Tag Archives: Likud Party

Bibi changes his tune on Palestinian state

You have to hand it to Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli prime minister had us going for awhile. As the Israeli election drew near, he seemed to suggest that he was pulling back his support for a Palestinian state in the Middle East.

Then what happens? Bibi goes and wins re-election, his Likud Party keeps control of the Knesset and then he said, “Hey, I didn’t mean quite what I seemed to say just the other day.”


And to think some folks thought Bibi had emerged as the world’s premier statesman. It turns out he’s just like most of the rest of the world’s politicians: He’ll say just about anything to get elected.

Frankly, I’m glad he’s softening his tone on Palestine.

Bibi said on MSNBC: “I don’t want a one-state solution; I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that, circumstances have to change,” he said. “I was talking about what is achievable and what is not achievable. To make it achievable, then you have to have real negotiations with people who are committed to peace.”

Ah, yes. But as the New York Times reported: “The White House and European leaders had expressed alarm over Mr. Netanyahu’s pre-election statement, on the eve of what had seemed like a close race, that there would never be a Palestinian state as long as he remained in office.”

He’s back-pedaling from his pre-election hard line.

The Obama administration still doesn’t seem to trust him fully. The White House doubts his commitment to a two-state solution.

Whatever the case, Bibi shows that even would-be statesmen are capable of saying one thing in public and meaning something else in private.


Bibi's no nut, but he needs to rethink some things

Benjamin Netanyahu has won another extension as Israeli prime minister.

His Likud Party won more seats in the Knesset than any other party, but it still lacks an outright majority. So Bibi’s going to have to compromise here and there if he hopes to govern his country.

Contrary to what you might have gathered from a couple of recent posts about Bibi’s campaign, I actually feel a bit of sympathy for the tough line he takes in governing Israel.

Netanyahu is an Israeli army veteran. He’s seen the enemy up close. His brother was killed in that daring 1976 hostage rescue mission in Uganda. So, Bibi’s heart has been broken by violence.

I still believe he made a mistake in coming to the United States to speak to Congress without first consulting with President Obama. The snub — by him and by House Speaker John Boehner, who invited him — has damaged U.S.-Israel relations. But let’s get one thing straight: The nations remain critical allies.

All that said, his victory now enables Netanyahu to work with Obama to repair the damage. I trust he’ll do so. He talked while in this country about the special relationship the countries have had for the past six decades.

He campaigned hard in the waning days of the campaign by declaring an end to Palestinian settlements. That, too, was a mistake. Perhaps he can rethink that ban, given that the Palestinians are seeking to build a home of their own.

It’s good to understand, though, how Netanyahu views security in his country. It’s the single most vital issue with which he must deal.

The Hamas terrorists who govern Gaza have been lobbing missiles into Israel periodically since, oh, for as long as missiles have existed. Israel must be allowed to defend itself and to use whatever force it has to put down the attacks. To that end, Netanyahu is unafraid and I happen to applaud his courage in fighting Hamas.

The bigger picture, though, requires Netanyahu to understand that his country comprises citizens of widely diverse views. Not every Israeli shares his world view. I told you recently about a couple in Haifa who oppose Likud’s hard line and rest assured, there are others just like them.

Israel enjoys a special place in our network of allies. It deserves that special place and some special treatment. Benjamin Netanyahu, educated in this country — and able to speak to Americans like an American — isn’t going anywhere any time soon.


Bibi wins; now, make up with Barack

Barack Obama’s candidate didn’t win the election to become Israel’s next prime minister.

The winner is the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-leaning Likus Party will continue to control the governing Knesset.


President Obama’s critics call this a sharp rebuke of the U.S. president, with whom Bibi has a difficult relationship.

But let’s understand something right off the top: If the bullets and rockets ever start flying in Israel, the United States will be at the side of its most dependable Middle East ally. Of that there can be no question. Netanyahu has acknowledged as much, as has Obama.

So, what’s the big deal with this strained relationship?

It goes most recently to the speech Netanyahu made to Congress without first consulting with the White House. It is centered on Israel’s desire to see greater U.S. sanctions on Iran, with whom we are negotiating a deal to end Iran’s nuclear development program. Obama objected to Netanyahu’s speech, didn’t meet with him when he was in-country — and the Obama foes are raising all kinds of hackles over the frayed relationship.

I don’t buy it.

Here’s what ought to happen: The two men have secured phone lines to each other’s office. One of them — it doesn’t matter who — needs to pick up the phone and start working toward a way to end the public rift.

It’s in both leaders’ best interest. They both know it and my hunch is that they well might already have had that chat.