Incredible: Likud MK going public for one-state solution

Posted: December 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: The Right, The Settlements | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

This is from MK Tzipi Hotovely, one of the more rightwing members of Likud:

“Israeli law should be applied on the Judea and Samaria region,” Hotovely said during a conference in the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and stated she did not rule out granting citizenship to Palestinians.

The MK explained that “Judea and Samaria are a part of the land of Israel,” and blamed the Palestinians for the failure of the political process. “We strongly wish to get a divorce, but the other side doesn’t want to separate.”

Hotovely told Ynet later in the evening, “It’s unthinkable that Jews in Judea and Samaria would live under occupation and under a military regime. The distorted policy, which states that every construction permit must be approved by the defense minister harms the most basic rights.

“It’s time to lift the question mark over Judea and Samaria and view the people living there as citizens with an equal status. Thinking ahead, strategically, we should consider granting gradual citizenship to Palestinians based on loyalty tests.”

And with that, the usually unimpressive Hotovely became the first Likud member to face reality: you cannot settle the West Bank and talk about a solution to the Palestinian problem at the same time, unless you are ready to turn the Palestinians into equal citizens.

The “loyalty tests” part is indeed troubling, but let’s look on the bright side this time: if Netanyahu is talking about two states, and the radical right about a bi-national one, it seems that Israelis are finally realizing that the occupation can’t go on for much longer.

Fire Ambassador Oren

Posted: December 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, believes that supporting a two states solution and a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, or opposing the war in Gaza, are illegitimate positions, which open the door for no less than the distraction of Israel. J street, the pro-peace lobbing group which advocates such ideas, is in Oren’s view “a unique problem”.

Forward reports:

Addressing a breakfast session at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial convention December 7, Ambassador Michael Oren described J Street as “a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.”

After a speech that touched on the spiritual basis for and the threats to the state of Israel, Oren issued an unscripted condemnation of J Street.

“This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion,” Oren said. “But when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion. You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke.”

If I were one of Meretz or Labor’s member, or even Kadima’s, this would have been enough for me to demand for Dr. Oren to be sent back to Jerusalem. These parties hold some of J Street’s views (in Meretz’s case, probably all of them), so Oren is practically accusing them of “fooling around with the lives of 7 million people”. Even if he didn’t cross the line of talking about elected members of the Knesset, he got very close to it, considering the fact that Meretz, Labor and Kadima even sent representatives to the J Street convention.

James Besser touched this point on his blog at The Jewish Week site, when he wrote that “[according to the ambassador's approach], guys like Rabin and Ariel Sharon must have been secretly anti-Israel.”

It is no surprise that Oren is turning out to be the Likud’s ambassador to Washington, rather than Israel’s. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Oren was an associate researcher on the Shalem Center, the rightwing think tank and publishing house which is financed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s close friend, gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson (who is also the publisher of the free rightwing tabloid Israel Hayon). When Netanyhau returned to the PM office, he appointed people from the Shalem Center and Israel Hayom to senior positions in his administration. These are the hardcore ideologists behind Israel’s current policies. Read the rest of this entry »

This Government

Posted: March 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The weeks leading to Passover are always the busiest of the year for Israeli newspapers, mine included, so I don’t get to update the blog as often as I would like to.

Naturally, the big political news of the week is Labor joining the Likud government. I discussed more than once the possibility of Kadima joining Netanyahu, but to most people’s surprise, Tzipi Livni stood firm, and left the Likud with an extreme right wing coalition. Netanyahu’s conclusion from his failed first term in the PM’s office was that this sort of government can’t survive, so he did everything in his power to have Labor as his left cushion. And still, he would have never made it unless the man at the head of the Labor party was Ehud Barak.

Read the rest of this entry »

Someone Blinked?

Posted: March 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: culture | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Israel’s public Radio, “Kol Israel”, just reported that Kadima and the Likud have resumed negotiations. Yossi Verter reports similar things in Haaretz:

…    sources in Kadima and Likud say there is ongoing, active underground channel between her and Netanyahu. The two don’t speak directly, but emissaries convey messages; for example, from Kadima ministers who are unhappy about their imminent forced exile from the government, or Likud officials appalled at the government that’s taking shape.

Are we going to have a national unity government after all? I’m not sure. More likely they are discussing how to build the government in a way that will enable Kadima to join it in the future.

It’s Going to Get Ugly

Posted: March 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

As I wrote here before, I believe that a Right-wing narrow government is a better option now than a “national unity government” with Netanyahu as PM and Kadima and possibly Labor joining in. But make no mistake -  there will be a dear price to pay for the return of the extreme-right to power.

Professor Zeev Sternhell – who was injured recently in an assassination attempt on his life, probably by an extreme-right terror group – touches this issue in Haaretz today:

The danger in such a government is far graver with regard to domestic issues than to issues of war and peace – because in foreign policy, including the Iranian issue, the power to make the crucial decisions is in any case in the hands of the United States and the European Union. Israel is not going to arrive at any agreement with the Arabs without American sanctions. However, no one is going to intervene if the Israelis decide to destroy the rule of law for themselves, devour human rights to the bone, establish their own rules of ethics and their own legal norms…

No doubt, it’s going to get very ugly.

Netanyahu Goes Left? Only in Haaretz

Posted: February 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

I woke up late this Saturday morning, only to find Netanyahu droped a bomb during his first interview since the elections (to “The Washington Post”, of all places). As reported in the main headline of Harretz’s Hebrew web site, Netanyhu told WP that “in principle, I believe in two-states for two people”.

Benjamin Netanyahu supporting a Palestinian state? Wow.

After all, his objection to the idea was Livni’s reason not to enter his government, even when offered complete partnership. Is it a new spin, intended to cause tension within “Kadima” and force Livni into the coalition? And what will his partners on the right say? Could we be headed for a Netanyahu-Liberman-Livni coalition? No doubt, this could change everything.

But after a couple of hours, when I was getting ready to write a post on the matter, a funny thing happened: the headline changed. It no longer said that Netanyahu accepts the two-state solution; just that he declares that “(the) Palestinians should govern their own lives”. No big news there. It was even stated that the intended PM was careful not to mention the “two-state solution”, which, if you read the WP interview, is true. Netanyahu didn’t say anything new.

Here is the screen shot of the article after the headline was changed (click on the picture to see it in full size). It now says “Netanyahu: Palestinians should govern themselves”. But those of you who read Hebrew can notice the browser’s headline still shows the old version: Netanyahu: “in principle, believes in two-states for two people”.


What happened here?

The first option is that someone in Haaretz noticed that they took Netanyahu’s words out of context, and fixed the headline. But there could be another option: that they got a call from one of Netanyahu’s people, complaining that he didn’t say those words, and after re-checking the facts, they corrected the headline. In that case – which is very probable from my experience in the way the media works, especially on Saturday mornings – it is clear that Netanyahu is most afraid to lose his majority on the right. He will give Kadima any cabinet post they want, but won’t make the one statement that can force Livni into the government. So it’s clear we are headed to a narrow right-wing government.

And here is the real conspiracy theory: what if it was one of Livni’s people who called Haaretz to complain about the headline?

Bibi Goes to the Right

Posted: February 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It seems more and more likely that we will have a narrow right-wing government. Tzipi Livni’s recent statements against joining Benjamin Netanyahu’s government were so clear, that they didn’t leave much room for future changes. Even if she decides to join him in the next few weeks, she will need a really good reason, or she will be seen as the worst flip-flopper in ages.

Livni probably estimates her number 2, Shaul Mofaz, who wants badly to join the government, won’t be able to make any move against her for the time being. Mofaz is not in a position to threaten Livni, nor to leave Kadima with some of his supporters and re-join the Likud.

As for Netanyahu, it looks as though he got the massage. Bibi started negotiations with his future right-wing partners, and that means he all but gave up on the “national unity” idea. After he allocates cabinet positions and sign agreements with the radical right, he won’t have much to offer Kadima or Labor.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why do I Support a Right Wing Government

Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, The Left, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This blog is written from the Left. I try to describe events in the most objective way, but I don’t hide my views. I believe that our first political obligations as Israelis is to do all that we can to end the forty two years old occupation of the West Bank, and to stop the siege on Gaza, which is another form of occupation. I also think that racism is becoming a major problem in Israeli society, and that we must do everything in our power to fight it. These are the principles I see in front of me when I consider which government is best for Israel.

The options range between bad and worse. The parties that advocate a full withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and who are truly committed to democratic values, got three percent of the Jewish vote in the last elections. Three.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Bet

Posted: February 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

I just placed a bet against two friends – one is a political reporter, the other a PR man and a campaigner in the last elections – on the outcome of the political negotiations.

The campaigner said we would end up with a “national unity government” (Likud and Kadima together), with Netanyahu as PM.

I bet on a Right-Orthodox coalition, without Kadima (Netanyahu as PM).

The reporter said we are heading for a “rotation government”: Netanyahu as PM in the first two years, and Livni in the last two.

Who will drink for free?

What government does the US want?

Posted: February 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Washington Post dives into the Israeli political battle: yesterday’s unusual editorial calls for Livni to let Netanyahu face the international pressure on his own:    

Kadima and Labor, which favor continued talks on a two-state deal with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, would be wise to stay out of a Netanyahu-led government.

On the other hand, there are reports that Obama wants Livni in the government… I think it’s a mistake: a “national unity” government might make things easier for the American president politically, but won’t help the peace process.