There is no free lunch - the price of the UAE-Israel deal

Netanyahu has not be truthful when he spoke of sovereignty, even according to the US President Donald Trump’s plan.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin speaks at a news conference in Jerusalem on Monday.  (photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin speaks at a news conference in Jerusalem on Monday.
(photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)
In past years it would never have entered my mind I would ever abandon my support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I considered him an excellent finance minister and his skill as foreign minister, a position he held concomitant with being prime minister, was incomparable except perhaps with Abba Eban.
He opened up a large part of Africa for Israel, established excellent relations with India and parts of South America, and is well liked in Europe.
In more recent years, he has conducted covert negotiations with Saudi Arabia and several Gulf states. Now, the United Arab Emirates are about to sign a document to establish full diplomatic relations, trade agreements, direct flights and tourism, and other may follow. This is another great achievement, but as I always say, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
This peace treaty is presented to the Israeli public on condition we abandon the intention to declare sovereignty over any part of Judea and Samaria. In other words, Netanyahu has not be truthful when he spoke of sovereignty, even according to the US President Donald Trump’s plan, which anyway the right-wing bloc considers less than satisfactory for Israel. It seems quite plain that he never had any intention to keep his word. Now Netanyahu says he still planned to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, emphasizing that the bid had only been temporarily suspended.
“We will apply sovereignty with US approval. They haven’t taken it out of their peace plan,” he said.
This juggling with words only serves to confuse the Israel public. Neither the pro-sovereignty, nor those who are against it, know what’s going on. The reason given for the halting of sovereignty was a UAE condition for the peace plan. Now Netanyahu puts the blame on the US. So how can we accept a UAE condition with the intention to break it later?
That would be sinking to the negotiating tactic of you-know-who. The underlying reason for all Netanyahu’s actions, as I see it, is an arrogant narcissistic and egotistical drive to achieve recognition and praise by world leaders, regardless of the political cost to his own country and the views of the Israeli public who elected him. The decision of the UAE to join with Israel against Turkish saber rattling and the Iranian attempt to exercise hegemony over the Middle East is a sign that the Arab world finally no longer considers Israel as a cancer in their midst, but an asset and a force to be reckoned with, in fact as a member of the Middle East community of nations and trading bloc.
If my assumption is correct, then Netanyahu should have gone ahead with sovereignty and fulfilled his promise to the nation. The UAE would sooner rather than later again come to the table.
It has long been known that the Arab world does not allow the execution of its interests to be influenced by Palestinian demands.
Netanyahu’s modus operandi is to make policy promises without the intention of ever keeping them. In simple language – he operates with untruth, in the course of his self-promotion.
As you notice, I’ve gone totally off the man whom I once admired. Now I ask him to do the honorable thing and resign, before the nightly demonstrations near his residence become ugly, or God forbid, develop into a “Portland,” considering the mood and determination of the protesters.
Although by law Netanyahu is innocent of the several criminal charges that are leveled against him and are pending court decision, it is his moral obligation to resign.
Nobody can give the full attention that matters of state require, as well as to deal with curing the effect in Israel of the coronavirus pandemic, and at the same time attend meetings to discuss his defense strategy with his lawyers. Therefore, Netanyahu must make way for someone else.
There are several quite experienced members of Likud in the present government, but the person who has proved himself beyond doubt is the head of the Yamina Party Naftali Bennett. Even Netanyahu feared him as a rival, that’s why he sacked him.
Now, to add insult to injury, Netanyahu has reduced Bennett’s security protection, customary for former defense ministers, from five years to three months, while other former office holders Moshe Ya’alon and Avigdor Liberman are still benefiting from state security protection despite having left their positions years ago (2016 in the case of Ya’alon, and 2018 in the case of Liberman). I predict that Bennett, who is young enough (48), will have the last laugh when he makes it as prime minister. Netanyahu’s missed opportunity to once and for all establish sovereignty from the river to the sea, outweighs all his diplomatic achievements, which are only as safe as the foreign ruler who believes that good relations with Israel are in the interests of his country.
Not so long ago we even conducted military exercises with Turkey, and today that country is in bed with Iran, supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
Netanyahu claims credit for the UAE agreement, but when you listen to the American version, it is Trump who has brokered the first peace in the Middle East in 26 years.
First, we have not been at war with the United Arab Emirates, and second, our secret service at the behest of the government played a major part in preparing this announcement. But then, there are elections in the US and Trump needs achievements.
It is just two months to arguably one of the most decisive decision for the American voters, so here are a few of my observations:
Trump is fighting for his political survival. While until last week the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was not considered a serious rival to the incumbent, despite his advantage in the opinion polls, the addition of Kamala Harris as his running mate has changed the equation.
She is like a “bloodhound” who will do anything to fuel her ambition. Her pasts statements belie the Democratic Party’s claim she is a moderate. If ever there was a Trojan horse in American politics, the Biden/Harris ticket is certainly that. They have adopted much of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s policies, like free college education, free healthcare, almost free everything and, of course, the necessary high taxes to fund it all. That would cripple American industry Trump has so successfully revived. The four most radical socialist members of the House of Representatives, known as “The Squad,” have all surprisingly been reelected by their respective districts. Not an encouraging omen for Trump. It’s now up to the electorate to decide if they want to support an administration that provides from the cradle to the grave for those citizens who are lazy at the cost of enormous tax hikes for those who sustain the country by their labor, or a free society, in which one can strive to live the American dream, a system that Trump represents.
The writer is the host of ‘Walter’s World’ on Israel National Radio (Arutz 7) and ‘The Walter Bingham File’ on Israel Newstalk Radio, both in English.