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.


B.Poster said...

"Not good." I would tend to agree. This seems bad on so many levels I'm not sure where to start. First of all Israel has large numbers of supporters in the US. When Israeli leaders make moves like this, they undercut their supporters here in the US. After all Israel is a soverign country and an ally. Who are we to oppose the actions of a soverign country who is allied with us and has done us no harm?

With that said it does not make sense. No other foreign leaders care much what POTUS does. Why should Israel. Furthermore the US economy is in shambles, its military is worn down and suffers from poor leadership, poor training, and poor morale, its massive debt is massive, it infrastructure is crumbling, and it has a severe shortage of the skilled workforce necessary to address any of these problems at any time in the foreseeable future. Such a nation as the US is not a threat to anyone much less Israel. If I'm able to figure this out, a man as seasoned as Mr. Netanyahu should be able to figure this one out.

Furthermore it would make no sense for America to not want to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. After all its not a question of if but when would this weapon be used against America. Millions of Americans would die and Iran would gain HUGE status in the world and would secure many more allies and would in turn harm America even more.

Of course with regards to Iran there is the standard narrative on this conflict. The standard narrative is America working with Britain over threw the peaceful Democratic government of Iran in the early 1950s in order to steal Iran's oil. As such, America and especially America as the leader of this evil deed "has it coming."

I'm not saying I agree with narrative but it is the narrative. the truth is likely much more complicated Nevertheless until the standard narrative is addressed we simply cannot get the kind of assistance we would need to have any real chance of confronting Iran in a meaningful way.

There is another factor at play as well. Right now Iran has the backing of Russia and China the world's to most powerful countries and it has strong trade ties with India an up and coming major world power. As long as this remains in place, America poses no threat to Iran nor can it realistically expect to confront Iran in any meaningful way. If I understand this, then I'm sure Mr. Obama and his advisors do.

As such, this might explain America's behavior but it does not explain Israel's behavior. It makes no sense to placate POTUS in a situation like this where Israel has numerous allies in the US and the ability of America to threaten Iran is minimal at best. Furthermore no one else worries much about what America does. It makes no sense for Israel to worry about it and it makes even less snese to give this man a medal!!

In fact, now would be an excellent time for Israel to start changing the nature of the "special relationship." If this happened, both countries would benefit. America would get a strong nation who would be acting more independently as a bulwhark and a buffer against Islamic terrorists who wish to harm it and Israel would be more secure.

Finally, America's obsession with peace between Israelis and Arabs is irrational. There are plenty of problems much closer to home that desparately need attention without wasting precious resources on a problem that is thousands of miles away.

I've already stressed how best go about achieving that if any one is interested. Essentially cut off all aid to the Palestinians or at least make it conditional much like the aid Israel receives. This places the parties on a more equal footing. In such an environment, the Palestinians are much more likely to negotiate in good faith but that's a topic for another post.

B.Poster said...

Anyone who has ever been in a fight knows you cannot win by appeasing an enemy. You may negotiate whereby you give up something and your adversary gives up something equally valuable. For example, a concession like this by Mr. Netanyahu might make sense if he received in exchange a pledge from Mr. Obama that his administration will fully support Israel in all areas including the UN should it choose to completely iradicate Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah as well as settle the disputed areas in any manner it chooses. If such an agreement is achieved, there would need to be some way to enforce the agreement though. Hopefully if as your analysis is correct on this Mr. Netanyahu and the Israelis got something equally valuable in return.

Anonymous said...

This is a blunder of major proportions. But, Netanyahu has been making one political blunder after the other lately. His election campaign strategy was abysmal. Netanyahu is alienating his base & that includes Likud members. When I saw the news at JPost, all I could say is ''Oy Vey'' - but to understand the disgust at this move, you have to read the comments from readers.
My humble opinion - this is all due to Netanyahu's dislike & fear of Bennett & what he represents.

Altalena said...

Any chance that he won't be able to pull together a working coalition and there will be a new election? I tend to think it would be for the better.