Photo: AP
Netanyahu at the UN. 'Talking out of both sides of his mouth'
Photo: AP
Nahum Barnea

Netanyahu's UN speech: All talk, no action

Op-ed: If Abbas is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS, Israel should bomb Ramallah and resume its attacks on Gaza. Instead, it's hoping US, European and Saudi money will fund Gaza's reconstruction and pay Hamas workers' salaries.

It was an excellent, well-written speech, composed of a series of short, catchy and message-focused sentences, with the right emphases at the right timing, with all the required pauses and gestures, in a remarkably polished American accent.



After each of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's annual addresses to the United Nations General Assembly, I am filled with pride that this is the man speaking for Israel from the podium in New York. That's where he belongs.


Had his father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu, still been alive, he would have enjoyed this speech. The father devoted many years of his life to researching Islam's flaws. The son summarized his father's doctrine through rhetoric punch lines. ISIS is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS. Moreover, ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, is similar to the other Islamic republic, of Iran.


And we're not done yet: The Palestinian Authority, which established a government with Hamas, belongs to that same family. A huge, worldwide Islamic conspiracy has been devised to destroy the West and Israel, the West's stronghold and representative in the Middle East. So simple. So right.


Netanyahu's accusations are not baseless. It's true that militant Islam has raised its head in recent years; it's true that the progress made by Iran to the status of a nuclear threshold state is alarming; it's true that two radical terror organizations, armed with rockets, are operating next to Israel; it's true that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' claim that Israel used methods of genocide in Gaza was not in line with the truth.


But the comparison between Hamas and ISIS is unfounded, if only because the American administration is prepared to destroy ISIS while Israel wanted and wants Hamas to continue ruling Gaza. A weakened Hamas is what Netanyahu wanted before, during and after Operation Protective Edge.


And the comparison between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is absurd, because in the only area the Israeli government finds important in the Palestinian context, security, the PA is cooperating with Israel on a daily basis – not with Hamas. And the joint government, which Israel often condemns in speeches, is now the Israeli government's big hope, as it is perceived as the only chance to avoid the next violent flare-up in the south.


If Abbas is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS, Israel should bomb Ramallah and resume the attacks on Gaza. Terror is terror. Instead, it is awaiting the moment American, European and Saudi money will fund Gaza's reconstruction and pay Hamas workers' salaries.


This is what the Americans refer to as "talking out of both sides of one's mouth" – saying one thing in speeches and doing another thing in the actual policy. But Netanyahu speaks so well, with so much strength and confidence, that it's all over and forgiven.


Perceptive Israelis noticed another interesting point in the address. Netanyahu gradually shifts in his speeches from "we" to "I." I believe, I am ready to make a historic compromise, some people don't take Israel's security concerns seriously. I do, I always will. It's as if he was saying to the world: There may be Israelis you can handle, but you can't mess with me! I! Myself! In all my greatness! Beware!


At the end of the speech he likens himself to the Prophet Isaiah, who swore: "For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still."


This is a familiar process. It's only natural that after many years in power, the leader feels there is no one else but him, that he is growing – in his own eyes and in the eyes of his followers – and that the state, weak and flaccid, is barely trudging behind him.


But why reveal this secret to Israel's enemies at the UN General Assembly, to the junior Syrian official, to the junior Palestinian official, to the empty seats of the other junior officials? They may actually make use of this secret.


פרסום ראשון: 09.30.14, 09:19
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