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Op-Ed: Israeli Press: Iran an Excuse

It’s not Obama, and it’s not Iran. Lack of guts is what prevents Netanyahu from withstanding pressures and leads to him losing self respect and the last vestiges of shame.
Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 9:03 AM


People are telling each other sotto voce that the real reason Netanyahu froze construction in Judea and Samaria is that this is the price that must be paid the USA in order for Israel to have a free hand in attacking Iran. 
You can’t really argue with a point of view that legitimizes a building freeze as a necessary gesture towards a hostile president like Obama.

Except that Netanyahu’s questionable past record in standing up to pressure weakens that argument. It seems more probable that this is another instance of a spineless person caving in and trying to minimize his shame by providing an excuse.

Bibi Netanyahu became a world class leader when he expressed his views loud and clear on the international battle against terror and on how the West could protect itself from its dangers. His influence was due to his extraordinary writing and speaking ability, but also because his legendary brother Yoni, killed at Entebbe, became a symbol of our ability to overcome terror. During the period when the Oslo Accords were signed, Bibi was the forceful Opposition head who led the attacks on the ill conceived Peres-Rabin program.

Things began to become a bit fuzzy when he was elected Prime Minister, and had to apply his clear cut theories. The extent of his weakness was obvious for the first time when the 1996 opening of the Western Wall tunnels led to violent clashes and shooting incidents incited by the Palestinian Authority. Instead of using this as an
Netanyahu entered the Knesset plenum at the last minute and supported Sharon’s plan, even though he had been considered the head of those against it. Was there an Iranian problem then or was it just his weak nerves?
opportunity to crush the terrorist Authority, Bibi tied the IDF’s hands. He travelled to the USA, shook Arafat’s hand, called him “my friend and partner” and joined the Oslo parade. Later on, he handed over the city of Hebron and after that another 13% of Judea and Samaria in the Wye Agreement. He gave in once again when he let Clinton renege on freeing Pollard, part of the Wye withdrawal agreement. Was all that due to Obama and Iran?

The passing years and the hope that Netanyahu had learned his lesson gave the public back some of their faith in him and brought him back to power. On his way back to the Prime Minister’s office, he managed to fail miserably when it came to the Disengagement. He entered the Knesset plenum at the last minute and supported Sharon’s plan, even though he had been considered the head of those against it. Was there an Iranian problem then or was it just his weak nerves?

After the present government was formed, it became quite clear that the only lesson Netanyahu  learned during his years in the political wasteland was to give in without delay to three sources of pressure : the US President, the Israeli media and the Israeli Judicial system. That is why Shimon Peres can mix into foreign affairs and politics outrageously, why Ofer Eini of the Labor Unions can dictate economic policy, why there is no Ministerial Committee on Settling the Land, and that’s how Defense Minister Ehud Barak can succeed in being acting Prime Minister.

The unnecessary Bar Ilan speech in which Netanyahu caved in and agreed to a Palestinian State and the building freeze, are attributed to the Iranian threat. They don’t explain all the other instances where he caved in to pressure, such as giving up his plan to apply Value Added Tax to produce, the collapse of his plan to redefine the Attorney General’s position, the choice of the new Attorney General. What is the excuse for accepting the left’s dictates on those issues?


We would be better off if Netanyahu would give up the idea of attacking Iran, because we need a leader, not a weakling, in order to deal with the international pandemonium that will result
The worse instance of Bibi’s weakness is the Shalit negotiations. It never entered his head to put the squeeze on the Hamas in Gaza, to free Shalit by military means or at the very least to remove the televisions from the cells of Hamas murderers in the first class hotels we call “Israeli prisons”. Instead, he is giving Hamas what they did not even get from former PM Ehud Olmert. Bibi is encouraging terror by freeing the most bestial murderers and laying the foundations of the next war, first by freeing these monsters and second by eliminating any fear of punishment. Was this also forced upon him by Obama and the Iranian threat?

Bibi has lost all the esteem in which he was held during his career by abnegating the principles he expounded upon for years. He became the man who is leading us to new depths of submission and to a fateful erosion of the good name Israel had in withstanding terror, a name paid for in part with his brother’s life.

Let’s face it. It’s not Obama and it’s not Iran. It’s inability to stand up to pressure that caused his loss of self respect and the last vestiges of shame. Yitschak Shamir recognized this years ago, and in the 1999 elections, while they were still undecided, cast a white ballot. He did not want to choose Ehud Barak, but could not bring himself to vote for Netanyahu.

We would be better off if Netanyahu would give up the idea of attacking Iran, because we need a leader, not a weakling, in order to deal with the international pandemonium that will result.