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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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Analysis: Cheap Politicking Instead of Solid Analysis

One doesn't have to be a left-winger to understand that the prime minister's finger-pointing show's he's got little idea who's responsible
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/FLASH90

When listening to politicians, it is always important to read between the lines. And Binyamin Netanyahu’s body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and especially the text of his statements since the kidnapping crisis began on Thursday night have made three things clear: He has no idea where the hostages are being held, if they are alive, or who is behind the incident.

Take, for instance, Netanyahu’s immediate assessment that the kidnapping was the “result” of the Palestinian Unity Government smacked of little more than cheap politicking. What, there were no terror attacks before the agreement? Hamas needed a life-saving deal with Abu Mazen (a deal which, I note, saw Hamas bow to most of Fatah’s demands, rather than the opposite. But I digress…) in order to try to kidnap Israelis? Don’t tell all that to a guy called Shalit.

Furthermore, even Netanyahu’s accusation Sunday that Hamas operatives kidnapped the boys sounded more like an automatic fallback assumption, rather than a hard appraisal of intelligence information. One need not place faith in left-wing activists like Gershon Baskin,the architect of the Schalit exchange – who wrote on his Facebook page that he “believes” Hamas officials who told him their organization had nothing to do with the attack – in order to question Hamas’ involvement here.

This is not because Hamas has suddenly become a Zionist organization, but rather because the group’s interest at present is to reap the benefits (mostly financial) of the unity deal with Fatah. The organization is reeling – Gaza is broke, international money is not coming in, opposition to Islamist rule in Gaza is growing. The deal with Fatah opened up new channels of funding -including from Israel and the United States – as well as an opportunity to keep the Rafah border crossing to Egypt open.

For those reasons, it is far from clear that Hamas was responsible here, at least on an organisational level. On this front, at least, it pays to take Baskin’s Facebook analysis seriously: There is no shortage of local cells associated with Salafi groups like Hizb al Tahrir,  feeling emboldened by last week’s successes in Iraq and itching to bring the worldwide jihad to the Levant in order to “liberate Palestine.” Same is true for locally0-based Islamic Jihad activists. Neither of these groups lacks “reasons” to attack Israeli civilians, and would appear at least as likely to have kidnapped the students as Hamas.

In order to understand Netanyahu’s shallow finger pointing, the prime minister appears to be guided by one, and only one, policy: Ensuring his own political survival. He proved this clearly when he agreed to release 1,027 killers in exchange for Gilad Shalit – a deal that violated Netanyahu’s own analysis of the war on terror. Netanyahu understood full well that the Shalit deal set the stage for this kidnapping episode, and he remained steadfast during that ordeal as long as he determined that his political survival allowed for that course.

But when those political winds (or, at least, his reading of the political winds) changed, he moved quickly to complete the deal.

This, then, is Netanyahu version 2014. While the arrests of Hamas leaders and members Saturday night and Sunday were certainly warranted and legitimate, the prime minister would do well to internalise that that organization is far from the only suspect in this attack. We can only hope that behind the bright lights of the political stage, that is a reality that the political and security echelons have started to internalise.

About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.


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8 Responses to “Analysis: Cheap Politicking Instead of Solid Analysis”

  1. Daniel Lang says:

    Instead of empty words and finger pointing, I would like to see Israel take action against the PA. Cut off electricity to Gaza, permanently. End the supply of fuel to Gaza, permanently. Workers want to work, work in Gaza or PA administered areas. As the saying goes, talk is cheap, actions are what count.

  2. Liz Wagner says:

    Disappointed that Netanyahu would declare Hamas responsible for kidnapping the three boys and, yet, not offer one shred of evidence to support his claim. This is foolish and unnecessary. Did he lose his yiddishe kup?

  3. Ben Plonie says:

    Directly or indirectly, the PM is correct. If the Palestinan Authority is recognized as an 'authority', then by defiition it is authorized, official and ultmately respnsible. And today that hold true for Hamas as well, being part of the PA.

    There is no middle ground. It is a fact that every so-called Palestinan entity has cmmitted, encouraged, supported, indoctrinated, motivated and financed these insults, assaults and attacks since the days of Turkish rule, and vastly more since Madrid, Camp David and Oslo. But even if they really did know nothing about it because it was 'a Salafi group like Hizb al Tahrir' operatng on their watch, what difference does it make, to coin a phrase? There is a whole zoo of these bestial entities and the PA/Hamas have no right to hide behind them.

    So it is quite proper to assign the blame to he PA/Hamas. The fault lies in not connecting the final dots to make clear that there is no responsible Palestinian, Arab or Islamic entity there is no use pretending for poltical or diplomatic reasons that there is. That is where the dissonance comes in. Smart people doing and saing stupid thngs.

    Real moral claity and sanity would dictate being totally uncompromising on Eretz Yisrael. Hamas says they refuse to concede 'one grain of sand or one centimeter'. Why can't we do that, instead of ponting out that we are reasonable and willing to share etc.?

    Real moral clarity demands un-recognizing the PA, nullifying Oslo, annexing YESHA, fully asserting sovereignty on the Har HaBayis, banning non-Jews from Har Hazeisim and all other purely Jewish institutions, and really having the secular atheistic Israelis treating Haredim in the same hands-off manner that they treat Moslems, who have cultural and educational autonomy.

  4. Ben Plonie says:

    You sound really qualified to judge yiddishe kups. My yiddishe kup tells me that he is well aware of the political and diplomatic consequences of making totally unsupported accusations.. As a veteran of the deepest covert ops unit in Israel, Netanyahu has personal hands-on knowledge of these operations as well the real-time data. I don't expect him to announce all he knows, just like I expect you to announce more than you know.

  5. I'd love to know how the author of this article has access to intelligence showing that Hamas is not responsible for these kidnappings. I'd also love to know why the author thinks it shallow for Israel's head of state to assign responsibility for the government — or at least the entity that pretends to be the government — the people who did this. And while he's at it, I'd love to know how it helps the Jewish people to accuse the state of Israel and its head of state of cheap political tricks. The trick right now is to find these boys while they're still alive. Let's save the sinat chinam for later, ok?

  6. Wonder if this is what we will experience now that Obama did the same thing?

  7. Wonder if this is what we will experience now that Obama did the same thing?

  8. Caryn Walkenfeld Lipson says:

    maybe the shred of evidence he hasn't offered yet is because this is not something to be publicized at this time.

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