Tag Archives: Netanyahu

The message from Netanyahu is clear – he prefers major war

2 Apr

imagesProf Immanuel Wallerstein, an American sociologist, historical social scientist, commentator and world-systems analysist, is considered a worldwide expert on American imperialism and the global dominance of capitalism and its impact on the Third World. 

Netanyahu: The message is clear

By Immanuel Wallerstein, Commentary No. 398, 1 April, 2015

Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu won an impressive electoral victory in Israel on March 17. He did it by making two last-minute public statements. One was that there would be no Palestinian state while he is President. He thus formally reneged on his commitment to a two-state outcome to the negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestine Authority. The second statement was to “alert” voters to a significant Arab turnout in the elections. This of course was pure demagoguery, but it worked.

He has not only remained the most successful Israeli politician in the last few decades. But he did it all by careful calculation. The story started several weeks ago when Israeli polls showed a significant rise in the prospective vote for the so-called Zionist Union, led by the leader of Israel’s center-left Labor Party, Isaac Herzog. This group carefully avoided saying much about the Palestinians except that they would renew negotiations. Rather, they built their campaign on purely internal economic issues, promising more welfare state benefits.

First, Netanyahu responded to (possibly instigated) an invitation from U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner to address a Joint Session of Congress. This was a largely unprecedented intrusion of a foreign head of state in U.S. policy-making. President Obama was very upset and refused to meet Netanyahu during his brief visit to the United States.

Netanyahu spoke to an enthusiastic audience of Republicans along with a partial boycott of attendance by Democrats. The object for Netanyahu was to mobilize Jewish Israelis not to vote for other rightwing candidates in the first round of voting but to cast a “useful vote” for Netanyahu. In this he succeeded remarkably strongly.

In the process of course he deeply antagonized Obama, who said the United States would now have to re-evaluate its relations with Israel. Netanyahu then back-tracked slightly on his statement about further negotiations with the Palestinians, and apologized for his fear-mongering about Arab turnout for the elections. Obama was not appeased, saying the he took Netanyahu at his word about a two-state outcome.

So, what, everyone is asking, will happen now? Just before the elections, a group of distinguished Israeli security figures issued a statement, saying in effect that Netanyahu’s approach was alienating the United States and that this was desperately bad for Israel’s future as a Jewish state. Were they right? The answer is yes and no.

Basic dilemma

Let’s start with the basic dilemma of the majority of Jewish Israelis. They want neither a two-state nor a one-state outcome. They know that a two-state solution requires a major retreat on post-1973 Jewish settlements as well as a possibility for at least some Palestinians to return from exile. They find this unacceptable. And, given the demographic evolution, they fear that a two-state solution is simply a one-state solution that is delayed. As for the one-state solution, it means renouncing the basic Zionist idea of a Jewish state.

Faced with this dilemma, they like Netanyahu’s strategy: delay, delay, delay! And, if anyone tries to force the pace, be ready to fight militarily against whatever opponent poses itself as an immediate threat.

There is however one basic difficulty with this strategy: It is straining the world’s patience, and most critically the patience of those who have been more or less faithful supporters of the Israeli government’s positions – the major European states, the Palestinian Authority, so-called moderate Arab opinion, and yes, even the United States.

There has been a worldwide transformation of the perception of Israel as a “victim” to that of Israel as a “persecutor.” This is a nightmare for the Zionist cause in Israel. It can only get worse for Israel. There may even come a point, perhaps still a few years from now, that the United States will no longer be willing to veto resolutions in the U.N. Security Council that are critical of Israel.

Two things can happen then. The world can see a dramatic reconsideration of received verities on all sides, as seemed to have happened in South Africa. This reversal permitted a major political change combined with very little economic change. It however involved no bloodshed. Or, alternatively, this won’t happen. And there will be a major war, in which the Jewish Israelis will use all their military strength to defeat anything resembling another intifada.

The message from Netanyahu is clear. He prefers the major war, and so do the voters who elected him.





After Netanyahu’s election win – how will world respond?

20 Mar


Democrary Now! discusses the aftermath of the Israeli elections with Amira Hass, journalist with Ha’aretz newspaper. 18 March 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a surprise election victory, putting him on course for a fourth term in office. Netanyahu’s Likud Party is poised to control 29 or 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset. The Zionist Union opposition placed second with 24 seats. A united list of Arab parties came in third with 13 seats.

Netanyahu closed out his campaign with a vow to oppose a Palestinian state, reneging on his nominal endorsement of a two-state solution in 2009. Netanyahu also vowed to expand the illegal West Bank settlements and issued a last-minute plea to supporters denouncing a high turnout of Arab voters.

The Zionist Union, Netanyahu’s chief rival, also ran on a platform for Israel to keep the major Israeli settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank, the home of any future Palestinian state. Likud says Netanyahu intends to form a new government in the coming weeks. Talks are already underway with a number of right-wing parties.

To discuss the election, [Democrary Now! was] joined by two guests: Jamal Zahalka, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset and chair of Balad party, which is part of the Joint List of Arab parties; and Amira Hass, correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The above video is an excerpt of the full discussion with Jamal Zahalka and Amira Hass. Watch the full segment on Democracy Now! here: http://www.democracynow.org/2015/3/18…

NOTE: AMIRA HASS is coming to NZ on a speaking tour in May!! 

SAVE THE DATE – Auckland May 6th and Dunedin late April (date tbc)

Netanyahu victory: clear break with US-led peace process

19 Mar

Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinians see ‘long and difficult road of struggle’ against Israel as Netanyahu wins fourth term after rejection of two-state solution. Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas (above), and his close advisers may now decide to end security cooperation with Israel. Photograph: Issam Rimawi/AP


By Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem and Sufian Taha in Ramallah, The Guardian, 18 March 2015

In his sports shop in the Palestinian village of Hizme, Mohammad al-Kiswani, aged 52, reflected bleakly on the re-election of Binyamin Netanyahu.

“When Netanyahu won,” he said, “he dried the last drop of water that could quench our thirst for a state. This time he will be more radical. He promised the Israeli public he will not negotiate a two-state solution or negotiate over Jerusalem. He has taken off his mask and it has shown an ugly face.”

Mohammad al-Mahdi, the 35-year-old owner of a publishing press, was no less concerned. “I think things will get worse. The future will be black.

“But you can’t blame the Israelis because they were so clear in this election campaign. I don’t think there will be peace. I don’t think there will be a two-state solution. There will only be a country full of hate and racism and that is so sad because the Israeli public are turning towards the far right.”

If there is a paradox, it is that for Palestinians Binyamin Netanyahu’s decisive win in Tuesday’s Israeli elections has simplified issues for many – including the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his closest advisers – in their campaign to internationalise support for a Palestinian state.

Ahead of Tuesday’s election, some Palestinian officials close to Abbas had intimated that a Netanyahu victory – not least in terms of his outright rejection of a two-state solution and his vow to continue settlement construction – would mark a clear break in a US-led peace process that has been on ice since it collapsed almost a year ago.

Indeed a common sentiment among Palestinians in recent days is that the election campaign forced Netanyahu to reveal his opposition to a two-state solution.

“The Israeli elections forced Netanyahu to reveal his real position,” said prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, reflecting the views of many.

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Ali Abunimah: Palestinians Better Off with Netanyahu

19 Mar


The Real News interview by Paul Jay, senior editor TRNN, 18 March 2015

 “Netanyahu invoked racist calls about Arabs flowing to the polls to get out his vote; his win will make it easier to isolate Israel because Netanyahu is the face of Israel as it really is.”

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. His latest book is titled The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Based in Chicago, he has written hundreds of articles on the question of Palestine in major publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and for Al Jazeera.


Paul Jay: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

As we tape this interview, the Israeli elections, according to most sources, are too close to call. But Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, says he’s won, that he’s the one in the best position to make a coalition with all the various other parties. And, I think, according to most parliamentary tradition, he’s the most likely one for the president of Israel to ask to form the government first. But the president of Israel has so far said that he wants a national coalition, a national unity government. So we’ll see if any of that transpires.

Now joining us to make some sense of all of this is Ali Abunimah. Ali is cofounder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

Thanks for joining us, Ali.

Ali Abunimah: Thank you, Paul.

Jay: So if you go with what’s–well, let’s see if you agree with me. The most likely scenario here is Netanyahu gets asked to form a government and he puts together a coalition. What do you make of it?

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Netanyahu says he will not send delegation to Cairo talks

2 Sep

292192_345x230Residents walk through the rubble of their destroyed home as a
Palestinian flag flutters in the wind, in the devastated
neighborhood of Shujaiyya in Gaza City on Aug. 7, 2014
(AFP/Roberto Schmidt)

Ma’an News Agency report, Jerusalem, 1 Sept 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not plan to send a delegation for negotiations in Cairo as stipulated by the ceasefire agreement that ended seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, Israeli media reported Monday.

Channel 10 said in a TV report that Netanyahu told his cabinet in a closed session that he would not send as agreed a delegation to Egypt for further talks regarding a seaport and airport in Gaza, the release of Palestinian prisoners, the demilitarization of Gaza factions, and the delivery of bodies of Israeli soldiers presumed held by Hamas, among other unresolved issues.

Netanyahu spoke proudly to his cabinet about the Gaza offensive, saying Hamas had not achieved any of its demands, according to the report.

Qais Abd al-Karim, member of the Palestinian negotiation team to be sent to Cairo, told Ma’an that any Israeli step that shows a lack of commitment to the ceasefire’s terms would render the ceasefire null and void.

Abd al-Karim said the Palestinian delegation is awaiting the Egyptian invitation for negotiations and that it is committed to the terms of the ceasefire agreement.

Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip ended over seven weeks of fighting last Tuesday with a long-term ceasefire agreement in which Israel agreed to ease its siege on the coastal enclave and expand the fishing zone off its coast. Further negotiations regarding many other key unresolved issues were to take place in Egypt a month later.

The Israeli assault on Gaza left over 2,100 Palestinians dead and some 11,000 injured, the vast majority of them civilians. Some 71 Israelis also died in the fighting, 66 of them soldiers.

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