greatest threat to its survival since the Yom Kippur War. He should reiterate the demand for Olmert to step down. But simultaneously he should take a page from his mentor, Menachem Begin, who set aside all political and personal differences and volunteered in 1967 to serve in a cabinet together with his political foes. Netanyahu should call for a government of national unity to provide the people with confidence that the critical decisions that will soon have to be resolved will not be influenced by anything other than the national interest. BY MAKING such an offer, Netanyahu may tempt the coalition parties to rid themselves of Olmert without being obliged to compromise their selfish personal agendas. He would provide an example of a national leader rising above politics in the interests of the nation and could take credit for having suspended the dangerous radical initiatives currently underway. Unless that happens, we are entitled to be genuinely fearful concerning the irrevocable decisions with existential implications for the nation that this government is now considering. Unilateral concessions to the Palestinians that were neither endorsed by the Cabinet nor the Knesset are in the pipeline. They are being implemented with stealth despite the opposition of the vast majority of Israelis and in some cases, in the absence of adequate analysis of the possible consequences. In addition, despite Olmert's promise to Shas, Palestinians are telling the world that they are already finalizing a deal over Jerusalem even though the details, including the future of the Temple Mount, have yet to be disclosed. We could well wake up one day to discover that a similar disaster to what we inflicted upon ourselves in Gaza is repeated in Jerusalem. And when the inevitable occurs, and Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are reunited, we may find that western Jerusalem neighborhoods will be subject to missile attacks similar to Sderot. This is happening along with a rapid deterioration in other spheres of the security situation. The flow of advanced weaponry and the huge infiltration of terrorists through the porous Egyptian Gaza border represent new threats to the IDF. And unless we act soon to neutralize the increasingly lethal missile attacks against our civilians in the south, the entire nation may soon find itself under attack. THE UNITED NATIONS carries on like Alice in Wonderland with even the Security Council unable to condemn Hamas for launching missiles against Israeli civilians. It is of course an outright lie to suggest that Hamastan remains an "occupied territory." It is a fully autonomous terrorist regime administered by fanatical criminals publicly committed to our destruction. Nor are most Gaza residents innocent victims. The vast majority supported the election of Hamas and continue to endorse their barbaric objectives. Yet as the Palestinians literally celebrate killing Israeli women and children, we are being condemned for imposing "collective punishment" and breaking international law by reducing their electricity. Truly distorted logic! THAT IS WHY it is now imperative for Netanyahu to ring the alarm bells and - as a last ditch effort - offer to participate in a unity government with a new prime minister. If his offer is accepted, Olmert will be replaced, the disastrous ongoing unilateral concessions that may otherwise prove to be irrevocable will be suspended, and transparency in government will be restored. If the current leaders refuse to respond to such an initiative, they will stand condemned. With a united voice and utilizing Netanyahu's communication skills, a unity government would be able to inform the world that we have reached the end of our tether. Our message would be simple: Unless the terror attacks on our civilians are halted forthwith, we will take whatever steps are necessary. We will be at war and all Hamas leaders will immediately be targeted for assassination. If that does not bring an end to the missile attacks, we will have no choice. Despite bloodshed and possible loss of innocent lives, our response will be identical to that of all self respecting nations from time immemorial whose citizens were being wantonly murdered by their neighbors. What makes our position ever more surrealistic is that despite the fact that the US remains our key ally, the State Department is now trying to pressure Israel to make further unilateral concessions and warning us against initiating a major ground action to uproot those launching missiles against our civilians. Yet, paradoxically, support for Israel from the American public is at an all time high. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should therefore be informed that we can no longer stand by with folded arms when the lives of our civilians are at stake. Our government must request that she endorse our legitimate right to defend ourselves. If she declines to respond positively we should not be afraid to take off our gloves and appeal directly to the American people. We should urge them to consider how they would expect their government to behave were they to be in a similar situation. If we explain our position clearly and unapologetically, Americans will support us. The implementation of such proposals may appear to be remote. But the reality is that the House of Israel is today truly in danger. Now is the time for the nation to set aside all differences and display the solidarity which in times of need has always proven to be our greatest asset. [email protected]