Gerald Steinberg: Netanyahu’s ‘big bang’: A preliminary analysis
This does not mean a return to the vulnerability of the 1949 cease-fire lines, or destruction of communities built in good faith across that “green line.” But now, the government has the credibility to pursue negotiations for a two-state framework based on compromise. If Israelis see a basis for stable agreement, including an end to invented Palestinian histories and efforts to flood Israel with millions of third-generation “refugees,” the majority will accept the costs. And if such negotiations reach another dead end, a broad-based Israeli government can move toward implementing the consensus approach to borders and leave the Palestinians to decide how to govern themselves.
FP: See my more realistic comments on the new broad government. Based on records of previous unity governments I believe that all the hope and change generally expressed is part and parcel of the wishful thinking in Israel. Some of the fractured nature of Israel’s party configuration reflects real cleavages in Israeli society and gathering more parties into government does not resolve them, but rather, as I already argued, tends to induce internal conflicts, paralysis, inefficiency, corruption, arrogance and so on.
Nowhere is the wishful thinking more dangerous and blinding than on the peace issue. As I already explained, there is a shift within the Likud party away from the wishful thinking of the “peace process” to the right. Rationality would demand that the broader government would be exploited for a firmer stand against the Blackmailer’s Paradox game played by the Arabs and increasing pressure by a collapsing hostile West that, for all practical purposes, has become indifferent to whether Israel survives a Palestinian state or not (with some, including Jews, actually preferring it does not). This should be obvious to whoever does not suffer from what Daniel Greenfield calls “Israel peace disease”and Kenneth Levin called “Oslo Syndrome” (see my earlier posts on these).
But (1) based on this delusion (2) Martin Sherman’s warning about the entire Israel right’s adoption of Oslo and ludicrous situation of it begging the Arabs to negotiate and (3) knowing Netanyahu, I suspect that his intention is the exact opposite (one of the first statements he made after the move was PM calls on Abbas to return to negotiating table).
If I had to bet, I would warn to expect another “gesture” to the Arabs, playing right back into their blackmailing game. Just like Sharon and Olmert before him, he will try to be the PM that brought Israel peace in spite of reality. And Mofaz will play right along in order to improve Kadima’s chances in the 2013 election so that it does not disappear as it was expected now. Recall that after becoming chairman of Kadima Mofaz stated that were he to become PM he would offer 100% of the land to the Arabs. Furthermore, he is a mediocre politician, with more interests than principles as his major flip-flops attest. He’s no match for Netanyahu.
As to the Iran issue, I don’t know whether this will help or not. There are both pro- and con- factors.
No hope and change is warranted, but I’ll be very glad to be proven wrong. (see next)
UTJ, Shas: Without “Torato Omanuto,” we’ll leave coalition; Likud to insert changes to keep consensus with haredi parties.
In addition, 1,000 exemplary yeshiva students will be exempt from service, and other yeshiva students may defer serving in the military or national service for one year, every year for a maximum of eight years.
The main change is expected to be the reverse of allowing an exemption for 1,000 yeshiva students. Rather than limiting the number of students, the legislation is likely to present a minimum number of haredim doing military or national service, which will be increased each year.
This gradual increase will allow both the IDF and haredi society to prepare for the major changes this legislation is likely to bring.
FP: Told you so. And I suspect this will change considerably in favor of the Haredim before it passes. The critical problem here is not whether the religious parties leave the coalition. Rather it is whether the final version is acceptable to the religious sector or not, and if it isn’t it won’t be implementable. I reiterate: expect some very vague language and spin.
Palestinian Authority president says that the death of any of the hundreds of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons could trigger a backlash that might slip out of control.
FP: One of the first tests will be how the new government responds to such an event, or even before it happens, given that the High Court approval of the policy. Any concession presented as “a gesture” to the Arabs to return to negotiations will be an indicator.
Anyone who doesn’t see a looming clash between a Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt and Israel is wearing blinders and earplugs. This is an election rally for the MB’s presidential candidate, Muhammad Mursi. It’s an anti-Israel hate fest. (Transcript: http://bit.ly/KCoqKY.) On Sunday, I heard Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough sugarcoat the chaos in Egypt. He’s either disingenuous or a fool. MB Presidential Candidate Will Liberate Jerusalem | Nas TV via MEMRI
FP: Barry Rubin comments:
Martin Kramer is one of the world's best Middle East experts. Here is his latest dispatch. Remember this is what I've been saying since January 2011 and even October 2010. Regarding Martin's last sentence, below, I vote for "fool." The U.S. leaders really believe what they are saying and they think themselves very brilliant people. And so do the overwhelming majority of American "experts" and journalists who echo them.
And here is what I commented:
The Arabs are currently failed societies. They cannot solve their problems with a 7th century culture at the source of their failures, so the only thing they can do is the traditional scapegoating of infidels for their own problems, with Israel upfront. In the past that did not make a difference because the West had power and leverage. Today the West has collapsed and it too has reverted to its good old anti-semitism. The only way for Israel to survive is do the "crazy state" and scare everybody. Instead, Israel is in vain trying to appease those who see it as weakness and pound more. Netanyahu has just broadened his coalition to the left because he detected a Likud shift to the right.
I concur with Rubin about the ignorance and outright idiocy of US leaders. The decline would not have been so steep had that not been the case.
Eurocrats, too, are tiptoing away from cuts, belatedly aware of how outrageous it sounded to argue for austerity in the 27 member states while demanding a 6.8 per cent budget increase for themselves.
This was, of course, the approach which brought Europe to its present unhappy condition. So why do voters hope to solve the crisis by accelerating the policies which led to it? Much of the blame must attach to the Centre-Right parties currently in office in most national capitals. Though they talk of fiscal prudence, many of them are in reality locked into Euro-corporatism. With a handful of honourable exceptions, they have presided over crony capitalism, more spending, more taxes and more debt. Their failure has opened the door to the angry and populist Left. When the 'Right' is represented by Samaras and Sarkozy, it's no surprise that voters cast around for radical alternatives. After all, when it comes to the euro, the Trotskyists have been proved right. They argued all along that, while the single currency would suit the suits, working people would suffer.
As long as Europe's élites remain determined to keep the euro, the economic situation will deteriorate. And the worse things get, the likelier people are to demand the high-tax, high-spend policies which caused the mess. The eurozone is now in a vicious circle.
FP: I recently argued here that even if a society initiates genuine capitalism—by which I mean no legal citizen status for corporations, strong regulation to guarantee competition and no firm large enough to affect the market and no state bailouts—it will in time deteriorate to a corporate welfare state and crony capitalism, a kleptocratic alliance between business and political systems which, given time, it will bring society down. Looks like Europe is already there and the US is following suit, except the descent will take more time.
Europe had the additional complication of the atrocious EU bureaucracy whose purpose was precisely an anti-democratic method to achieve the kleptocracy.
While different in the mechanism and details, the outcome predicted by Marx—Haannan prefers Trotsky--seems to materialize.
House subcommittee to approve $947 million for Israel's anti-missile defense systems • "This funding level is the highest ever appropriated in a single year for these life-saving programs," Rep. Steve Rothman says.
FP: I reiterate: obsessed focus on defensive measures such as walls and anti-missile defense (than are fast becoming obsolete with technological advances) lures Israel into a false sense of security. There is no future in this when Israel continues to make concessions without reciprocation.
Recently uploaded Google Earth satellite photos show Hezbollah has been building new facilities in southern Lebanon and eastern Bekaa Valley along Syrian border, the Lebanese Daily Star reports.
FP: Hizb’allah builds new bases and Israel issue warnings. We saw how that works in the 2nd Lebanese War.