Bibi, Bennett, Liberman, and Gaza

The West’s warmonger is not waging war. What fools they are. Source: WikiMedia

Be warned: I have no answers. I do have questions, and I do have thoughts. Consider this a stream of consciousness post, with a dash of analysis.

First off, the mission in Gaza that went wrong. Was it a mission of the highest priority that absolutely had to be carried out, regardless of the risk to the potential truce? Or was it less than that, but the army went for it, anyway? My gut tells me it’s the latter, but Bibi and co say it’s the former. I am skeptical. However, there might be a third possibility. It has been suggested to me that Israel regularly penetrates into Gaza, entirely unknown to Hamas. So successful have these penetrations been that they are not seen as risky, but routine. Then Murphy’s Law (or Moshe’s Law?) struck this one time, and all hell broke loose. For sure, I don’t think anyone in the IDF wanted to put a potential truce at risk, but they did. Continue reading

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200 Years of Misery?

Naftali Bennett (Source: Wikimedia)

If there’s one Israeli who comes close to being ritually demonized as often and as automatically as Bibi Netanyahu, it’s probably Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party and Minister of Education. One reason: the two state solution. While Bibi is superficially at least in favor, Naftali Bennett is opposed. That makes him close to public enemy number one. (Or, more accurately, salon anti-Zionists’ enemy number one of a million.) He doesn’t get a fair reflection of his views in the western media, and certainly precious little opportunity to be debated on the details of his proposals. So, I was pleased to see a decent interview of Mr B by Calev Ben-Dor on the Fathom site, which you can read here.

Here’s a summary of his overview:

“Essentially forming a Palestinian state along the lines that many of the readership of Fathom believe is the way forward would guarantee 200 years of misery for the two peoples.”

To be clear, I do not agree with Naftali Bennett’s proposals, though I do sympathize with some of his assessments. For example, as matters stand, were a two state solution implemented tomorrow, 200 years of misery might be an understatement! However, for me it is important to shed light on the topic and discuss the issues, regardless of my personal differences of opinion with him. For sure, his heart is in the right place, but that may not be enough.

My suggestion: read and decide for yourself. Use your powers of critical thinking and your intellectual muscle. Enjoy the exercise. Maybe you will see things from a new perspective. Maybe you will think he’s right…

If you are too lazy to read the interview, maybe this closing snippet will entice you:

“I am very optimistic. When you look at the world through Oslo and cocktail parties the world looks dire. But I spend a lot of time on ground, my family lives here and I see the quality of life for Israeli Arabs when I visit their schools, and for Palestinians, and the actual picture is a very good picture. It could be much better if we focus on making lives better from the bottom-up.”

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A cunning plan?

I’m not going to vote for Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home party, but I do admire the way he has kicked up a merry old fuss among the old political establishment here. One way he is driving a wedge into supporters of the traditional parties, is that he has actually put together a plan for the future of Israel and its security. I’m not sure if you would call it a peace plan. Judge for yourselves with this English language version:

From one perspective, it’s bold. From another, it’s rash. Given the condemnation Israel received for building a few houses, there is likely to be a firestorm if this becomes official policy. But, what if the Palestinians offered citizenship took it up? We know, behind the headlines, Palestinians want nothing to do with failed Arab states, and have close to no confidence in the state building skills of their own leadership. Interesting.

The other major disadvantages are security related. It would create, effectively, a new border needing very tight security to avoid terrorist infiltration. And what does Israel do if there are rockets smuggled into the Palestinian parts, and launched? That’s a real challenge.

It’s unlikely – but not impossible – Jewish Home will be in a position to turn this into policy. But in the absence of a competing plan – as opposed to the “let’s do nothing” camp – Bennett is entitled to argue this is the only way for Israel to take charge of its own destiny.

[A tip of the hat and a special, belated, ‘thank you’ to Leah for this.]

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A long time in politics

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Naftali Bennett, whom I mentioned (here) as a possible threat to the governing parties, has well and truly put his foot in it.

From the Times of Israel:

Naftali Bennett, the charismatic up-and-coming leader of the hardline Jewish Home party, has come under fire for a statement he made during an interview Thursday night to the effect that, if commanded to participate in the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, he would opt for the path of conscientious objection.

“If I am ever given an order to evacuate a Jew from his home… personally, my conscience won’t allow me to do it; I’ll ask my commander to grant me an exemption, [but] I won’t call for [mass] insubordination,” Bennett said during a heated conversation with Channel 2 interviewer Nissim Mishal (a full video of the Hebrew interview can be found here).

And more, also from the Times of Israel:

A growing chorus of politicians from both sides of the aisle on Saturday criticized remarks by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett on Thursday that seemingly advocated insubordination among IDF soldiers who oppose the evacuation of settlements.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Saturday echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s critical comments Friday, by saying public figures are forbidden from talking about refusing orders, even if they don’t match one’s outlook.

Speaking at a public function in Holon, Sa’ar said that the IDF’s existence is founded on obeying orders handed down by the government.

“I personally opposed the disengagement plan [from the Gaza Strip in 2005], and I even voted against it in the Knesset, but I called for honoring the democratic decision of the majority,” he said.

I believe Sa’ar and Netanyahu’s criticism is deserved, but slightly hypocrital. Why? Because there are people on the Likud list who hold the exact same views as Bennett – they just have not aired them to the public. What Netanyahu and Likud are doing, here, is fishing for the votes of the more centrally inclined floating voters. Ironically, it might just leak some of their own right of center support to Bennet and co.

I see Bennett’s position as being dangerous for a democracy; if you are in the army, you carry out every order, unless it is an illegal order. Like it or not, if the government order evacuation of Jews – or anyone else – by the army, it’s the army’s duty to carry out the orders. No ifs. No buts. No conscientious objection. I won’t be voting for his party.

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