No need to compromise

This is from the Times of Israel:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should form the widest coalition possible, Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi said Saturday, stressing that potential coalition partners such as Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett would have to “compromise.”

Speaking to Israel Radio, Hanegbi said Lapid and Bennett, who lack political experience, had yet to “experience the necessity of making compromises.”

He added that the members of the new coalition would have to understand that not all their demands would be met.

Hanegbi also commented on US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel, saying Netanyahu and Obama would have to coordinate their positions and cooperate closely on the Iranian and Syrian issues.

He opined that at his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama would convey Washington’s opposition to unilateral moves such as Abbas’s bid for UN recognition of the Palestinian state. The US supports direct talks, said Hanegbi.

Hanegbi is wrong. Neither Lapid nor Bennett need to compromise. Hanegbi is assuming that both want to be in the government. However, it seems to me that both received the support of the voters for specific policy positions. If they compromise, such compromise might be seen as disloyalty to their voters. However, if they stick to their principals, and do not compromise, what is the worst that can happen? They will not be in the government, but in the opposition. And what kind of coalition will there be without both of these parties? Answer: not one that will last. What kind of coalition will there be with just one of these two parties? Answer: one that might last, but it will be touch and go.

This is not me suggesting there will never be compromises, but I suspect Hamegbi is misjudging the position. He sees the newcomers inexperience as a disadvantage. I see it as a fresh, open approach.

Some possibilities to consider:

  • When people mentioned a Bennett-Lapid deal (which has been denied), perhaps these reports were based on a misniterpretation of both simpky stating they were going to stand by their political platform.
  • Netanytahu could have both Bennett and Lapid’s support for a holistic peace talks approach which says: (a) Let’s talk, and you – dear Palestinians – convince us Israelis that you mean to live in peace; (b) Let’s set a limit of one year; (b) In a year’s time, if there is no deal, we will implement the Bennett annexation plan.
  • Lapid certainly believes he is a threat to Netanyahu as a future Prime Minister. The old school in Israeli politics believe that Lapid’s power will vanish if he is not in the government. I disagree. Bibi’s only way of outdoing Lapid is delivering on Lapid’s policies! Mr Netanyahu is in a tight spot.
  • Ironically, the one person who could get Bibi out of the spot, is Obama. If there were semi decent relations between the two, Bibi could take a gamble on imposing a settlement freeze for a limited time, and setting the clock ticking against the Palestinian refusal to negotiate. With USA backing – in advance – and proper preparation, Bibi could turn the situation around. Regardless of the reality, israel is seen as the obstacle to peace. We are not, and Bibi has to fix that perception, good and proper. Obama is his best bet. Time to eat humble pie, Bibi.