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PM Netanyahu Photo: Gil Yohanan
PM Netanyahu Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

The emperor has clothes

Op-ed: PM Netanyahu's statements in favor of peace talks merely meant to placate his coalition partners

Elyakim Haetzni
Published: 06.18.13, 20:59 / Israel Opinion

Danny Danon declared that Netanyahu is not serious when he speaks of the two-state solution, meaning the prime minister is not rejecting his own principles and rightist promises. Netanyahu lost the elections, and barely managed to remain in power thanks to a losers' alliance with Lieberman, who also feared a downfall.

 

Let us examine Netanyahu's options. If he tries to please his new followers from the Left and enter into negotiations on a two-state solution, Habayit Hayehudi will leave the government. If he tries to replace Bennett's party with Shas, Yesh Atid will quit. If Labor's Yachimovich is asked to join the coalition, she will demand such a price that will split Likud and leave Netanyahu without a home. Unlike Sharon, the current PM will not be adopted by the Left.

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There are only 20 Likud MKs because the Left did not vote for Netanyahu, despite the Bar-Ilan speech, while the Right ran away because of it. Netanyahu is heading a Tzipi Livni coalition that includes Tzipi Hotovely, Yaakov Peri and Orit Strock. How does he do it? By not rocking the boat. As long the "peace process" remains dormant, the fragile coalition remains in tact – albeit without any political, social or economic purpose (apart, perhaps, from the Iranian issue, although this appears to be the prime minister's private project).

 

The coalition stands on two feet: The 31 Likud-Beiteinu MKs, who are connected to the coalition only by their desire to remain in power, and the 31 MKs from Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, who are joined together by the "equal share of the burden" ideal, or, in other words, the desire to keep the haredim away from positions of power. This alliance will hold as long as the diplomatic issue remains stalled. So what reason does Netanyahu have to take the "Palestinian bear" out of the woods?

 

Where can the peace talks take us when the Arab world is becoming more and more extreme and is soaked in blood? Can Abbas, who is far from being Sadat (who didn't survive), really follow the peace path at such a time? Would he give up one stone in the Western Wall?

 

The peace camp takes comfort in the fact that "only" 150,000 settlers would have to be uprooted. Another 250,000 would remain in the "settlement blocs." As part of the land swaps with the Palestinians, Israel would have to give up large parts of the Negev, the Lachish region and the Beit She'an Valley. Netanyahu has yet to confront the "settlers" from those areas. When he tries, he may miss the settlers from the West Bank.

 

And why should Netanyahu risk his premiership? In order to sit with Jibril Rajoub, who said he would have dropped an atomic bomb on us if he could? With Abbas, whose media outlets continue to deliver the message that Jaffa, Haifa and Beersheba are Palestinian cities conquered in 1948 and who names every square and school after terrorists who killed Jews?

 

Netanyahu swore he wouldn't trust any agreement but would count only on the IDF forces that would be deployed in "Palestinian" territory. Does he really believe he will find an Arab partner who will agree to such an arrangement? When the entire concept of a Palestinian state seems so unrealistic, it is no wonder that Danon tried to assure us that our prime minister has not gone mad.

 

 

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