A 90 year old Socialist Shimon Peres returns a favor to Obama, Netanyahu makes a strategic move in response
Posted on | February 19, 2013 | 5 Comments
Obama regime has trumpeted today ”Israel gives an award to Obama, Israel pro-Obama”
Well, not really, not so fast. What was not explained by the Obama regime, is the following:
the state of Israel, as many western states has two positions:
a. Prime minister. In case of Israel it is Netanyahu who actually leads the government and makes the policy
b. a ceremonial position of the President. The president is not a part of the government, he has no impact on policies. In a number of nations a constitutional monarch plays such a role of a ceremonial head of state. In Israel the ceremonial head of state is a 90 year old Shimon Peres. Peres is hardly seen or heard from in Israel. He is a former leader of the left wing Labor party. In the latest elections Labor party did poorly, it wasn’t even second in the number of mandates. Last year Peres visited the states and Obama shmoosed the decrepit old socialist with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, even though nobody understood why. But then again Obama was nominated to a Nobel peace prise after only 12 days in office watching football and holding parties, so why not give a Presidential medal of Freedom to an old socialist and get come mileage out of it.
So, as Obama announced his upcoming visit to Israel, Peres announced that he is reciprocating the favor and giving a medal to Obama. So this exchange of feathers in the hat between two socialists: Obama and Peres, really does not reflect anything in regards to real allocation of forces on the ground. This in itself was not worthy of much attention and probably has as much meaning as Prince Charles giving some award to a starlet. What was interesting, is they way Netanyahu used this opportunity.
Netanyahu made a public comment welcoming Obama on his upcoming trip to Israel and stated that indeed there is a need for negotiations with Palestinians without preconditions. By saying that he set Obama up. You might ask why so?
To better explain this I should explain the domestic political environment in Israel. Netanyahu just won the reelection, however Israel is a multiparty state, where 120 seat parliament, Knesset, is comprised of multiple parties. Latest election gave an unexpected large number of mandates to a relative newcomer Yair Lapid. Lapid became the leader of the second largest party in Israel. He is a former talk show host and a son of a former member of the parliament Tommy Lapid. Netanyahu might need to build a coalition with Lapid. (a side note. when I was in Israel, I gave interviews ro a number of TV channels and while in one of the studios I was introduced to someone who stood in the doorway watching me giving an interview. I was told that this is another talk show host, I could swear it was Lapid, but I might be mistaken). At any rate Lapid is a moderate, however he has no experience in either foreign politics or defense. He ran mostly on domestic issues. One of those issues is a requirement for ultra-orthodox to serve in the military. Netanyahu is an economist, he would like to work with Lapid to strengthen the economy, but he does not want to give concessions to the Palestinians which would endanger the national security. I believe Netanyahu would also like to give one of the key positions related to security to Yair Shamir, the son of Prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir is a former air-force officer and had a distinguished career in the Defense industry, both as a governmental official and a sucessful private businessman.
Until now Obama demanded a halt on construction in the Judea and Samaria (West Bank ) as a prerequisite to peace negotiations with Palestinians. To Israelis these demands by Obama make as much sense as a hypothetical demand by Mexico stop all construction in California and Texas as a prerequisite to peace with Mexico because Ca and TX used to be a part of Mexico. This is probably the reason why according to latest surveys Obama’s popularity in Israel is 6%.
Now there are two possibilities: If Obama responds to the latest statement by Netamyahu by being silent and not demanding that Netanyahu stop construction in the Judea and Samaria region, then Netanyahu won, he got Obama of his back and can build a coalition and deal with domestic programs.
If Obama responds by contradicting Netanyahu and demanding that Israel stop construction in the Judea and Samaria, then Netanyahu can go to the people of Israel and state: we opened our arms, we gave this president an award, but his demands are unreasonable, these are demands that Obama would never place in front of his own people and we have to do whatever we need to assure our national security. As such Netanyahu would be well positioned to move on with the coalition of his choice.
Another interesting tidbit of information: as Obama and Clinton are traveling to Israel in the end of March, Rubio announced his planned trip to Israel as well. Both parties need Jewish donors for 2014 midterm election.
We’ll see what the next move will be…