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Netanyahu's next move: War?

Netanyahu does not have many cards left to play. His way out his current political troubles may be a war – and we should be ready for it, and reject it

Netanyahu’s magic hat is emptying quickly. Unlike his last term, he failed in buying the students for a few slices of plzza, and his attempt to preempt the “stroller protest” by parents, planned for today, was particularly pathetic: He offered to lower the bus fare of a parent with a stroller by 50%. The offer was received with appropriate derision. The fact that the leader of the trade unions, lackluster Ofer Eini, joined the protest belatedly, and the jump-on-band-wagon manouver by Tzipi Livni – she was seen marching with the striking doctors today, after a silence longer than that of Ehud Barak – must have made Netanyahu sweat even more.

I’m hearing from several quarters that Netanyahu has only two rabbits left in his hat. One of them is the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who has become a sort of celebrity in Israel. It’s not at all clear this will end the protests, and the manouver becomes complicated because it requires the agreement of Hamas, which, for its own part, is in no rush. After all, a new government – needing a quick boost of popularity – may well pay for Shalit. This particular rabbit, then, ought to be considered a Schrodinger: Netanyahu won’t know if it’s dead or alive until he pulls it out of the hat. Not good. He cannot afford a backfire. Not now.

The other rabbit is going to a splendid little war. Or, if not a full-fledged war, a massive operation which looks just like the real thing. This schtick rarely fails. Israeli air force planes circled over Gaza last night, and in general the IDF seems to be heating the Gaza sector in the last few weeks. And if we’ve already mentioned Ehud Barak, then it’s worth noting he flew again to the US last night, for another meeting with the American leadership. What for?

I don’t know. I do know, however, that security officials in the north have received an official warning from the government (Hebrew) that September is going to be hot. Possibly a war, possibly against the Palestinians, possibly against the Israeli Palestinians, possibly against Hizbullah.

It is worth noting that, contrary to myth, most of Israel’s wars were propagated by it, often for a political reason. The 1956 war was a conspiracy of Shimon Peres with two declining colonial powers, France and Britain. Prior to the 1967 war, the Americans asked for time for diplomacy, but the IDF was impatient to the point of a threatened putsch, and war broke out. The attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor took place several days before a general election, which was not a coincidence. The Lebanon War of 1982 needs no explanation. Shimon Peres went to Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996, in order to win the coming elections; Being Shimon Peres, he managed to lose them by 0.4%, by shelling Qafr Qana and thereby convincing his Arab voters to stay home and not go the polls. In 2006, the IDF used a border incident – granted, a clear casus belli – in order to start a war intend to wipe the shame of defeat by Hizbullah in 2000. Needless to say, this did not work as planned. Cast Lead was the result of an Israeli wish for conflict, and rejection of Hamas’ attempt at prolonging the ceasefire. One needs a healthy dose of goodwill and bulk quantities of naiveté ij order to believe it had nothing to do with the already-declared elections.

Ehud Barak has no political future worth speaking of, and he’s intelligent enough to know that, and know that he is the most hated politician in the history of the republic – so hated, nothing short of seppuku will improve his image. Even that might not do the trick, though it’s certain many people will show up for the funeral, just to make certain he’s really defunct. One wonders whether he’s in the US in order to garner support for a war, which is the only thing which will buy him more time in power. With the exception of 1956 – Eisenhower was livid by the invasion of Egypt, as the US was not consulted, and had the Hungarian crisis on its hands – every other Israeli war has received American support, even if tentative; and Israel did not go to war again without reaching an understanding with the US.

So, should a war suddenly breaks out in the next few weeks; if the northern border, or perhaps the southern, suddenly erupts, as it by its own volition; if Netanyahu makes a surprise TV appearance, pale and resolute, and inform us he ordered the IDF to start bombing Iran, to prevent it from becoming Nazi Germany – should any of this happen, don’t believe a single word you’re told. Assume that the regime is trying to save itself by a war. After all, that’s what our propaganda has been saying of the Arab rulers for years. Do you think Barak is less cynical that Nasrallah? That Netanyahu cares a fig about the citizens more than Nasser did?

One hopes that the very public warning by Meir Dagan – remember him? – and his doubts whether the current security leaderahip can stand up to an adventurous government will shame the military brass into blocking this grotesque idea. But army life is not conductive to common sense and to the ability to say “no” to your superiors. So, if war suddenly breaks out, our duty will be to disrupt it: Storm the Kirya (military headquarters), block entrance to Air Force bases, and basically refuse to play the part of pawns in Barak and Netanyahu’s attempt to the save the ruling economical-political oligarchy by paying in citizen’s blood. The true patriot, in such a case, will have to face down his government and army.

Let’s hope this does not happen, but let us be ready for it.

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    1. Ben Israel

      Israel will NOT initiate any wars while this gov’t is in power. Since Oslo, all the major outbreaks of violence occurred when “Peace” governments were in power…the big wave of terrorist attacks after Oslo, the bloody suicide bomber war which came after Barak offered a state to Arafat at Camp David and carried out the unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Then Sharon carried out the destruction of Gush Katif which was followed by both the Lebanon II and Gaza Wars. The Right knows the whole world will allow the Left to fight wars because the unstated assumption is that they will be followed by more concessions and withdrawals, but the Right will get no such discounts. Thus, as long as Netanyahu is in power, he will not initiate any wars. It is the peace camps that brings all the wars and bloodshed on Israel….in the name of “peace”.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Israel

      It should also be pointed out that the party that the “economic oligarchs” supported was KADIMAH, not the Likud. For example, Moses of Yediot Aharonot, one of the economic powerhouses of the country is the biggest booster of KADIMAH. You must remember that it was the political Left, under MAPAI-Labor that controlled the economy for many years and the “privitzation” made where state assets were given to cronies at below their true value was made to friends of theirs, not to “right-wing” Likud people. Thus, the economic power is mostly in the hands of people who identify with the Left…which today is primarily KADIMAH. So if there is a war, they will support it when their party is in power, not the likud.

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    3. Danny

      I have to agree with Ben Israel on this one. As much as I detest Netanyahu, one thing he has going for him is that, contrary to his “leftist” colleagues (Peres, Olmert and Barak), he’s never taken the country to war. And for an Israeli prime minister, that is quite an achievement. Surely, Barak would love nothing more than to have a great little war for people to remember him by, but I don’t think that’s what he’s in Washington for. Obama, for one thing, would NEVER give an okay for a war. Also, all fronts have been relatively quiet, so there’s no pretext for one either. Poor Bibi will have to face the music of the protesters and, hopefully, will be tossed away with Barak in the next elections – hopefully in the trash bin of history and will never be heard from again.

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    4. weinstein henry

      Ben Israel, you mean: Kadimah is the left of the Right, I presume?

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    5. sh

      Going to war means taking a decision. So does freeing Gilad Shalit.
      Bibi’s a serial procrastinator. The way out for Bibi is via the door of the PM’s office.

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    6. Ben Israel

      SH-If you recall, Olmert and the KADIMAH gov’t also refused to make a deal for Shalit on HAMAS’ terms, so I guess you could call him a serial procastinator.

      On territorial issues and the so-called “peace negotiations” with the Palestinians, KADIMAH accepts the mainline “Leftist” views. Olmert offered to give up the Western Wall and Old City of Jerusalem. As I understand, he is willing to consider, at least to some degree, to accept a Palestinian “right of return” of refugees. When you consider that as late as 1999, evem Labor and MERETZ opposed any division of Jerusalem then it is fair to say KADIMAH as being on the Left. Add to that the fact that they proclaim themselves the leader of the Left bloc and they are thus allied with the anti-Zionist Arab parties.

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    7. weinstein henry

      Being French, Ben Israel, I think the word “Left” has something to do with social justice. It seems that in Israel this word has a different meaning.

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    8. Green Flag Red Sword

      No this isn’t likely. It’s more likely a false flag 9/11 type Mossad operation against other illegal Jewish occupiers of Palestine.

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    9. Ben Israel

      There was an extensive discussion about this some time ago here. You are correct, they way the word “Left” is used here is not really connected with the way it is used in other parts of the world.
      The ruling parties of Israel up until 1977 were the MAPAI and MAPAM parties (in alliance with others) who defined themselves as “socialist-Left” parties. Within them there were people who favored making maximum concessions to the Arabs and their were those who strongly supported Jewish settlement in Judea/Samaria (i.e. the West Bank-Shimon Peres was one of the most active of this group). They all claimed to support the “welfare state” and state ownership of much of the industry of the country. The “Right”, led by the Likud supported a “free enterprise welfare state” but, again, regarding the future of Judea/Samaria and relations with the Arabs, there were those who supported major concessions to the Arabs although most supported a “hard-line” and the settlement movement.
      By the 1980’s the socialist ethos of the Left
      had largely evaporated and they began “privatizing” state enterprises which were by and large inefficiently run and losing money by giving these enterprises for less than what they were really worth to cronies of theirs (the so-called “oligarchs” of today). The Likud also supported this.
      The Labor Party by the late 1980’s had largely purged those who supported the settlements and then took a strong stance in support of large-scale territorial concessions and finally supporting the creation of a Palestinian state, something they had opposed for a very long time. Thus, the idea of supporting a Palestinian state was identified as being “Leftist” regardless of how one viewed social and economic issues and opposition to the as “Rightist”. This can cause confustion. For example, the Haredi parties generally support a generous welfare state policy and other generally “Leftist” economic positions, yet no one calls them “Left”. The same can be said for some of those in the Likud. So it can become complicated. I hope this explained it.

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    10. JonathanInTelAviv

      This post is nothing but a (really cheap) cheap shot.
      “I’m hearing from several quarters” – do you really consider that enough of a basis on which to write a post claiming the PM is gonna start a war on false premises?? Are you really a journalist?
      If the protests end and Netanyahu/Barak *haven’t* started this war you are imagining, will you have the balls to say you were wrong, and that your accusations were baseless?

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    11. Kevin Barrington

      Well the current situation would, at the very least, lead you to strongly consider the veracity of the post.

      Reply to Comment