You have to give it to Netanyahu: he has managed to sail through this week magnificently. He got to meet Obama and Abu Mazen on his own terms, without publicly agreeing to a settlements freeze that would have put his right wing coalition in danger; he made no new commitments or promises to the American administration or to the Palestinian President; he enjoys the full support of Ehud Barak on his left and Liberman on his Right, and his speech on Iran and the Holocaust won many praises here. It was, I believe, a cynical use of the Holocaust, but the Israeli public was certainly impressed. To Israelis, the whole world, and especially the UN, has become a sort of a threat – full of boycott supporters, Halocaust deniers, pro-Arab media and anti-Israeli propaganda. So the feeling was that Netanyahu “taught them a lesson”.
Netanyahu’s picture – waving Auschwitz’s blueprint, which was given to him a month ago in Germany – is on the front page of the weekend papers. As Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz at the time, Netanyahu was a bit arrogant, even rude, towards Israel’s friends in Germany who handed him the blueprint, but who remembers this now? The PM is coming back to Israel as a winner, his approval ratings are high, and he made the American president – who is considered by Netanyahu as the biggest political threat he is facing – look like an amateur.
But what’s the purpose of all this impressive maneuvering, except for political survival, which is not a goal by itself? Where does the Prime Minister want to go? Does he have some sort of vision regarding our relations with the Palestinians? What’s his plan? Except for accepting the general notion of a Palestinian state, without explaining how exactly he will get there, Netanyahu never told anyone what is it exactly that he wants to do. I still think that he doesn’t really know.
This issue does not hurt Netanyahu on the Israeli public. On the contrary. Read the rest of this entry »