Olmert to 'Post': Netanyahu opposing UAE-US arms deal normalizes lying

The US-UAE arms deal is a legitimate, reasonable, logical move that poses no risk to Israel’s security. I would add that in no way does this deal affect Israel’s qualitative military advantage.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu stands next to his wife, Sara, after speaking to supporters at his Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 3. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu stands next to his wife, Sara, after speaking to supporters at his Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 3.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
 The signing of the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is an extremely positive step, and it’s very likely that it will lead in the near future to a full-out peace agreement, including diplomatic ties, the opening of embassies, flights between the two countries, bilateral tourism, and open business relations. In other words –  everything that takes place between countries that have peaceful relations with each other.
There’s no doubt – and I expressed this in a recent column – that Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s decision required courage and might be the breakthrough that could lead the way for other moderate Muslim Arab countries in the region to follow suit. It’s true that there have been ties between Israel and the UAE for over 20 years. This matter, like others, did not begin during Netanyahu’s term.
Granted, Netanyahu’s son said that before his father became prime minister, there were only oranges in Israel. But there was a country here before Bibi, with advanced industries, impressive technological innovations, covert relations and sometimes almost overt relations with moderate Arab countries, even though these relations did not morph into overt normalization or peace agreements as we currently have with Jordan and Egypt.
We had extensive contact with and had taken numerous visits to the Kingdom of Jordan during the years before the atmosphere in the Middle East became ripe enough for the signing of the Oslo Accords (which, for the sake of transparency, I voted against), and for open, public and official ties.
The incubation period during which Israel and the UAE have been forging a relationship has been lengthy and stable. This relationship reached full maturity during Netanyahu’s term, which then led to the announcement of normalization, and will hopefully also lead to a peace agreement. In the meantime, we have not yet reached a peace agreement.
Not peace for peace, but instead normalization for normalization. This is certainly a serious achievement and the prime minister deserves a moment of appreciation for this feat, which I do not hold back from giving him in this column. This moment of appreciation is, however, extremely short-lived.
It’s quite clear that the normalization agreement obliges the Emirates to demand in return a level of commitment from Israel, so that current UAE leader Zayed can justify and protect himself with regards to other Arab countries that are the UAE’s natural allies, neighbors and partners in the hostility towards Iran – the common enemy of many countries – including Israel.
Therefore, the normalization agreement involved an unequivocal commitment by Israel to relinquish its unilateral annexation of territories in the West Bank, as well as to commit to freezing building in existing settlements and to truly agree to the two-state solution as an opening to solving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
MOREOVER, THE normalization agreement was conditioned upon Israeli agreement to an extensive arms deal between the US and the UAE, in which the latter would purchase F-35 fighter aircraft with advanced capabilities, as well as additional weapons systems.
I will say this outright: the US-UAE arms deal is a legitimate, reasonable, logical move that poses no risk to Israel’s security. I would add that in no way does this deal affect Israel’s qualitative military advantage. In fact, the contrary is true: Strengthening the Emirates through the normalization of relations with Israel is based on the stable security of moderate countries in the region, and there’s no reason Israel should oppose this. Moreover, Israeli government and private companies have been carrying out deals with the UAE for years now involving the supply of components, some of which are highly sensitive and have security implications.
In simpler terms, Netanyahu’s announcement that he opposes the arms deal with the Emirates, has no political logic, no military justification, and could cause UAE leaders to reconsider their decision.
Why would the strengthening of the UAE’s security be a security risk for Israel? If this country has a few F-35s and other defense systems that could be quite effective in the event of friction with Iran, would our security be compromised? If it’s so simple, why is the prime minister lying about this, too? Why is he declaring that he’s opposed to the arms deal, when it’s clear and obvious that the deal preceded the declaration of normalization and to a large extent, was perhaps a precondition for it? Why is it that when the prime minister finally does something right or even helpful (which have been few and far between in recent years) he has to lie about it, make up stories and try to deceive us?
Because Netanyahu is weak and spineless. He is constantly succumbing to Deri, Gafni, Litzman and Porush who force him to renege on his commitments, submit to their demands and do the opposite of what he promised to do just the day before. For some time now he’s become a captive of his delusions, which have become his hallmark – he’s being called a magician.
But what kind of magician is he in his own eyes, or in the eyes of his admirers, if he’s willing to sign a peace agreement in exchange for giving up the idea of a Greater Israel, or freezing building settlements and reconciling with the idea of two states? After all, any left-winger could have consented to such an agreement. Just some guy who’s willing to betray his country, like me for example, or perhaps even someone like Benny Gantz or Yair Lapid. Bibi, in his own eyes, couldn’t be just anyone like Begin or Rabin.
Bibi doesn’t have any desire to be a sane, normal leader who sees what’s actually happening in life and understands that in the real world, there’s give and take in negotiations, that there are times for achievements, but also times when it’s best to give in. Finding the balance between these two poles, reaping the benefits and offering the inevitable concessions is a recipe for sane and responsible statesmanship that can be appreciated and praised.
What indicates Bibi’s madness and mental instability is the fact that he is incapable of doing anything honest that can also be seen as honest. 
AFTER ALL, if he were to state the obvious – that the normalization agreement requires mutual exchanges and mutual concessions – this would have been acceptable, and he would have been deemed trustworthy. Moreover, in my opinion a significant number of Israelis would have consented. But Netanyahu is captive to this delusional self-image he created with the help of his crazy wife and son. He used to be a normal person, but he’s been taken captive by this crazy image. In his own eyes he’s no longer a regular political leader. He’s told everyone around him that he has one of the highest IQs in the world, that he’s a magician who’s capable of doing things no one who came before him has ever done. He’s convinced that he’s such a courageous and daring person that nothing can deter him from trying to achieve his goals. He’ll eliminate Hamas, destroy Iran, annihilate Hezbollah, defeat COVID-19, and world leaders will set out on a pilgrimage to visit him in order to learn how to do these magic tricks.
It is clear that this self-image is based on a mental imbalance and an incredibly high level of anxiety that undermines his ability to function and make decisions. His need to preserve this image necessitates him to constantly be making up new lies, stories, urban legends and invented tales that have no connection with reality. And we haven’t forgotten the story of the British soldiers he saw in Jerusalem before he was born or the tank he spent time inside of with Barak and Arik Sharon during the Yom Kippur War.
Bibi doesn’t need to stay connected with reality so long as he is surrounded by his gang of flatterers who make sounds of admiration for the lies and hallucinations he’s spreading around him.
How much simpler, more dignified and worthy for the State of Israel (and perhaps also for Netanyahu himself, if he were capable of behaving in a normal manner) if we had said from the beginning that the normalization agreement with the Emirates justifies the concessions we have made. Peace in exchange for refraining from annexation, freezing settlement construction and accepting the two-state solution. An arms deal in exchange for normalization.
All these I support and it all would have been received with applause, including by all the people protesting on Balfour Street.
But Bibi must lie.
If he didn’t lie about everything he does, everything would look and sound completely different.
The writer was the 12th prime minister of Israel.