Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Bibi" Netanyahu AKA He Who Dances on Graves

Rabin's wife accused "Bibi" of inciting against her husband

"Arik" Sharon was struggling for his life, and the Likudniks/neocons were already celebrating. Michael Oren, an author of an over-rated book on the 1967 War and a scholar with a creepy neocon think tank in Jerusalem, made it clear, in an interview with the New York Times that this was great, great news for his political man, Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

Many Israelis followed Sharon away from Likud into Kadima because they believed he represented the best guarantee for Israel's security in the near future," said Michael B. Oren, an Israeli historian. "In his absence, they are likely to fall back on the next likeliest guarantee, Bibi Netanyahu."

Mr. Netanyahu has also worked to purge Likud "of some of its more unsavory figures and restored some of its tainted image," Mr. Oren said. Mr. Netanyahu is also given high marks for his stewardship of the Finance Ministry before he quit the cabinet over the Gaza withdrawal.

Yep. That one more Israeli leader who was trying (perhaps) to get Israel out of the occupied Palestinian territories was (almost) dead could mean that the Weekly Standard's favorite Israeli could find himself once again in the Israeli PM office. The conventional wisdom is that the collapse of the Camp David talks and the start of Intifadah II were responsible for the death of the Olso peace process. I totally disagree. I'm sure that it was Rabin's assassination by a right-wing Israeli militant that led eventually to all the mess we are facing now in the Holy Land. Leah Rabin, like many other Israelis, blamed the anti-Rabin incitement promoted by "Bibi" for creating the environment that resulted in his murder
Mrs Rabin said Prime Minister Netanyahu - the leader of the opposition Likud party at the time of the assassination - was responsible for creating a climate of incitement that led to the shooting. She complained that he scorned Mr Rabin for giving away land to the Palestinians, and was still making similar, inaccurate claims today. She reserved her strongest criticism for Mr Netanyahu's approach to the Palestinians. "Why draw a picture that the Palestinians are a threat to our existence?" she said. "They are not. They want peace. They deserve peace. They are entitled to have peace as much as we want and are entitled to have peace."

The rest was history. Netanyahu was elected and he did his best to sabotage what was left of the Oslo process. Now after Sharon left Likud, creating a political party that could have won election and marginalized the Likud, there was a danger that "Bibi" would become history, perhaps even return to the United States and join the American Enterprise Institute as a Senior Fellow. It could still happen if Sharon's party elects a winnable candidate and run on its platform that calls for the creation of a Palestinian state. For more on "Bibi" check out a profile I had written a while ago aboutIsrael's own "Joe Isuzu"


Michael Towns said...

"Mrs Rabin said Prime Minister Netanyahu - the leader of the opposition Likud party at the time of the assassination - was responsible for creating a climate of incitement that led to the shooting."

I respectfully disagree with Mrs. Rabin's "analysis". And to lay the al-Aqsa Intifada at the feet of Netanyahu, as you do in your posting, is borderline ridiculous. Have we already forgotten Mr. Arafat, who appears to be in a stable condition of death?

I enjoy reading your blog, but some of these more obtuse conclusions are difficult to accept logically.


Global Paradigms said...

Dear Mr. Towns:

Thanks for your comments. As someone who has followed very closely the election campaign in which Rabin was viciously attacked by Netanyahu, the Likud and their supporters in the settlers camp, my conclusion is not very different than that of Mrs. Rabin and many other Israelis and foreign observers that, indeed, Bibi and his followers created an environment of hatred against Rabin in which his killer operated. And his killing made it possible for Netanyahu to win the elections. far as the second Intifada... Well, I didn't have any great sympathy for Arafat and regarded him as nothing more than a gang leader with whom you have to do business (out of self-interest). In that context, I regarded the Oslo Process as sensible Realpolitik project that survivd despite all the difficulties thanks to Rabin's leadership. His killing helped to weaken the fragile foundations on which Oslo was based. Netanyahu in his role as PM just made things worst. So, yes, I think that any historian who willl study this period will have to conclude that Rabin's killing as a turning point in the Oslo Process, and that the Likud's anti-Rabin campaign created an ugly and violent atmosphere.