Bibi and the Politics of Weakness
David RubinDavid Rubin is former mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president...
Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu's signing of the long-term ceasefire agreement with the Islamic terrorist leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah raises serious questions, and not just about war and peace.
The image of Netanyahu in the West is that of a "hard-nosed", tough, right-wing leader, who is uncompromising when it comes to asserting Israel's claim to what the world media calls "greater Israel", more accurately defined and translated from the Hebrew as "the complete Land of Israel". He is revered by Israel's supporters around the world as a bold defender of Israel, as he confronts often hostile news anchors around the world, and in perfect English no less.
Notwithstanding his strong communication skills, the reality on the ground is quite different. Everyone in Israel knows that Bibi is very susceptible to pressure, especially when it comes from an American administration that has broken new records for hostility towards Israel. The agreement to repeated ceasefires, which in effect tied the hands of the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza conflict, was a result of such pressure and Netanyahu's inability, despite occasional tough talk, to stand up to that pressure.
Is that the only reason that he caved and agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza that doesn't provide security to the residents of the Gaza belt communities nor to the cities of the South? Is American pressure the only reason why he agreed to a ceasefire that leaves the Hamas infrastructure damaged, but intact? The motivation of our soldiers to sacrifice their personal safety for the sake of the homeland had never been higher. Was it all in vain?
Sadly, Bibi's submission to pressure is apparently matched by his lack of Zionist conviction when it comes to the entire Land of Israel. Despite his upbringing in a home of complete Land of Israel Zionists, his support over the years for Israel's development of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem has been less than stellar, to say the least. The only time we ever see Netanyahu in Samaria is during an election campaign when he comes to plant symbolic trees, only to have those trees symbolically uprooted months later with the obstruction of construction in these communities, or even worse, the expulsion of young families from idealistic hilltop communities. Every resident in the established communities here in Samaria can tell you that the demand for homes is much greater than the supply. The lack of building permits, which have to be authorized by the defense minister, is the reason. Undoubtedly, Netanyahu's lack of determination to enable growth in the biblical heartland extends all the more so to his apparent lack of belief in our historical right to reassert our authority in Gaza.
Despite his wishy-washy behavior in leading the Gaza battle as Commander-in Chief, Prime Minister Netanyahu has actually taken a bold political gamble by agreeing to this long-term ceasefire. Knowing that half of his Security Cabinet would oppose such a pathetic deal, which doesn't even return the bodies of the two dead Israeli soldiers that remain in enemy hands, he used a technicality to approve the deal without a vote. Thus, he will have to take full political responsibility for the consequences, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad will immediately begin the process of rebuilding, restocking, and rearming, all in preparation for the next war.