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Aluf Benn, of the generally leftist Haaretz, is just about the smartest, most interesting journalist in Israel. So when he writes something-especially in contrast to his previous articles over the years-it’s worth paying attention.
Here’s what he says in the newspaper, May 13, 2009 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“Enjoys unprecedented public and international legitimacy. His critics and rivals accept his leadership and do not see him as the leader of only half the nation, as they did during his former round at the top….Since he took office Netanyahu has been the prime minister of everyone…. Throughout his political career, Netanyahu has never had such support.”
It’s time for the Western media and the world in general to understand this reality. Netanyahu has moved toward the center and Israelis have become fed up with advice that their policy should be one of making concessions and getting nothing in return.
Moreover, this government is a coalition of the main parties of the center-left and center-right.
Who brought about this change? The Palestinian leadership rejected peace in 2000 and doing nothing to moderate their own people and prepare them for a two-state solution. The Syrian regime rejected peace, instead fomenting terrorism and extremism in partnership with Iran. Hamas, which is against any real peace and wants to wipe Israel off the map, took over the Gaza Strip, using Israeli withdrawals all the better to attack Israel with. Hizballah, which is against any real peace and wants to wipe Israel off the map, practically runs Lebanon, having used Israeli withdrawals all the better to attack Israel with. Iran grows in power and seeks nuclear weapons. Western governments which promised to support Israel if the risks it took in the 1990s’ peace process broke their promise. Today, many of them want to bargain with the aforementioned extremists who make no secret-if one at all looks beneath the surface-of their genocidal intentions. Far from recognizing Israel’s sacrifices risks and concessions, a lot of Western public opinion became more hostile.
Reread the preceding paragraph and see if these points have been made in your university courses on the Middle East, media news stories and op-eds, and the statements of government officials and politicians.
The mantra “two-state solution” neither changes nor affects any of the factors in that paragraph. All those forces are against a real two-state solution and the Palestinian Authority’s position-demanding Israel admit several million hostile Palestinians and rejecting an end to the conflict-or its behaviour-continued incitement to terrorism, no indoctrination of its people for a compromise peace, the domination of the Fatah leadership by radicals-does not support it either.
So let’s have a more realistic assessment of the regional situation, the non-existent chances at present for a negotiated solution of the Israel-Palestinian or Israel-Syrian conflicts, and of Israel’s stances responding to those realities.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to http://www.gloria-center.org. His blog, Rubin Reports is at http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/.