Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Return Of The She Creature - Tzipi Livni To Join Netanyahu's Coalition
It's official - Tzipi Livni and her 6 seat Hatnua faction will be joining the new Israeli government, the first party to do so.
Netanyahu bid big for such a miniscule faction, especially one led by someone who is arguably the most despised figure is Israeli politics after her old boss, Ehud Olmert. Livni will get the post of Justice Minister, while her number three, the equally clueless Amir Peretz will be 'environmental protection minister.' A third member of Hatnua will be the chair of a yet unnamed Knesset Committee.
Peretz, you might remember, is the quasi-Marxist former leader of the Labor Party and former Defense Minister ( the only one in Israel's history without command experience) in the Olmert government, where his mismanagement of the early part of the Second Lebanon War led to his 'resignation' .
An idea of his competence and general fitness for office can be had from this famous photo taken during his tenure as Defense Minister...trying to see something through covered binoculars! (Peretz is the guy with the Stalin mustache.)
Livni will also have a mandate from Netanyahu to be in charge of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
Now, if you remember her tenure as Israel's Foreign Minister, you know Tzipi Livni probably couldn't be trusted to negotiate herself a decent deal on a used car let alone handle dealing with Abbas and company, but Netanyahu included a condition that any agreements need to pass muster not only with him and his cabinet but with the full Knesset.
In any event, as Israeli Arab journalist Khalid Abu Toameh recounts with his usual insight, negotiations are going nowhere anyway. Neither the Palestinian Authority or Hamas have any intention of making the slightest concession to Israel short of 100% of their demands, so there's no deal they would accept that wouldn't compromise Israel security to an unacceptable degree. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas won't even sit down to talks without a guarantee in advance that all his demands will be met, and as an unelected dictator whose presidential term expired in 2009, he has no standing to speak for anyone at this point, something Hamas is quick to point out.
But that leaves us with another question - why would Netanyahu allow people like Livni and Peretz into his government in the first place ? And why did he give up so much to get them in?
I was pretty puzzled by that one myself. However a couple of my notorious Lil' Birdies let me in on what's going on.
Tzipi Livni may be unpopular with Israel, even on the Israeli Left. But she is wildly popular within the Obama Administration, where she's regarded as a Useful Idiot more than happy to turn over Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank) and half of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. After all, hasn't turning over land to Israel's Arab enemies in exchange for paper guarantees worked out well before with the Oslo Accords, Gaza and South Lebanon?
As you know, President Obama is scheduled to come to the Middle East in late March and to make a stop in Israel. Obama's ambassador to Israel was quick to state that President Obama wouldn't be introducing any new peace proposals with the Palestinians during his visit, but as I found out today, my original guess that Ambassador Shapiro was either lying or misinformed was right on the money.
According to my sources, President Obama plans a major effort to pressure Netanyahu to make huge, unilateral concessions to Abbas. It's why he's coming to Israel in the first place.
According to one source of mine, President Obama is even going to hold out the prospect of America 'dealing' with Iran in exchange for Netanyahu giving in to all of Abbas' demands.
Of course, President Obama has no intention of 'dealing' with Iran. No president who did would be appointing the likes of John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and John Brennan to sensitive national security posts in his cabinet, and hopefully Netanyahu realizes that. But in an effort to head off President Obama, Netanyahu apparently panicked and brought Tzipi Livni into government with the express purpose of leading peace talks with the Palestinians, although he did his best to maintain control over the process. In addition to the safeguards that are an official part of Livni's mandate, Netanyahu's own envoy Yitzhak Molcho will be part of Livni's team, presumably as a counter influence and mole.
By bringing Livni into the government and putting her in charge of negotiations that are going nowhere anyway Netanyhu was sending a loud and clear signal to President Obama that the Israeli Prime Minister was willing to cave in and appease him.
I see this as a major error on Netanyahu's part. Livni and Peretz will be poisonous influences in his cabinet, and will have a major effect on whom joins the coalition. It's also a major betrayal of Likud's core ideology and thus the people that voted for him.
Not only that, but it is also a signal to the Obama Administration that Netanyahu can be pushed and bullied, something he mostly resisted before. Given President Obama's obvious feelings towards Israel, this is an extremely unwise signal to send.
Not good.Either for Israel or ultimately for the U.S.