As President Barack Obama makes demands of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as he challenges him and plans to weaken him, he is at the same time challenging all Israeli citizens.
And so, ultimately, it is not just Netanyahu — Bibi — who must stand strong against Obama, but all of us, who must rise to this challenge and stand with Bibi.
It was Obama’s fierce desire to go to Cairo on Thursday and say that he is moving along with “peace,” having secured a commitment to a “two state solution” from the Israeli prime minister. But the Israeli prime minister wouldn’t say those words.
Obama then made it absolutely clear that he considered a total freeze on settlements in Judea and Samaria — including for natural growth — to be essential for progress in achieving peace. But then Bibi said it was not a reasonable demand and that he wouldn’t do this — for we have a right to provide for natural growth in our communities.
What Bibi did was for the nation, and for each of us who cares about our nation.
Obama must be considerably enraged about these stumbling blocks to his plans. And he doesn’t take no lightly — not from presumptive allies anyway, from Iran it’s OK.
So what do we read? That Obama’s policy has shifted from that of his predecessors, and now the onus for making concessions toward peace is on Israel and not the PA. This is from Jackson Diehl (no great lover of Israel) in the Washington Post.
In fact, Abbas told Diehl that he expects it to take about two years for Obama to weaken Netanyahu’s government, perhaps enough to bring it down. Abbas didn’t make this up; it is exceedingly likely that he picked up some message, some hint, from Obama.
Here is the link to the article again, in case you hadn’t seen it:
Put the onus on us? Weaken our democratically elected government?
Do we sit still for this? Or do we stand on our feet and allow ourselves to be counted?
And we’re not done. There’s the NY Times piece that cites the fact that the Obama administration is thinking of backing us less in the Security Council because we haven’t agreed to freeze settlements.
There’s even a quote that indicates that an American official thinks the US gov’t can go over Bibi’s head, and appeal to the Israeli people. The people, they reason, don’t want tension between Israel and the US, and so they’ll weaken Bibi because of his stance.
“‘There are things that could get the attention of the Israeli public,’ a senior administration official said, touching on the widespread belief within the administration that any Israeli prime minister risks political peril if the Israeli electorate views him as endangering the country’s relationship with the United States.”
The fact that this has since been played down does not change the reality of what was said.
It may even be that this is why they’re thinking of giving us less backing in the UN. So that the Israeli electorate will blame Bibi for causing this problem.
Can we let such a ploy stand, in any terms? Do we allow ourselves to be used against our own prime minister? Or are we prepared to move beyond our national adolescence and stand up for ourselves?
Please! I want to strongly urge that each Israeli reading this send a message to Bibi.
He’s under enormous pressure and deserves to know that we’re with him, appreciate him, and will not permit ourselves to be used by the Americans to weaken his government.
If there are prices to pay, we will pay them with our heads up, standing together for our nation. He, and all of us, are doing what must be done to keep our nation whole and strong.
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
Phone: 03-610-9898 (From the US: 011-972-3-610-9898)
E-mail: email@example.com (underscore after pm)
I then ask, please, that this be broadly circulated to other Israelis who will also let Bibi know they are behind him.
If you’re American, by all means, send a message of encouragement to Bibi and let him know the American president does not speak for you.
Messages should also be sent to Obama. Israelis need to tell him that we’re with our prime minister. That we deeply resent “demands,” as we are a sovereign nation. And that we are infuriated by attempts to manipulate our nation. It won’t work.
Americans, of course, let your president know what you think of his policies. And, please, send this on to others who will send similar messages.
Fax: 202-456-2461 Comment line: 202-456-1111
E-mail form via: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
There are those of you reading this who will ask about the outposts that Bibi says will be taken down. This is my answer: No, I’m not pleased about the prospect of their being taken down, but I am struggling with the big picture, and concerned about how best to save our country.
Making Bibi weaker now would be counterproductive to our goals. It would, in fact, serve Obama’s goals.
I think about the prospect of Livni coming in, should — G-d forbid — this gov’t be brought down, and I shudder. That would finish us, as she would jump to please Obama, and would brag that she has good relations with the Americans.
As I write, nothing additional has been taken down. We don’t know yet how this will play out. In spite of the hesitation, the questions, there remains an intuitive sense that there may be some sort of trade, some way in which Bibi will use this issue for larger purposes. We simply don’t know.
What I do know, with certainty, is that there is more going on than meets the eye. I also know that Bibi has the support of nationalist members of the government right now.
I will entertain no further private discussion about how turning a blind eye to dismantling of some outposts means an abandonment of Zionist principles. The issues right now are bigger than those outposts.
If the time comes to make noise about the outposts, we will know it. For now, I appeal for a “wait and see” approach because we’re in the vortex of a swiftly changing situation.
I would like to recommend this very excellent analysis regarding the importance of settlements. (With thanks to Doris M.) Many of you will find this enlightening and useful.
And see this article as well, which makes clear that when Washington talks about a “building freeze in the settlements,” it also means a total building freeze in eastern Jerusalem, part of the unified Jerusalem that is governed under Israeli sovereignty.
This does not sit well with a large majority of Israelis.