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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Israel's 'loyal opposition' as self-centered as usual

One of the most striking things about Yehuda Avner's The Prime Ministers is how during the period from the '60's to the early '80's, this country's leaders seemed more concerned with the country than with their own egos. Menachem Begin is often described as cooperating with Labor when Begin's Likud was in opposition and he was the leader. In the run-up to the 1977 election, Yitzchak Rabin told his staff that if his arch-enemy Shimon Peres were to win the election and ask them to stay on, they owed it to the country to stay on. And when Menachem Begin won the election, Rabin told members of his staff (including Avner) the same.

Compare that to our current government and its opposition. In 2006, the elections were won by Kadima, Israel's first party with no principles. Ehud K. Olmert, possibly the worst Prime Minister in Israel's history, bore out the expectations of self-centered behavior (and no, he was not our first self-centered Prime Minister) that Kadima engendered.

After Olmert resigned in disgrace, Tzipi Livni became the party's leader. To date, she has mostly distinguished herself by leading her party into opposition rather than accept the election results and take a back seat to Netanyahu within the government. At what may be Israel's most crucial moment short of actual war, Livni has been a constant display of unfettered and unwarranted ego. Over the weekend, she did it again, claiming that had Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 'settlement freeze' there would have been no Hamas-Fatah deal. Israel, says Livni, needs a Prime Minister who can convince the World not to vote for a 'Palestinian state' at the UN in September (a lost cause if I ever saw one). And can you guess by now whom she has in mind?
Speaking on the Channel 2 program Meet the Press, Livni said Israel needed a prime minister who could persuade the world not to allow a Palestinian state to be declared unilaterally at the UN General Assembly in September, but that Netanyahu did not fit the bill.

“In order to stop the unilateral process of recognizing a Palestinian state and get us off a track that is bad for Israel, Netanyahu must negotiate,” Livni said. “For him to be believed, he must pay prices.

“He needed to pay with a freeze but he stammered.”

Livni said Israel should agree to peace talks with the Palestinians, provided Hamas accepted the Quartet conditions of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and respecting treaties signed by the Palestinians. But she also said there was no chance of reaching peace with Hamas.

The Kadima leader said that Netanyahu’s reaction to Palestinian reconciliation put Israel further into a corner. She cited the news that the European Union on Friday offered to increase aid to the Palestinians after the government announced that it would withhold the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in response to the Fatah-Hamas unity deal.

She said that elections in Israel would “stop the world in its tracks” if they realized that a new government willing to negotiate with the Palestinians was going to be chosen. She accused Netanyahu of only caring about his political survival.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Livni says that Netanyahu should have 'paid the price' of a freeze. Netanyahu paid it for ten months and nothing happened. The only way he could have paid it that would have satisfied the World's First 'Palestinian' (who sits in the White House) would have been to include Jerusalem in the freeze, which Netanyahu did, albeit unofficially, and which Livni's own party claimed to oppose. Livni says we should negotiate with Hamas if Hamas accepts the quartet conditions, but Hamas has repeated over and over again that it does not accept them. Livni says Netanyahu should not have cut off the 'Palestinians' tax money. She'd rather Israel fund Hamas than let the Europeans do it.

And finally, Livni comes to her bottom line: She wants elections now. Fortunately, for the good of the country, no one else does.

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At 4:59 AM, Blogger Herb Glatter said...

with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight Olmert for all his failings did: wage war against Hezb'Allah for 34 days, results were far from satisfactory, destroyed Syrian reactor (why no response from Assad?) and Cast Lead. Hopefully Israeli leadership will prevail.


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