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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kadima backs Bibi?

Many people here in Israel believe that President Obama would like Kadima to be part of the Netanyahu government (if not to replace it altogether). The theory is that Kadima, and especially its leader Tzipi Livni, may be more pliable in agreeing with the Obumbler's diktats when it comes to dealing with the 'Palestinians' in general and regarding the 'settlement freeze' in particular. The theory might be wrong.
Although some in Washington view party chairwoman Tzipi Livni as a more comfortable negotiating partner, a Kadima lawmaker said this week that acceding to Obama's demands to freeze building in all settlements would lead to the break-up of the party.

"Kadima will never accept the demand for an end to natural growth," MK Otniel Schneller [pictured CiJ] said on Tuesday. "Kadima cannot accept it because it would cause a split and tear the party apart."

The former secretary-general of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip and current resident of the Ma'aleh Michmash settlement [which is outside the 'security fence.' CiJ] said Israel must be "allowed to develop in the recognized settlement blocs. They have practically already been agreed-upon and so there is no reason to freeze building. The denial of natural growth is not legitimate, not moral, and is anti-Jewish. Nobody can tell my daughters not to have children just because they happen to live in settlements."

MK Ze'ev Boim echoed Schneller's comments, reiterating that he supported continuing building for natural growth within the municipal boundaries of settlements that were part of major blocs. The two are far from alone, and reflect a strong - if not necessarily majority - trend within the leading opposition party.
Read the whole thing. The MK's quoted (Livni is not one of them) are definitely more pliable than the parties in the coalition (with the possible exception of Labor), but in a nuanced sort of way.


At 2:48 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Speaking of national consensus, right-wing Israelis have already come up with a slogan:

No We Can't


At 3:03 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

Although I'm certain Obama would love to compel a halt in all settlement activity including that of natural growth, I think he knew going in that this would not occur but chose to assume a maximalist position so as to intimidate Israel into refraining from building in, for example, E1. It's a classic hardball negotiating tactic.

Now that Israel has expended so much energy and political capital defending natural growth, she is likely to declare "victory" when the Obama administration softens on this issue but Obama will have succeeded in his broader goal to stifle new building.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl and FinanceDoc, leftist Aluf Benn at Haaretz believes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu made two mistakes: he allowed the Administration to divert the topic of conversation from Iran to the settlements where Israel has no friends and even then Israel did not defend the right of Jews to live in the Land Of Israel as a principle but allowed to it to be reduced to a petty real estate squabble. And second, Netanyahu never explained why he is opposed to a Palestinian state. If its just terminology, why not just endorse it and leave the details up for later negotiation?
And if its substance, why should Israel not accept the two state solution.

Netanyahu's failure to outline a coherent vision in both areas has left Israel isolated and has allowed the American President to take initiative to pressure Israel into making concessions on issues of vital national interest. An Israel on the defensive with its major ally cannot get back on track on dealing with its most pressing priority: a nuclear Iran.

Why Netanyahu has waited til now to articulate his government's policy when he should have outlined it before his visit to Washington left an impression of Israel being unprepared to cope with a hostile White House and to keep the agenda focused on Iran. Right now it looks like damage control instead of Israel holding the high ground on both the Iranian existential threat and the Jewish right to live in Eretz Israel.

I do not agree with Benn's political views but I do think Netanyahu could have done a better job of heading off the confrontation that has developed with Washington a lot better than he has done to date and still uphold Israel's national interest on the above issues relevant to Israel's future as a Jewish State.


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