Friday, May 20, 2011

The Failure of Netanyahu

A good analysis from TPM:
For years the top generals in the IDF have agreed that Israel can handle withdrawing to the 1967 borders in military terms. But PM Netanyahu says that's impossible because those borders are not defensible. It's an amazing level of denial, intransigence and self-destructiveness on display today -- something the pre-statehood and early statehood Zionist leadership was seldom so vulnerable to.

I agree with Gadi Taub who said recently that while peace is the ideal the highest priority for both peoples right now is partition. Netanyahu's position makes that impossible. The 1967 lines are the only practical and politically conceivable basis for such a division -- with mutually agreed upon swaps of territory along those lines. Netanyahu's plan is simply to withdraw from areas of dense population within the West Bank. In fact, I think that overstates the case. I don't think Netanyahu has a plan beyond holding his coalition together and himself in the prime ministership. The rejectionists' 'plan' is simply to hold on for as long as possible and play for time.

The man is a fool at so many levels. But there's no denying that he speaks for a very large chunk of the Israeli electorate.

Bibi called the 1967 borders indefensible. Of course, Israel successfully defended those borders in 1967, and again in 1973. Meanwhile Israel has seen a foe become a friend (Jordan), its arch-foe become a non-factor (Egypt), another arch foe (Saddam's Iraq) irrevocably weakened, and an Arab world in general more concerned about a threat from Iran than from Israel. In other words, Israel's geopolitical position is far stronger now than it was forty years ago, when it was able to decisively defend the 1967 borders on two separate occasions.

When one stops to think about the threats Israel faces, it becomes even more ridiculous. There is no conventional threat to Israel. Iran has rockets, not a ground army with thousands of tanks like Egypt had in the 60's. The greatest threat to Israel is terrorism from WMDs or delegitimization. Occupying the West Bank makes Israel more vulnerable to those dangers, not less.

I used to hold Binyamin Netanyahu in such high regard, but he has proved himself to be incredibly short sighted. I wrote another post about his missed opportunities just a few months ago. Very disappointing.

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