OneJerusalem.com

a different side of Israel

Tag: Benjamin Netanyahu (page 2 of 2)

Bibi Postpones Likud Elections

At the request of Israeli Prime Minister and Likud party chairman, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Likud Central Committee postponed its own election date for another twenty months. This goes against the Likud constitution which mandates that the next committee elections be held on February 10th of this year.

It is clear what the thinking was behind the move. Netanyahu knows that if elections are held now, the committee will come out much farther to the right and perhaps angry about the settlement freeze.

Unfortunately for Bibi, the attempt to buy time has not gone unchallenged. Several central committee members have turned to the Tel Aviv district court to overrule the move. The matter will be brought up on January 25th.

Netanyahu held a meeting with Zvi Cohen, Chairman of the Likud’s Elections Committee, discussing various schemes to exclude the right wing, religious, Moshe Feiglin, who finished a strong third, with 12.5% of the vote, in the race for party leadership.

Feiglin was convicted of sedition in 1997 for his non-violent civil disobedience activities in the Zu Artzeinu (this is our land) movement. His position played a critical role in expressing popular opposition to the Oslo “peace process.” Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett, co-founder of the group, were sentenced to nine months imprisonment and one year on probation. They each served six months of their terms, respectively.

After his election as party chairman, Netanyahu promised to fight “criminal and negative” elements in the Likud, but it was unclear if he was referring to Feiglin, specifically.
Bibi was quoted as saying:

“There will not be room in our party for corruption and extremist lawbreaking,” Netanyahu told the Likud faction. “Our party will work to restore its image to the good old days of Menachem Begin…The path of integrity and clean hands must be returned.”

He went on to defend his opinion and define the Likud as a moderate party:

“We in the Likud made a peace agreement with Egypt, we supported the peace agreement with Jordan without reservation, and I as prime minister conducted successful negotiations with the Palestinians, signing a number of incremental agreements.”

Another Likud Rally Against the Freeze

Last month, September 9th, saw a much hyped, but much deflated Likud rally with a very confused message about whether Netanyahu was being strengthened or rebelled against by attendees of the rally. Nobody could really figure it out, which is why only about 200 showed up to the event in Likud headquarters that was looking to draw thousands. That, and some of the speakers at the event turned back, and others got mysteriously stuck in an elevator on their way up to speak.

danonThis time, a rally is being planned in the settlement of Revava, tomorrow, Oct. 6. It is being put together by Likud MK Danny Danon, who has lately been making waves as a potential leader of the hard right wing line of the party, which evidence suggests has been growing all the more dominant over the past two years.

The point of the rally will be to call upon Netanyahu to clarify his position on a settlement freeze. This seems like a good thing to demand, being that nobody really knows what in the world he’s thinking, nor ever seems to have a clue. There is a good reason for this. If he takes a real position on the issue, then he’ll anger somebody. So he can’t really say anything. So it’s doubtful Danon will inspire him to do so. But here’s to trying, eh?

“Please tell me whether due to Palestinian rejection, the freeze on construction has been canceled,” Danon wrote to Netanyahu. “Right now, the situation is unclear, so please explain the government’s position on the matter.” Netanyahu ignored his letter.

Recently, neoconservative columnist Daniel Pipes has mentioned Danny Danon in one of his columns as “up and coming.” If Pipes recognizes Danon as up and coming, then something might be up here. He has run for Likud chairman in the past, though only garnering a dismal 3.5%, trailing Netanyahu and Moshe Feiglin. My guess is he’ll do better in his next run.

Here’s my prediction with regard to up-and-comingness. For those who follow internal Likud politics, it should come as no surprise. The next race for the Likud throne will probably consist of the following candidates, mainly at least.

1) Danon, who is obviously setting himself up for a run by being so outspoken.
2) Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, who also has been making waves lately, though the last few weeks he’s been fairly quiet.
3) Feiglin, who has run in every Likud election since 2000 and has promised to run in the next one as well.

There may be a smattering of others, but they will either drop out or get a negligible slice of the Likud pie. The big question is, will Bibi run again? The answer to that depends on how his government ends. If it runs full course, which is doubtful, chances are he probably will. If it falls and he looks bad, he may not. It depends on whether he even wants to have a third round as top man. And if he doesn’t, it looks like it’ll be a fight among those three, all of whom are substantially more right wing than the current sitting Prime Minister.

How Long will the Delay Game Continue?

bibi obama abbasA few days ago we saw the much anticipated tripartite meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, PM Netanyahu, and President Obama, in that usual stance where Israeli and Palestinian leader are clasping hands and the US leader is in the middle, hands outstretched, in that sort of “I know, deep down, you really do love each other,” type of body language.

rabin clinton arafatLet’s take a quick analysis of this picture, comparing it to the old one back in 1993. First of all, Obama looks a lot less happy then Clinton. Oh, but wait a minute: So does Abbas, and Bibi for that matter. They all look fairly miffed, like nobody really wants to be there, or they’re all constipated and need some fiber capsules. It’s hard to tell.

What’s really interesting, though, is that Israel is on the same side of the picture as she was in 1993. The left side. Abbas is on the right, as Arafat was. What is the significance of this? Take a look at any popular book on body language. What it will tell you is that to show the palm of your hand is an expression of capitulation, whereas to show the back of your hand is an expression of power and domination. When Bibi is on the left side of the picture, shaking Abbas’ hand with his right, he shows the back of his hand in the photograph. Abbas is left open-palmed and helpless.

I solute Bibi on this move, whether or not he did it accidentally.

But then again, it doesn’t really matter all that much. Nobody wanted to be in that picture in the first place anyway. And back home, everybody is griping about it. Following the meeting, Minister Without Portfolio (AKA Minister of Absolutely Nothing – there are a few of those in Bibi’s government) Benny Begin (son of the late PM Menachem Begin) called the chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat a “wild beast of a man” quoting the Bible in describing Ishmael.

Senior PA officials who came along with Abbas to New York called it something of a “complete failure,” in that Obama is reportedly no longer demanding a total settlement freeze from Israel. Further, Bibi and Abbas reportedly came back from the meeting with totally different conclusions, Bibi’s being that negotiations will proceed without preconditions, and Abbas’ being that negotiations will only resume after a total settlement freeze. At least they both came away with conclusions at all.

MK Danny Danon, a Likud lawmaker, said that now that Obama failed to obtain any concessions from Arab countries, Netanyahu must restart unlimited building in Judea and Samaria. That’s the right. And on the left…

Even Yossi Beilin, architect of the Oslo Accords and former Meretz chairman, is all hot and bothered. In his words, “It was clear that the participants were not enthusiastic about the meeting. It wasn’t a meeting of people who want to make peace.”

What would give you that idea? Could it be the looks on their faces? So I repeat the question posed in the title of this article. How long will this game of picture-taking and delay go on until somebody makes a move, somewhere, on some sort of principled stance involving any kind of conviction?

Could be a while. I wouldn’t count on anybody currently in office moving anywhere significant.

Are Iran and Gilad Shalit Connected?

With Iran recently coming out with the completely ludicrous statement that they would agree to “a world without any nuclear weapons” which would ideally, in their view, leave them with the world’s only stockpile, we are most likely now approaching the limit of American patience and the end of the Iranian nuclear negotiations farce. The question is, what happens from here?
 
meridorOn this subject, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor (there are 3 deputy Prime Ministers by my count, all necessary for the country’s security because if one of them gets unhappy, the government might fall) came out yesterday to say that the clock is ticking and it’s about time that the West actually did something to prevent messianic Islamist fundamentalists from obtaining nuclear capability.
 
Along the same lines, former intelligence chief Danny Yatom said that the only way to stop Iran from becoming nuclear would be military action. How many of us, at the beginning of this nightmare back in 2005 when Ahmadinejad made his first public statement about wiping Israel off the map, thought that dialogue would actually succeed?
 
Signs that a military strike is imminent are Netanyahu’s secret trip to who knows where last week (some are saying it was Russia, but the story is pretty fuzzy) and the sudden flurry of negotiations surrounding Gilad Shalit. It could very well be that Bibi is trying his darnedest to get that affair wrapped up because if he doesn’t soon, then he’ll have to deal with Iran first, in which case getting Shalit out of his Gaza dungeon will be next to impossible.
 
It has been Israel’s strategy to insist that Iran is not only Israel’s problem, and indeed, that a nuclear Islamic dictatorship could, just possibly, be a danger to the rest of the world. And yet, that rest of the world seems content to let the Jews handle the world’s problems. Again, who is surprised? Anybody out there? If history has shown anything consistent, it is that the Jews’ problems are the world’s problems.
 
Suggested time tables are somewhere between the end of this year and the beginning of 2010 for the simultaneous opening of Iran Round I, Hezbollah Round III, and Hamas Round a Million. In the event that it happens, we’ll be here, in a shelter somewhere, posting updates.

Palestinian State within Two Years? Bibi: ‘No Comment’

This’ll be a tough one to swallow. As soon as I finished reading the report on Haaretz, I started laughing. Here’s why. The report began with a blanket statement that negotiations over a Palestinian state will begin next month on the basis of an understanding that a state will be established in two years’ time. The next sentence I read was “Palestinian and European Union sources told Haaretz that talks will initially focus on determining the permanent border…” Then I thought, “well, what about Israel? What did they tell Haaretz?”
 
Apparently…nothing. And then this sentence: “It is understood that this will be accompanied by a public American and European declaration that the permanent border will be based on the border of June 4, 1967.”
 
Public American and European declaration…what about Israel? I guess she just slipped their minds.

They finally get to Netanyahu and Israel somewhere in the next paragraph. Here’s what they say: “Likewise, Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and that the Arab world embark on normalizing ties with Israel, will not constitute preconditions to an “early recognition” of Palestine.”
 
In other words, Israel is actually irrelevant, and her demands may as well be perfectly ignored. That’s what about Israel.
 
Shimon Peres, who by some amazingly weird miracle is somehow still involved in politics after losing every single election he ran for since the mid 80’s, called Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plan to announce a de facto Palestinian State within two years, something worthy of a “Palestinian Ben Gurion”. 

As for Netanyahu’s opinion of Fayyad, Haaretz had this to say: “Netanyahu has not yet commented on Fayyad’s plan.”
 
With such overwhelming consensus, we can definitely afford to say, “Well, uh…sure, maybe this time it’ll work.”

Will Vote-Buying Return to the Likud?

This is a translation from the front page article in today’s Ma’ariv newspaper. Apparently, Netanyahu is afraid of an internal coup within his own party, and he’s changing the rules of the game, yet again, in order to stave off opposition.
————
Changes in the Likud Constitution that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s associates are suggesting would expand the number of party members and allow many of them to vote in the upcoming months – seemingly, with the purpose of strengthening Netanyahu’s position against his detractors.

MerkazThe Likud Knesset “Rebels” and Likud activists against the proposed building freeze in Judea and Samaria have been gathering signatures in the past few days in order to bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan up for a vote in the Likud Central Committee. However, Netanyahu is aware that in the Likud Central Committee as well as among the party members, there is considerable representation for those who live in Judea and Samaria, as well as Moshe Feiglin’s people, the man of the Right. He’s interested in avoiding the type of confrontation that erupted between former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Central Committee during the period the Gaza Disengagement was approved. For this reason, the Prime Minister’s allies are today working in parallel to open the electorate and allow new members to join the Likud.

“If we don’t open the lines right now, Feiglin’s men could start to gain control of the local Likud branches,” a senior cabinet minister and Netanyahu associate said. “We are already very concerned that the Feiglinites will get control of the Jerusalem branch. If they succeed, the pressure on Knesset members will be enormous. Everybody starts thinking about his own primary campaign, and Netanyahu starts to lose control of the faction.”

The reason for the hubbub surrounding the size of the electorate is that elections for the Likud Congress, Central Committee, and party branches are around the corner. Netanyahu’s men intend to open it for a short period of 2 or 3 months, in that way ensuring a wide electorate. Additionally, they intend to temporarily nullify a chapter in the Likud Constitution that a party member may only vote in internal elections after 16 months of membership in the party. That way, Netanyahu’s men can bring new members into the party and dilute the influence of men from the Right, Feiglin, and the Judea and Samaria Council within Likud’s institutions.

They Don’t Belong

As of now, there are about 100,000 Likud members, and it is estimated that 15,000 of them belong to Feiglin and the settlement camp. The decision concerning the Constitutional changes and the cancellation of the 16 month “cooling period” are supposed to be brought for the approval of the Likud Central Committee, which is expected to convene immediately after the holidays in order to set the next elections for the Likud Congress. However, the Likud Secretariat is already convening this coming Thursday. According to several sources, the head of the Secretariat, Yisrael Katz, wants to pass a decision – even if its implication is only advisory – to cancel the clause requiring 16 months membership. Regardless, sources close to Katz are denying that there is any intention to do such a thing, and are reiterating that any change is up to the Central Committee.

Likud activist and member of the Secretariat Yitzhak Nimrodi, who began the campaign for the 16-month clause, said yesterday that Katz is deliberating with other members of the Secretariat to check their positions on the matter. “Where will they open up party membership? Only in poor neighborhoods where they can buy them off,” said Nimrodi, who initiated the clause back then in order to prevent the phenomenon of fictitious voters that blossomed in the days of Sharon. “These people, who don’t belong in the Likud, we won’t be seeing a single vote from them during elections.”

Knesset member Yariv Levine, who belongs to the so-called Likud “rebels,” sent a letter to Katz. “I know that they’re telling Netanyahu that this move will dilute the more ideological wing of the party, but in my opinion it is in his interest to oppose the move,” he said. “The 16-month law cleaned the Likud ranks from corruption.” Netanyahu’s associate, the senior government minister, said otherwise. “Whoever doesn’t support our move wants to be held captive to small interest groups. Those who oppose opening the voting ranks can’t explain it as anything other than a deal with Moshe Feiglin.

Ironically, the forces whose influence in the Likud Netanyahu’s men are currently trying to dilute are the same forces that led the campaign in the Central Committee for a referendum over the Disengagement. Netanyahu led the rebellion back then against Sharon, and enlisted all the political strength he could muster in order to bring the opponents of the Disengagement their victory in that referendum. But back then, Sharon decided to go forward without the Central Committee’s approval anyway.

Bibi Dancing the Tightrope – Don’t Blow on Him!

livniIn our previous two part analysis of Netanyahu’s political options, which turned out to be pretty much zero besides staying exactly where he is and not disturbing the status quo, we were obviously unaware of the magnitude of the Prime Minister’s genius when it comes to political chicanery.

We wrote that he couldn’t go left and issue a settlement freeze for wont of angering the right flank of his coalition. On the other hand, he couldn’t just let settlement building keep going, because then Labor would get really mad. True, the Labor part of the coalition only comprises 8 seats out of Netanyahu’s 69 (Labor’s other 5 seats do not consider themselves a partner in the coalition), they still have enough power to tip the scales.

But over the weekend Netanyahu did something so genius that he angered everyone – but spread out the anger in such a way that the anger won’t cause any of them to revolt against him. They’ll all just be annoyed and dissatisfied and kvetchy.

What he did, was this: “You want a freeze, Labor/America? I’ll give you a freeze. You want building, Likud/rest of my coalition? I’ll give you that, too, so let me do both. I’ll build first, and then I’ll freeze later.

Genius! The move, however, was not Right enough to quell his Right flank, so he revised it by saying that he’d build first, and then “freeze” later, “freeze” now being newly defined as “slow down.” The Arabs certainly won’t like that one.

America, of course, is “upset.” And for the Arabs, of course, this is “unacceptable.” But what are either of them going to do? Meanwhile, Bibi’s government breathes another breath. The problem is, someone breathes too hard, and he falls off the tightrope.

The only people he really angered were the people he could really afford to anger, that is, the opposition. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni aid it best when she got to the core of what Bibi is trying to do, which is not make any concrete decision in any direction. “Israel’s leaders, the elected government, in my opinion, still hasn’t made a choice between two different outlooks. One, Jewish existence in every part of Israel, and two, the existence of a Jewish democratic state,” she said in a speech at an IDF pensioners’ event.

In a way, she’s right. However, the choice between a Greater Israel and Jewish democratic state may not be so clear cut. There must be a way to have your cake and eat it too…but it’ll take someone a lot more creative than Netanyahu to figure that one out.

Madonna In Tel Aviv Video

In case you missed it (I have no idea how…) Madonna was here and left last night. She was at the city of Safed yesterday (the Kabbalah capital) and met with Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni on seperate occasions. Her concerts were a great success and the second show with tickets available was immediately sold out after the first show.

Top Watch Category in Israeli Politics

This is the latest list showing who the top 6 are and what they’re wearing as advertised in Globes..

Top 6 Watches in Israeli politics

Madonna in Israel for Tel Aviv Concert

Madonna in IsraelJust when I thought I’ve seen it all, this happens. Madonna, on tour in the Holy Land for a Tel Aviv concert, went on a double date last night with Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni and her husband. But that’s not the funny part. The funny part is that Madonna, a student of pop Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, is in Israel with her boyfriend whose name just happens to be Jesus. Livni’s husband’s name is the relatively more Jewish sounding Naftali Shpitzer. I’m sure Jesus and Shpitzer hit up a storm. I’ll just leave it at that and call it a strange day.

It is actually reported – I mean people know about this, which is the surprising thing – that Madonna ordered fish and Jesus ordered meat. Witness described the couple as “happy.” That’s “good.”

Before her Tuesday night concert in Tel Aviv, Madonna headed to Jerusalem’s Old City and walked through the tunnel tour under the Wailing Wall. She was brought to the tunnel by police, not talking to any reporters, and then was escorted away half an hour later.

This is Madonna’s first concert in Israel since 1993, which she was young and blustery 35-year-old. She is now 51.
The pinnacle of her trip, besides the concert of course, is her high level meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where the two will probably discuss solutions to the Middle East conflict. Her ideas couldn’t be worse than anyone else’s I guess.

I’m just joking. They’ll probably talk about…I really don’t know. But I’m anxiously awaiting the report on whether Madonna orders the fish or the pasta. And what Netanyahu thinks of Jesus.

Benjamin Netanyahu to become Italy’s Finance Minister

This week at a legal society dinner Benjamin Netanyahu (AKA. Bibi) told the audience that he was offered the position of Finance Minister in Italy by a prominent Italian Businessman, but alas politely refused. Maariv followed up on the story and found out that it happened a little differently. Bibi and Israel’s ambassador to Italy were walking out of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and ran into an Italian businessman walking in. The man was introduced to Bibi by the ambassador and spoke to him for 3 minutes.

When asked about Bibi’s claim and job offer, he reportedly said that during that brief introduction he mentioned that Italy needs to get its financial affairs in order and that some of the steps taken in Israel should be adopted. Needless to say he was amazed by Bibi’s claim and explained that he was in no position to offer the job, even if he was so inclined.

We’ll miss you Bibi..

Newer posts

© 2014 OneJerusalem.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑