Israel Palestine Infos
On The Road To
IN JANUARY 1077, King Henry IV walked to
Pope Gregory VII had excommunicated him after a conflict over the right to invest bishops throughout the German Reich. The excommunication endangered the position of the king, and he decided to do everything possible to get it lifted.
The king waited for three days outside the gates of
THIS WEEK, the Netanyahu went to Canossa in the United States, in order to prevent Pope Obama I from putting a ban on him.
Contrary to the German king, Bibi I did not walk barefoot in the snow, did not exchange his expensive suit for a hair shirt and did not forgo his sumptuous meals. But he, too, was compelled to wait for several days at the gates of the White House, before the pope deigned to receive him.
The German king knew that he had to pay the full price for the pardon. He knelt. The Israeli king thought that he could get off cheap. As is his wont, he tried all kinds of subterfuges. He did not kneel, but barely bowed. The pope was not satisfied.
This time, the walk to
But this time he was mistaken, and in a big way.
Netanyahu’s heart is with the American right. His closest friends there are neoconservatives, right-wing Republicans and evangelist preachers. It seems that these had assured him that Obama would lose the big battle for health care and would soon be a lame duck until inevitably losing the next presidential elections.
It was a gamble, and Netanyahu lost.
At the beginning of the crisis over construction in
A less arrogant person would have told himself: let’s not rush things. Let’s wait at home until it becomes clear who will win the health insurance battle. Then we shall think again and make a decision.
But Netanyahu knew that he was assured an enthusiastic welcome at the AIPAC
conference, and AIPAC, after all, rules
But in the meantime, something absolutely awful had happened: the health law was adopted by Congress. Obama won a victory that has been called “historic”. Netanyahu was not facing a beaten and beleaguered pope, but a Prince of the Church in all his splendor.
ACCORDING TO an Israeli joke, the shortest unit in time is the moment between the light turning green and the driver behind you starting to honk. My late friend, General Matti Peled, insisted that there was a shorter moment: the time it takes for a newly promoted officer to get used to his new rank. But it appears that there is an even shorter period of time.
George Mitchell, the hopping mediator, handed Netanyahu Obama’s invitation to the White House. The cameras showed everything: Smiling from ear to ear, Mitchell extended his hand for the handshake, he even stretched out his other hand to hold Netanyahu’s arm. And then, the moment he thought that the cameras had stopped recording, the smile disappeared from his face at a dizzying speed, as if a mask had fallen, and a sour and angry expression appeared.
If Netanyahu had perceived that moment, he would have been cautious from there
on. But caution is not one of his most outstanding qualities. Completely
ignoring Obama, he told the thousands of cheering AIPAC-sters that he would go
on building in East Jerusalem, that there is no difference between
That is quite true. The most energetic settler in East Jerusalem was Teddy
Kollek, the Labor Party’s mayor of
But Netanyahu can’t keep quiet. It is said of Sabras, the native-born Israelis, that they “finish quickly” because they have to run and tell the boys. Netanyahu is a Sabra.
Perhaps Obama would have been ready to apply to
NETANYAHU’S OTHER argument is also interesting. He said that there is a
consensus about the new Jewish neighborhoods in
This sheds light on a tried and tested Zionist method. When an unofficial
consensus about the division of the land between
Actually, Netanyahu should be thanked. For decades, everybody made a distinction
between the “settlements” in the West Bank and
SO NETANYAHU went to
That is not just a “crisis” anymore. It is something really momentous: a basic
change in the policy of the
The President of the
The change finds its expression in East Jerusalem, because there can be no peace
without East Jerusalem becoming the capital of
Up to now, Netanyahu has played a double game. At one moment he leans towards
I feel flattered by the formula, but the political choice is now between Lieberman-Yishai and Tzipi Livni.
Netanyahu has no chance of escaping Obama’s excommunication as long as he is a hostage of the present government coalition. It is said that a clever person knows how to get out of a trap into which a wise person would not have fallen in the first place. If Netanyahu had been wise, he would not have set up this coalition. Now we shall see if he is clever.
Kadima is far from being a peace party. Its countenance is blurred. During the whole year in opposition it has not proven itself in any way and has not taken part in any principled struggle. But the public considers it a moderate party, unlike Netanyahu’s overtly extremist partners. According to the latest polls, Kadima has recently extended its slight advantage over Likud.
In order to enter into serious negotiations with the Palestinians, as demanded
by Obama, Netanyahu will have to dismantle the existing coalition and invite
Livni in. Until that happens, he will be left standing at the gate of
The struggle between the king and the pope did not end with the humiliating