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Monday, November 01, 2010

Did Netanyahu try to hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections?

Noam Sheizaf points to a line in Aluf Benn's weekend column in which Benn accuses Prime Minister Netanyahu of refusing to sign on to a 'settlement freeze' extension out of a desire to hurt President Obama and the Democrats in Tuesday's elections.
Netanyahu rejected Obama’s request for a two-month extension of the settlement freeze; the president had wanted quiet on the Middle East front while he concentrated on the midterm elections. For his part, Netanyahu explained that he needed to show “credibility and steadfastness” at home, and indeed the incentives promised by the U.S. president in exchange for the extension did not sway the prime minister. One can surmise that Netanyahu did not want to help Obama ahead of the U.S. elections, and thus annoy the president’s Republican rivals. Netanyahu needs the support of GOP politicians to thwart the pressure coming from the White House.
I can think of a lot of other very good reasons why Netanyahu should not have and did not sign on to that extension. Among them are the wishes of his own people, the wishes of his own party, the wishes of his cabinet, the wishes of his government, and the fact that signing on would have signaled that Israel's position in future negotiations under Netanyahu can be continually eroded using what's known here as the salami method: one slice at a time.

It seems far more likely to me that Aluf Benn wants to plant the idea of Netanyahu trying to hurt the Democrats in the Obami's heads so that they make sure and come back and try to nail Israel if Obama turns out to be a lame duck after Tuesday's elections.


At 7:53 PM, Blogger Eliana said...

An extension of the building freeze wouldn't have brought the "Palestinians" to the table. They're still demanding a total and permanent building freeze in Judea and Samaria and also in eastern, northern, and southern Jerusalem. Plus they are demanding an end to the blockade on Gaza.

Asking Bibi for an extension was meant as a way to put him on a slippery slope where he'd be giving in to everything and losing his coalition.

The only American offer impressive enough to grant a one-time-only two month extension would have been the release of Jonathan Pollard, in my opinion. If this had been offered, I think the right wing parties would have accepted it pretty quickly.

Jonathan Pollard received a prison sentence based on things that were too classified to bring up during his trial. So he has never had the chance to defend himself against the things that caused him to receive such a long prison sentence.

Also, he was blamed (outside of the trial but included in the sentencing process) for things that Aldrich Ames did and maybe Robert Hanssen too. What happened to Jonathan Pollard was wrong.

His release would be worth a one-time-only two month extension, in my opinion. This isn't being offered, apparently.


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