Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO
Netanyahu. 'Clashes should focus on fundamental issues, not on populist moves'
Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO
Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin

Netanyahu's self-serving conflict with US

Op-ed: In recent clash over Jerusalem construction, Israel's prime minister has once again favored his personal survival interest over clear national interest.

As a citizen of the State of Israel, I feel uncomfortable and even offended when anonymous US administration officials attack our prime minister using cheap and blatant language – despite the fact that I am very critical of him and of the government's weak and lumbering policy in almost every area.



I also believe that it is completely legitimate for the Israeli government to confront the American administration in some cases, but it is important that these clashes will focus on fundamental issues and will not be carried out because of a temporary populist need to impress voters or partners on the right-hand side of the coalition, through moves which are mostly aimed at creating a political spin.


Let's just remember a few issues which are on the agenda with the United States: Apart from the generous annual aid we receive from the US, which we already see as obvious, only two or three months ago, in the midst of Operation Protective Edge, we were in need of massive aid in military equipment and ammunition from the US.


Soon we will likely need an American veto at the United Nations Security Council against Mahmoud Abbas' demand to recognize the Palestinian state.


We will also need significant American aid if Abbas increases his pressure, as planned, on the different international institutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The sanctions some countries in the world are considering against the State of Israel in light of the defying and populist policy, mainly on the construction in the territories, will also require significant American diplomatic assistance.


But the most amazing thing in my opinion is that only several days ago, we heard that the prime minister was exercising a quiet construction freeze in light of the fact that we would soon need an American veto. And only less than a month ago, the prime minister explained that Peace Now's exposure of the plans to build 2,500 housing units beyond the Green Line during his meeting with the American president (a timing which I also condemn) was an act of sabotage.


So if the prime minister realized that a quiet freeze is needed, and if the prime minister realized that such an exposure (just like during his meeting with the president) would be met with harsh reactions and jeopardize the State of Israel's interests – how does he explain the decision to advance the planning of 1,060 apartments in East Jerusalem, which is currently on fire? What kind of logic can explain this lack of logic?


The explanation we are receiving of course is that the knight of the quiet construction freeze suddenly remembered that it's our right to build on every hill between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River come what may.


But the truth is apparently more disappointing and is more similar to what I have described in the past: Once again, our prime minister has favored his personal survival interest over the clear national interest.


Yuval Diskin is a former Shin Bet chief.


פרסום ראשון: 10.31.14, 23:25
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