When he served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States during the Disengagement, Danny Ayalon did not merely execute his duties as ambassador, but threw his personal support behind the Disengagement.
For instance in an interview a month before the expulsion was carried out, Ayalon said that “The prime minister had to make the decision because he knew this was the best course of action to take and the best way to strengthen Israel” (emphasis added).
When Ayalon returned to Israel and jumped into politics, he joined Yisrael Beitenu, led by Avigdor Liberman who opposed the Disengagement as a Minister in Ariel Sharon’s government.
Yisrael Beitenu presented itself as being to the right of the Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu (though now the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu sit together as one faction in the Knesset).
In the last government, Liberman served as Foreign Minister and Ayalon served as his deputy. Ayalon even released an English version of video explaining Israel’s right to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and narrated the video himself. Needless to say, Israel, Liberman and Ayalon worked against Palestinian efforts to get recognized as a state without Israeli agreement at the United Nations.
Ayalon, for instance, was quoted as criticizing the Palestinians’ statehood bid, saying:
The Palestinian Authority, which cannot even collect municipal taxes, wishes to pose as a state… It is clear that the P.A. does not meet the minimum requirements of a state. It also fails to meet another requirement of the U.N. Charter — to be a peace-loving nation. Ayalan also took up Yisrael Beitenu’s Anglo division-campaign, which focused on recruiting the support of Israel’s English-speaking immigrant community which is a little bit more conservative, especially on foreign policy, than the rest of Israel.
Then, unexpectedly Liberman informed Ayalon that he would not be included in Yisrael Beitenu’s Knesset list. Not long after that Ayalon recalled things he did previously did not which were added to the indictment against Liberman.
Now, Ayalon has taken up the left-wing position regarding the U.N. General Assembly vote recognizing Palestinian statehood, arguing that Israeli should offer the Palestinians recognition as a state:
“Israel will give the Palestinians sovereignty and independence and in return, they will recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and will guarantee security arrangements.” That’s a position which doesn’t quite match his prior criticism of the Palestinian’s U.N. bid, his assertion that regardless of what recognition they may receive the Palestinian Authority simply is not a state, his previous criticism of Palestinian Authority funding going towards terrorism, or the general realistic approach towards the Palestinian Authority, which he, Liberman and Netanyahu have championed during the government’s term.
Far from punishing the Palestinians from their efforts to side step Israel at the United Nations, such an offer would reward them and would incur immense amount of international pressure on Israel to sweeten the deal by making more unilateral concessions or to just recognize Palestinian statehood regardless of what the Palestinians agree to.
Aside from the merits of Ayalon’s new position, his zigzagging over the years is yet another lesson in how political ambitions affect a politician’s positions or at least the part of his philosophy he chooses to emphasize to the public.Daniel Tauber