Something is rotten in the State of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up to his old tricks.

A view of the West Bank (photo credit: YANIV NADAV/FLASH90)
A view of the West Bank
(photo credit: YANIV NADAV/FLASH90)
We are in the weeks of introspection and self-examination before the Jewish High Holy Days, the time of judgment when it is generally frowned upon to criticize our fellow man. In fact, our sages say that when you literally point a finger, three fingers point back at you. It is regrettable that our supposed role-models, our heads of government have forgotten all this and spend much of their time criticizing each other.
It is my task as a journalist to report on their actions, conduct and policies, which, unfortunately, are not beyond reproach, so I always tell it as it is, the good the bad and the ugly.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up to his old tricks. In the very last minutes of allowed time, he conceded to extend the time limit to present our long-needed budget to 120 days, and so averted an election in November. The crunch comes on December 23. Unless a budget is approved by then, an election has simply been delayed by three months.
Netanyahu is aware that his popularity in the country is not as he would have wished to get an majority for the right-wing bloc under his leadership in November, so he is prepared to wait. In his efforts to avoid the prime ministerial rotation with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz under all circumstances, which was the basis for the formation of the present government, there is no guarantee that Netanyahu will not maneuver an election if and when he believes the time is right for him.
Politically, the indications are that his present policy of peace with the Arab world is not peace for the sake of peace as he would have us believe, but peace for land. We are still in the period where we have to be thankful for the very much appreciated gifts that we have received from President Trump: recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and the US Embassy’s move to Jerusalem. So in order to assist him to remain in the White House for another four-year term, we had to give up our intention to declare sovereignty, even over the limited area under Trump’s own plan.
According to The United Arab Emirate’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, the agreement maintains the viability of a two-state solution as endorsed by the Arab League and international community. If that is upheld, any annexation plans would be abandoned and Israel has sold its birthright.
It is therefore important that if on November 4 Trump is reelected president, we need to assert our right as an independent sovereign state to declare Israeli law over the whole of Judea and Samaria. It is perhaps wise to use those terms instead of sovereignty.
In the event that Joe Biden is elected, the White House will be controlled by the ruling socialist faction of the Democratic Party. The consequences could be a reversal of Trumps “presents,” in which case Israel would no longer be under any obligation to abdicate the right to sovereignty over the disputed territories.
The Arab nations that have warmed to Israel for strategic reasons would still think twice before changing their policy, while Turkey and Iran loom large on the horizon. Time will tell, and we won’t have to wait long.
IN THE mother of democratic parliaments, the House of Commons in the UK, there is a long-standing precedent that any minister who would find himself in Netanyahu’s situation, either legally or politically, would have done the decent thing and resigned long ago.
Our prime minister is indicted both legally by the court and politically by the people. The court hearings of the official indictments will resume in January, and it is expected that a conviction in at least one of the three separate cases will result. He could salvage some of his reputation by stepping down now and preparing a plea bargain. By not resigning he is heading a sham democracy bordering on dictatorship.
The deal with the UAE shows that the Palestinian claims and their “veto” no longer prevent relations with the Arab world, and Netanyahu will have read what Caroline Glick wrote in his praise. That will inflate his ego and his belief in his infallibility.
She wrote, “If the veto has been thrown into history’s trash heap, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t simply be remembered as the greatest statesman Israel has known. He will be remembered as a diplomatic magician.”
The result will no doubt be more contortions by Netanyahu to remain at the helm of the government, despite his unpopularity.
When I read about the USA-UAE arms deal, which as a reward to agreeing to enter into a relationship with Israel, the UAE would be able to acquire the advanced F-35 Stealth fighter, I was reminded of the story of Little Red Riding Hood who was hoping to see her grandmother and instead found the wolf who in the end intended to gobble her up.
While Netanyahu denies that he has agreed to the supply of F-35’s to the UAE, the White House insists that it was part of the deal; another example of “no free lunch,” quite apart from the restrictions in Judea and Samaria.
It seems that Israel has always sold advanced weapon systems to the UAE. According to The Jerusalem Post’s defense correspondent Yonah Jeremy Bob, the Defense Ministry approved all deals and supports the logic of selling such weapons to the UAE. We have not yet seen the last of the Israel/UAE story. Beware, at stake is Israel’s QME, Qualitative Military Edge. Of what we have learned so far, the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Israel and the Gulf states last week did not produce the fanfares that were expected. Apparently, none of the Gulf states have officially amplified their intentions vis-à-vis Israel.
The Palestinian Authority feels betrayed, and its leadership has already denounced the purpose of the trip as trying to get other Arab states to follow the example of the UAE.
The Palestinians realize that their long honeymoon, supported by the Arab states, is coming to an end, and that it will become an existential imperative for them to sit at the negotiating table with Israel in order to try to salvage their reputation as a recognized entity. But as of now, Israeli participation remains remote until they abandon their preconditions.