Tuesday, February 24, 2009

National Unity: Promising To Talk

Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni have promised to keep talking. A Netanyahu government that does not include Livni's Kadima will be "more hawkish," right? And Netanyahu has finally agreed to pursue U.S.-sponsored talks with the Palestinians, right? If Livni stays out of the goverment, this will presumably make the Israeli side in the talks less, well, "dovish?" So does not her demand for rotation of the prime minister's job border on political selfishness?

Probably, but this is also a stupid question. The status quo serves the interests of the settlers and the 65 newly-elected defenders of Greater Israel in the Knesset. The only serious question is whether the status quo will be radically changed. Talking with the Palestinians about changing it, or talking about talking with them in some national unity government, is just another way of playing into the settlers' hands.

As I said in my last post--and Gershon Baskin has just said better--we cannot know if Livni's position on Palestine is ultimately very different from Netanyahu's, at least not from party platforms or party pedigree. We know that Livni has signaled a willingness to share Jerusalem (hence, her break with Shas) and that she certainly cares more than the 65--well, 64 if you include Netanyahu--about how Israeli policy plays in the West. Then again, we have reason to doubt that she will split the country, and her party (which includes people like Shaul Mofaz), to confront the settlers head-on--doubt that peace talks will produce anything valuable if they are not actually a cover for an American fiat.

BUT, ANYWAY, IF Netanyahu is serious about achieving, not just talking about, a two-state solution, he has an obvious way of signaling, too: he can agree to a coalition of Likud, Kadima and Labor plus others (which would be an initial bloc of about 75 MKs); agree to a rotation agreement, in which Livni would exercise the prerogatives of the premiership in a couple of years. Meanwhile, Kadima and Barak's Labor party, acting together, could bring down this government if Netanyahu just stalls. 

Netanyahu, in other words, would be agreeing to genuine partnership in a government Obama could engage. Need I add how utterly unlikely this is? Half of the Likud list would revolt; many would defect. Serious negotiation with the PA would leave Netanyahu no choice but to try to take Likud from the "national camp" into the globalist center--in effect, to join the more pragmatic rump of the his Likud, people like Dan Meridor and Eitan Cabel, to the more pragmatic rump of Ariel Sharon's Likud, that is, Kadima; to turn 65 into 50, at least until the next election.

If Netanyahu does not agree to rotation, however, it is a clear signal of a different kind: that (distasteful as this is) he is holding onto his 65 to leverage continuing inaction; that he merely wants Livni to paint lipstick on his pig. She would be a fool to go along. Whatever else she is not, she is not that.

6 comments:

Y, Ben-David said...

Do you seriously believe that it really makes a difference who comprises the ruling coalition in Israel regarding the so-called "peace process"? Look at the outgoing government.....28 Kadima, 19 Labor, 6 Meretz. That is already 53. Add Kadima's satellite party the (now late) Pensioners party...7 more. That is 60. Add the 10 Arab seats...that is 70. A clear majority for the "peace process". They ran on a platform of unilaterally withdrawing from most of Judea/Samaria and expelling something like 80,000 Jews there. They didn't do this but then they embarked on direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the "Annapolis Process" and also indirect negotiations to give up the Golan to Syria via our (now former) friends the Turks. A dream majority, no religious parties and no settlers. You progressives couldn't ask for any more. So did we get peace? NO, we got TWO wars in three years. So you seriously believe that the if Netanyahu forms a coalition with the religious and the Judea/Samaria setttlers that will be the problem that will "prevent peace". THE PROBLEM FOR YOU IS THAT THE ARABS don't want peace. That is the reason. Got that through your head. You're highly educated, you should eventually be able to figure this out.

Anonymous said...

Right on! leftists lost. Your Hebrew Republic is nauseous used toilet paper. Your 3rd rate credentials a farcical charade!
Traitors to a Jewish state!

Sagredo said...

...but patriots to a democratic one.

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