Friday, March 20, 2015

Bibi Wins big -- big Butt-hurtz

Bibi Netanyahu's not having a good time after his Likud party victory in Israel.

Bibi got that win by peeling off other extreme conservatives from minor parties, by claiming he would oppose and obstruct a two state solution, ie a separate Palestinian state.  He and his party also ginned up a lot of fear through robocalls  that "Arab Israelis were being bussed to the polls in droves".  His foreign minister has made claims that Israeli Jews should engage in genocide, beheading Arab Israelis with axes as we noted last week.  That party is again at the core of any coalition government Netanyahu could assemble.
Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beitenu party that is based on Russian immigrants, has a long record of inflammatory statements toward Arab Israelis, including a recent comment that suggested Israeli Arabs with sympathies toward Palestinian Authority be beheaded. “Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an ax,” he said last week.
All of that did not sit well with President Obama, given that the U.S. has been acting in the U.N. on the premise that Israel was acting in good faith when Netanyahu claimed he supported a two state solution. There has been criticism for years that ol' Bibi was never honestly in support of that solution, as shown by his actions in moving more Jewish settlers into the west bank, as well as the racist legislation supported by conservatives in the Knesset that would further limit the civil rights of Palestinian Israelis.

If Bibi thought his winning the election would somehow force Obama to capitulate in some way after the disastrous Netanyahu speech to Congress, he was wrong. The executive branch is still responsible for directing our foreign policy, and Obama has stated he will no longer provide cover for ol' Bibi's dishonest lip service about a separate Palestine state solution.

Bibi's response was to try to claim there was no contradiction in his statements, but clearly, both his statements, his government's actions, and his choice of allies in that coalition government show otherwise. And now Bibi has to contend with the reaction at home to his flip flopping, which could alienate those very right wingers he cultivated to win the election. That could make it difficult if not impossible to form a government, which could give the office of Prime Minister then to Herzog.

And this is getting a lot of attention in Israeli media.
From the Times of Israel:
The statements angered the Obama administration and the president told Netanyahu during their call that the US was reassessing its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace, a White House official said. The White House had swiftly dismissed Netanyahu’s new, more moderate comments to US media.

The White House official said Obama also raised Netanyahu’s critical comments about Israeli Arabs voting in disproportionately high numbers on election day, which the administration has denounced as a “cynical” effort to mobilize voters.

Asked whether the subject came up in the phone call, the official said, “In his phone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the president made the same points in private that the administration has been making in public.”

Just because Likud won more seats, doesn't mean Herzog and his opposition coalition don't have even more power and influence than they did in the past. Herzog is angry. As noted by the Jerusalem Post:
Herzog: 'I don't want to clean up after Netanyahu'
In first interview after election, Zionist Union leader accuses Netanyahu of winning with lies, statements against Israeli Arabs.

The current opposition leader stated that Israel will face the same challenge and the same problems with the incoming government as it did with the previous one.

"I'm don't want to clean up after him [Netanyahu]," Herzog told the radio station. "If the people want a far-right government for a limited time then we will challenge it. "

That's just part of the opposition facing Bibi from within Israel.  There are also complaints being filed about intimidation of Palestinian Israeli voters.

J-post also reports additional pressures than those from the Obama White House from OUTSIDE ISrael.
'EU report urges sanctions against Israel over Jerusalem policies'
The report, which was leaked to the British newspaper 'Guardian,' comes just days after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handily won re-election.

The European Union has produced an explosive new report recommending sanctions against Israel over its construction policies and security measures in Jerusalem, the British daily Guardian reported on its website on Friday.

The leaked report, which comes just days after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handily won re-election, describes Israel's capital as a city gripped by the worst "polarization and violence" since the Second Intifada of a decade ago.

The document, which is an amalgamation of recommendations prepared by European diplomats stationed in the region, accuses the Israeli government of exacerbating tensions in the city by accelerating construction in the contest eastern part of the capital.

According to the Guardian, the city has been beset by a “vicious cycle of violence … increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution." The report goes on to say that Israel's “systematic” construction of housing in “sensitive areas” has compounded the problem.

The EU report also takes Israel to task for what it describes as "heavy-handed policing and punitive measures" against Palestinians in the city, "including eviction and home demolitions by Israeli forces."

More significantly, the document prescribes a series of measures aimed at curbing the distribution and sale of products manufactured beyond the 1967 Green Line.

The report urges restrictions against "known violent settlers and those calling for acts of violence as regards immigration regulations in EU member states."

European government are also encouraged to label settler products while also warning EU businesses of the perils of engaging in trade with Israeli firms stationed in the territories.

Bibi's won a pyrrhic victory, and a lot of butt hurtz.

1 comment:

  1. Just passing this along ...Bibi finally forms government !

    Netanyahu agreed to appoint Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett as education minister, Ayelet Shaked as justice minister and Uri Ariel to a third ministry position. Negotiations went down to the wire after Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party refused to join Netanyahu’s coalition, leaving Jewish Home, a religious pro-settler party, with the leverage to make or break a coalition. Netanyahu was forced to concede positions to Jewish Home that he wanted to fill from within his own Likud party.

    Oh, and on the "Who's Israel best friend" question, John Kline and the House Armed Services Committee approves FY16NDAA funding bill includes $474 million for Israel’s anti-missile systems.

    And in entertainment news, popular Israeli singer Amir Benayoun released a song that wishes for the death of President Obama