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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Likud’

Danon Wins Internal Likud Election, Next Victory on the Way

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

On Tuesday, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon overwhelmingly won the elections for chairman of the Likud party convention. The position is mostly symbolic, but indicates strong support within the party.

Prime Minister originally planned to directly challenge Danon for the position, but withdrew his candidacy when he saw that Danon was likely to win.

On Sunday, elections will be held for the head of the Likud Central Committee, where Danon is also the leading candidate. His opponents are Michael Fuah, a Moshe Feiglin ally, and Ness Ziona mayor Yossi Shavo.

Danon has been an outspoken advocate for Judea and Samaria, and opposing the two-state solution. Whereas Prime Minister Netanyahu has been calling for negotiations with the Palestinians and a demilitarized Palestinian state.

Danon says he wants to reanimate, revitalize and restore the Likud’s ideology to the party.

Simultaneously, he reassured Prime Minister Netanyahu that he doesn’t plan to undermine Netanyahu, as that the Likud is loyal to its leaders. Danon said the Left have had a dozen different leaders since 1948, while the Likud has only had four.

But, as chair of the Likud Central Committee, Danon will have the power to fight and perhaps block Netanyahu’s diplomatic initiatives which he and most Likud party members disagree with.

State Dept. Shows Faint Signs of Dumping ‘Peace Process’

Monday, June 10th, 2013

U.S. State Dept. comments on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s scheduled return to Israel this year offer faint indications that the Obama administration, may finally be getting ready to tell the Palestinian Authority and Israel, “Go fight it out among yourselves and leave us alone.”

No one is quite certain why Kerry is coming, unless he has some super-duper trick up his sleeve. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has dug his heels deep in the Saudi 2002 Initiative that has been developed into the basis of PA demands that there is nothing to be negotiated.

On the Israel side, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, one of the most senior and nationalist Likud Knesset Members, took it upon himself to say that the government is against a two-state solution.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was so upset that he called on the Sabbath to the Times of Israel website, which had quoted Danon, to voice his distance from Danon’s remarks.

The facts on the ground tell the story. On the one hand, Palestinian Authority Arabs, heavily backed by European Union and international leftist funding, have settled on thousands of acres in Judea and Samaria to stake claims and isolate Jewish communities.

On the other hand, In  the first three months of this  year, there were 865 housing starts in Judea and Samaria, compared with 313 in the same period in 2012, mirroring the nationalist influence of the Jewish Home party and its “partner through silence,” Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party.

Significantly, the figures do not include areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority and where the Netanyahu government has reportedly carried out a de facto building freeze since the beginning of the year.

Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday following Danon’s comments, “I believe that a government that continues to tender settlements and rejects the two-state solution will not go for peace.”

So why does the Obama administration really think anyone is listening?

It does have an audience, limited but elite.

Only someone with the Ivory Tower view of President Shimon Peres, and there are still a few thousand like him, could actually believe that Abbas is sincere in wanting a peace agreement with Israel, even if all of his demands are met, while refusing to declare that Israel is a “Jewish state.” And only the same view could actually believe that peace can be achieved even Israel were to satisfy all of Abbas’ demands.

“It’s clear not only to us Palestinians but also to the American administration and John Kerry that the current Israeli government is not interested in the peace process,” Nimr Hamad, an adviser to Abbas, told the Associated Press. “The Palestinian position is clear. Israel has to be forced to stop the settlement activity.”

Abbas has long passed the point of no return, and Netanyahu, honest or not, can comfortably go through the motions of wanting to negotiate because he knows Abbas will refuse.

Is Kerry finally getting the message?

In Washington, the growing doubts among reporters of what has become a “peace process charade” have started to creep into the State Dept. comments.

In Friday’s daily news briefing, State Dept, spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized what previously has been stated as  a secondary clause:

“Let me just reiterate the larger point here, which is that this is between – this is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to make the decision to move back to the negotiating table… But it is ultimately up to both sides, regardless of who else is involved on the outside.”

She could not even answer reporter’s questions concerning what meetings Kerry will conduct.

Kerry and President Barack Obama have said before that in the end, the Palestinian Authority and Israel  must decide if they want an agreement.

Kerry does not want to be another failure  following a long line off U.S. diplomats who have thought they could change the Middle East.

The smartest thing would be for Kerry to blame both sides and make a quick exit.

Is Kerry smart? Don’t bet on it.

Who’s Calling the Shots at the Temple Mount?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

“This area is under Muslim sovereignty,” the senior officer on the Temple Mount said to me.

“I thought that we were in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” I answered, as I set out on a series of letter-writing campaigns and meetings with the chief of Israel police, the attorney general and the minister for internal security.

What the officer on the Temple Mount told me was ultimately endorsed by the police chief. For the first time, he admitted that the prohibitions on the Jews who visit the Temple Mount are not due to security considerations. Rather, they exist simply because sovereignty over the Temple Mount was transferred to the Muslims and they are the ones making the rules there.

In the dark, totally against the law, without any Knesset decision or public debate – the Temple Mount, the heart of our nation, was transferred to foreign rule.

When all the public officials to whom I turned were painted into an indefensible legal corner, the prime minister shouldered the responsibility and two weeks ago issued a direct order prohibiting me from visiting the Temple Mount. This completely contradicts the Jerusalem Basic Law, the Knesset Basic Law and the Honor and Liberty Basic Law. It revokes Israeli sovereignty in the heart of Jerusalem and tramples the Knesset’s authority. It crosses a clear, thick red line and rewrites the rules in a way that does not allow me to continue my political activities – as if nothing has happened. I still remember well how, before the Expulsion from Gush Katif, I begged Likud ministers to resign their government positions in protest. “If we resign,” they answered, “the government will not fall. But we will not be able to influence its decisions or help.”

We all know what happened in the end. When a public figure does not know how to identify the red line and plays by the old rules in the new reality, all is lost. Always.

Throughout the years that we have ascended the Temple Mount, we have gotten used to the disgraceful reality whereby a member of the Muslim wakf, accompanied by an Israeli police officer, follows us and spies on our lips – to ensure that no Jew, heaven forbid, moves his lips in prayer at the site of his holy Temple. If a Jew dares pray, the wakf representative will demand the Jew’s arrest – and the Israeli officer will quickly comply. This is an abominable prohibition, more severe than the prohibition that the Muslims imposed on Jewish prayer at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron. There, in pre-state Hebron, the Muslims allowed the Jews to approach the seventh step leading to the Cave and to pray there. But at the Temple Mount, under Israeli rule, so to speak, the prohibition is all encompassing and strictly enforced.

But we, the visitors to the Mount, got used to it. And habit erases every abomination. In the days of the Hasmoneans, we got used to the fact that before her wedding, every Jewish girl would first have to spend the night with the Greek ruler. Later in history, we got used to the initial decrees of the German conquerors. Today, we get used to the loss of our legitimacy, to the hypocritical Turkish demands that we apologize, and to the Chinese spitting in our faces during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s official visit there. We get used to it and, in the end, pay a very high price.

The same is true for us, the visitors to the Temple Mount. We were so anxious to serenely return the Jews to the Mount. We bit our lips, acquiesced to the abominable prohibition against prayer and, over the years, got used to the humiliating guard at our side.

Now we see that this abomination is not localized to the wakf representative facing the simple Jew visiting the Temple Mount. The abomination is an expression of the situation on the highest levels: the conduct of the Muslim leadership against the Israeli leadership.

There in the upper echelons, instead of the wakf, the Israeli police officer and the Jew who wants to pray on the Mount, we have the king of Jordan, the prime minister of Israel and a member of Knesset who wants to enter Judaism’s holiest site.

This column was translated from Hebrew; it originally appeared in Makor Rishon.

We Are the Moral Compass

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

“There is an expectation of Zion to formulate a political monotheism that has never been formulated before.” (Emmanuel Levinas)

The importance of the caucus on organ harvesting in China, sponsored recently by the Liberal Lobby in the Knesset, cannot be exaggerated. On the surface, the caucus’s topic seems odd. Knesset members and other VIPs were called together to discuss horrors being perpetrated by the Communist regime in China against what the government there calls “regime opponents.”

Hundreds of thousands of peaceful citizens in China are imprisoned in camps and tortured in the most inhuman ways – and worst of all, their organs are harvested while they are still alive and sold for transplants throughout the world. Apparently the human bodies in the grotesque Body Show, recently exhibited in the Holy Land, was also supplied by these prisoners.

“You don’t have any more issues left here in Israel?” many people asked when we began publicizing the event.

“You don’t have anybody but China to start up with?”

“You don’t understand that you are harming Israeli interests? And what do you think, anyway? That anybody among the billion Chinese really cares what exactly you are talking about in the Knesset?”

It is not about the Chinese. It is about us, and how we perceive the essence of the Jewish nation and the return to Zion.

We have become so accustomed to the moral finger wagging in our direction, and for being blamed by holier-than-thou nations the world over for all sorts of “ethical lapses.” We have become so accustomed to the leftists in Israel who join the chorus that we haven’t even thought of the possibility that perhaps just the opposite is true. Perhaps the moral compass of the entire world is the People of the Bible; the nation that brought the world faith in the One God; the nation that, on the foundation of its belief in God, heralded the message of liberty for all mankind. We haven’t dared to think that the message of justice and liberty does not emanate from The Hague – but from Jerusalem. Despite the fact that deep in its consciousness humanity recognizes and even expects to hear this message from Zion, the Israelis have become grasshoppers in their own eyes – and thus, in the eyes of the world. This is the root of the condemnations and the relentless pressure brought to bear on Israel.

In other words, when you don’t fulfill your universal ethical role somebody else usurps it and you turn from the judge into the judged. If there is no construction being allowed today in Jerusalem, it is because Jerusalem is not fulfilling its universal role. If we are being pressured to apologize to Turkey and pay remands to the families of their dead and to those wounded from the Mavi Marmara incident, it is because when it was uncomfortable for us, we ignored our universal ethical role and did not take a stand against Turkey’s denial of the Armenian holocaust.

In explaining the demonization of Israel to Professor Ze’ev Tzachor, British intellectuals said, “We dreamed of a place where the new Book of Books would be written in preparation for the redemption of the world, for you, after all, are a treasured nation. The world had expectations, and now look what you have done.” (From an interview with Meir Uziel in Makor Rishon.)

The Chinese were very displeased with our Knesset caucus. They put pressure on me and on other Knesset members in an attempt to torpedo the conference. But they did not succeed. Things that may be difficult for Israelis to understand in Israel are easily understood in China. While Communists do not believe in God, essentially making everyone there slaves (China is one giant prison camp) they do have a long tradition of spirituality. They perfectly understand the value of the “treasured nation” status of the Jews. An ethical stand that emanates from the parliament of the People of the Book is less financially troubling than a similar stand coming from European parliaments. But its ethical weight is much greater – and the Chinese understand that.

Knesset members from across the political spectrum – Right and Left, haredi and secular – honored the caucus with their presence. Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Rabbis Uri Cherki and Elyakim Levanon spoke at the event. The audience heard shocking testimony from a survivor of those camps and watched filmed testimony on what takes place there.

The Next Round: Will Netanyahu Retain His Title?

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Netanyahu had no real opponent in the recent election for Israel’s 19th Knesset, making his re-election clear before elections were even announced. Thus, despite what many analysts graded as the worst campaign of the Knesset’s 12 parties, the alliance between the Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister Lieberman resulted in a clear win of 31 seats for Likud Beitenu. Second place Yair Lapid was the surprise of the elections, winning 19 seats, and he quickly announced he was looking to be a coalition member and not the Opposition Leader.

This Friday, Smith conducted a poll published by Globes, which put Prime Minister Netanyahu’s center-right Likud-Beitenu and Finance Minister Lapid’s center-left Yesh Atid at a 30-30 tie.  While polling is not an exact science, polls provide us with the latest voting trends and they are the best tool we have for predicting election results. The Smith poll is significant because Smith is not only one of the highest rated polling companies, but it most accurately predicted the 2013 election results.

In addition, the Smith poll makes Lapid the first contender to achieve that kind of success in a mid-term poll since Kadima, under Tzipi Livni, hit 30 seats in polls following Ehud Barak’s split from Labor in early 2011.  Friday’s poll also indicated that the two other current self-labeled center parties, led by Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz, would fail to pass the threshold in a new election, with their eight seats likely heading to Yesh Atid.

Ever since Netanyahu climbed to the top of the polls in the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, there has been a shift of support from the traditional ideological left vs. right vote to the “Netanyahu & friends” vs. the “Anti-Netanyahu” vote. This phenomenon was evident when extreme left-wing party Meretz dropped to three seats in the 2009 elections because left-wing voters supported Tzipi Livni, hoping she would defeat Netanyahu.

In that election, Livni won 29 mandates, but Netanyahu, with 28 mandates, nevertheless formed the coalition. After Barak formed the Independence party and Labor faced another possible split led by MK Amir Peretz, polls showed that Labor voters began to support Livni. A few months later, however, voters have pulled their support from Livni. That’s because while Netanyahu hasn’t had any real competition since – he has now.

Although the current government has an unconventional make-up, splitting the Knesset into its traditional blocks, the key to the next government, shows a tie between the right and left. The poll gives the right-religious block of Likud-Beitenu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas and UTJ 60 seats. The center-left-Arab block of Yesh Atid, Labor, Meretz, Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad win the other 60. One could argue that the Arab parties would never join a coalition, but splitting the seats between the traditional blocks gives a good indication for Netanyahu’s chances of forming a government. That’s because one can expect members of the center-left block to not join a Netanyahu government unless they expect him to form a coalition without them.

Many in the ideological-left camp feel that Labor, the third largest party, will be a big player in the next election. But Labor ran as the alternative to the Netanyahu government this past election and won a disappointing 15 seats. The Smith poll has Labor falling to 12, lower than the 13 seats Labor achieved under Ehud Barak in the 2009 elections. Labor, which has seen six leadership changes in the last dozen years, has become somewhat of a joke in many political circles. It seems highly unlikely that the party, under whichever leader it chooses, will be able to convince the Israeli voter to yet again look to them as the alternative to Netanyahu.

Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi came in fourth place in the recent elections with 12 seats. Bennett is an obvious future candidate for Prime Minister and will be a key player in the next election. The Smith poll has Bennett’s party in third place which means that after the next elections, he may have a chance to play the traditional kingmaker role of Israeli politics deciding between his former boss Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new best friend Yair Lapid. The thought of Bennett not backing the right-wing candidate seems improbable, but not if Netanyahu treats Bennett during this administration as poorly as he did in the weeks following the recent elections.

Likud MK Regev Chickens Out, Cancels Visit to Temple Mount

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Likud Knesset Member Miri Regev cancelled on Wednesday a planned Knesset Interior Committee visit to the Temple Mount, explaining that although she really wants to examine first-hand why Jews are not allowed to pray at the Temple Mount, she is not about to do so if it will cause “tensions.”

Tensions? Perhaps she meant “war.”

Only a nit-wit would not know that nothing infuriates the Arab world more than an Israeli government official visiting the Temple Mount, the holiest Jewish site in the world.

Regev has to be incredibly naïve, or something less flattering, to think that she really could lead a an efficacies Knesset visit to the Temple Mount as if it were a tourist trip.

Then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon paid a visit to the Temple Mount during the 2000 election campaign, and his little jaunt was the “shot heard around the world,” credited with touching off the long-brewing second phase of the Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.

Arab media, at least once every week or so, describes how Jews “storm” the Temple Mount.

Just to make sure the Jewish visits do not cause “tension,” police are on hand at the Temple Mount to make sure that Jews don not bring any prayer books with them and do not committee ultimate offense of praying, or even looking like they are praying.

She said she wanted to examine the possibility of allowing Jews to resume praying, although visiting the site is embroiled in a deep controversy among rabbis. The Chief Rabbinate forbids ascending the Temple Mount because of a host of issues concerning Jewish law, while some national religious rabbis permit it.

MK Regev knows full well that after the Six-Day War in 1967, Moshe Dayan granted the Muslim Waqf authority over the Temple Mount.

Jews continued to ascend for many years and even prayed there until the Muslim fanatics began flexing their muscle.

The Palestinian Authority, led by its nose under the de facto leadership of Arab World heavyweights, has conducted a campaign for years to show that Jews really have no business being on the Temple Mount.

Muslim clerics constantly deliver sermons and incite the local Arabs with claims that Israel is trying to dig tunnels under the Temple Mount to cause the collapse of the Al Aqsa mosque.

It is old news that the Arab world claims the First and Second Temples are another Jewish lie, like the Holocaust, and that the Western Wall actually was a hitching post for the Prophet Mohammed’s horse.

So why did Regev insist on leading a visit there and then look foolish by backing down? Because she does not want to become Feiglin Number 2 and be a black sheep in the Likud.

Moshe Feiglin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s favorite thorn in the side, has made it a habit of ascending the Temple Mount every month, but his previous visit sparked a protest by Arabs and ended up with the police hauling him away.

Why?

Because Feiglin now is an MK, and Netanyahu, wanting a bit of peace and quiet, ordered him to stay away.

It might cause tension.

Feiglin, not one to step down from principles, announced on Wednesday that he no longer will automatically vote with the coalition, even though he won his long-sought objective of being a Likud Knesset Member in the recent elections.

“I have nothing against the Likud or the coalition but we cannot accept dictates from the Waqf,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

He said he will be more than happy to vote with the government once he is allowed to visit the Temple Mount again.

He is not holding his breath.

Jewish Press editor Yori Yanover reported several days ago that a source close to the Prime Minister told Feiglin that if he visits again, he would touch off “World War Three.”

Feiglin had planned to visit the Temple Mount on Monday, the 19th of the Hebrew month of Iyar, as he does on the 19th of every Hebrew month.

The Arabs won Round One by keeping Feiglin off the Temple Mount.

Now they have won Round Two, leaving MK Regev out of the ring.

Who’s next?

Jewish Home Breaching Coalition Agreement to Protect Israeli Lands

Friday, April 26th, 2013

There has been a significant shift regarding the plan for a massive giveaway of state land to Bedouin residents of the Negev.

At stake is land totaling hundreds of thousands of acres all over the Negev, claimed by Bedouin squatters. In the 1970s, the Bedouin were allowed to register ownership claims over these parcels with the Justice Ministry, but the state never recognized these claims, because they were not backed by legal proof of ownership. Moreover, every time the Bedouin tried to take the state to court to secure their legal ownership over the land, they lost and their lands were registered as property of the state.

In January, Minister without portfolio Benny Begin, serving in a caretaker government, proposed a land reform for the Bedouin population that was going to transform the Negev. Ignoring previous court decisions, the Begin plan was going to sanction the Bedouin squatter tenants, all of them illegal, as the legal owners of much of the Negev.

Begin and the Likud-Beitenu were so committed to this move, that they forced Jewish Home to approve, in the coalition agreement, item 51 which reads: Both sides will promote the “Law regulating Bedouin settlement, 5772-2012,” should a Jewish Home minister be a member of a ministerial committee to implement said law.

According to Maariv, on Wednesday evening there was a meeting on the Negev lands between Ministers Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) and Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), both appointed by their parties to engage on the issue. The Jewish Home MKs Ayelet Shaked, Zevulun Kalfa and Orit Struck were also pushing a halt to the Begin plan, as were Minister Yair Shamir and MK David Rotem both from Israel Beiteinu, along with coalition chairman Mk Yariv Levin of the Likud.

In the end, according to Maariv this morning, Jewish Home and Yesh Atid, together with most of the coalition partners, reached an agreement to introduce significant changes to the Begin plan, after it had already been approved by the transitional government after the election.

The change, essentially, eliminates the Begin plan in favor of the original 2011 plan, which was approved a much less generous land giveaway to the Negev Bedouin.

According to a source in Jewish Home, the reason the government decided in January to prefer the Begin plan over the 2011 plan was that the Bedouin didn’t like the 2011 plan. Well, you can’t blame them for that, but being unhappy still does not entitle them to a land that isn’t legally theirs.

The plan will be executed over a period of five years, and the Negev Bedouin will have nine months to decide whether they accept it or prefer to sue the government over the plan. Mind you, based on past experience, suing could mean the Bedouin would be left with next to nothing, instead of what is still a legal sanctioning of their ownership of areas where they actually reside.

Political Expediency…or Adjusting to Reality?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

As Israelis settle in under a new government led once again by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they might do well to ask themselves this question: Other than having served as Israeli prime ministers after beginning their political careers as mainstays of the political right, what do Menachem Begin, Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert have in common?

It is safe to say that none of them, before attaining power, would have supported the policies each pursued while in office. Before their premierships all four held clearly hawkish diplomatic, national security and territorial views; once elected, however, their tilt to the center and even to the center-left on these same issues was just as clear.

Labor prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak often matched their pre-prime ministerial rhetoric with their performances in office. The “principled” hawks were expected to do likewise – namely to practice what they had preached.

But did they?

Let’s examine some of their words before assuming office and their actions after they attained it.

Begin’s words: “The partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized…. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever” (November 30, 1947, the day after the UN vote for the partition of Palestine.)

Begin’s actions: Responding to Anwar Sadat and Jimmy Carter’s insistence that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict include a Palestinian right to self-governance, Begin agreed to Palestinian “self-rule” or “autonomy” in Judea and Samaria. This arguably meant that Begin compromised on his view that “Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

Netanyahu’s words: “This [the 2008 Israel-Hamas cease-fire] is not a relaxation, it’s an Israeli agreement to the rearming of Hamas. What are we getting for this?” (Netanyahu at the time was opposition leader.)

Netanyahu’s actions: If history is any guide, Netanyahu must surely know that the aftermath of the recent cessation of fighting between Hamas and Israel – a halt that he, as prime minister, approved – will likely resemble the 2008 truce he opposed: a lull until the next round of fighting initiated by a rearmed Hamas.

By acting so inconsistently on the same terrorist threat just four years apart, Netanyahu, it appears, put personal political needs ahead of the national interest in 2008 and again now – both, ironically, just prior to Knesset elections. In 2008 it behooved him to sound hawkish; in 2012 it suited him to be more flexible.

Shouldn’t a noted terrorism expert know better?

Sharon’s words: “Everybody has to…grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours” (Sharon, foreign minister at the time, was addressing a meeting of the Tzomet Party on November 15, 1998).

Sharon’s actions: Sharon went from being one of Israel’s most vocal advocates of expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and a champion of its presence in Gaza during prior ministerial positions to, as prime minister, unilaterally withdrawing fully from Gaza and from four settlements in the northern West Bank (without the benefit of any peace overtures from the Palestinians).

His clear about-face gave the Palestinians the chance to elect Hamas – sworn to Israel’s destruction – to power in Gaza, enabling it to regularly batter southern Israel with deadly rockets. Sharon’s prowess on the battlefield is, to many, overshadowed by what is perhaps the most blatant political, military and security flip-flop in Israel’s history.

Olmert’s words: “The formula for the parameters of a unilateral solution are: to maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border; and not to divide Jerusalem” (Olmert was serving double duty as minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and minister of Communications when he spoke to David Landau of Haaretz on November 13, 2003).

Olmert’s actions: Only four years after expressing those decidedly hard-line sentiments, Prime Minister Olmert made this generous offer to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.S.-hosted Annapolis Conference in Maryland: Israeli relinquishment of parts of East Jerusalem, with Jerusalem’s Old City – and its religious sites – administered by an international group.

So much for Olmert’s 2003 pledge – before he became Israel’s prime minister – to “not…withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem.”

* * *

Should Israelis understand and accept the political reality that politicians often must retreat from pronouncements made during their days in the loyal opposition in order to govern responsibly once they’ve attained power? Or should those politicians be called out for their patronizing pre-power rhetoric?

Do Israelis believe it’s OK for political aspirants to say whatever they feel is necessary to gain power? Or should practicing what one preaches always be the political rule?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/political-expediencyor-adjusting-to-reality/2013/04/24/

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