Two States or Not Two States: The Bibi Question

I was very surprised to read in the morning news that Bibi Netanyahu now backs the two state solution, in large part because I don’t believe him. Netanyahu reconciled this with his previous statement of “No Palestinian state on my watch” by saying that a Palestinian state will not come about until “circumstances change” and there are “real negotiations with people who are committed to peace.” I believe most readers, like me, see this as a two-faced approach: say one thing to get the right-wing voters to support you getting reelected and another once having the majority of Knesset seats to try to do damage control with the United States. Yassir Arafat was the primary master of the “two faced approach” and while he used it for far worse purposes than Netanyahu (after all he told his people to commit Jihad and drive the Jews into the sea!) I am nevertheless uncomfortable with this approach. I truly believe that Netanyahu, like many politicians, will say whatever it takes to get elected rather than speaking with authenticity and sincerity.

Let me be clear that I still believe Netanyahu is on target with Iran and that only harsh sanctions will get Iran to change its ways. I supported Netanyahu speaking before Congress despite the resistance and icy cold response by the Obama administration. At the same time, I think Netanyahu’s double speak with regard to the Palestinian state is harmful to Israel and will ultimately hurt him. The left and much of the center already did not trust Netanyahu and now will do so even less. The right, some of whom switched their vote for Netanyahu after he proclaimed “No Palestinian State on my watch,” are likely now having second thoughts about their vote. While manipulation is at times necessary for all politicans, no one likes someone who goes back on his word three days later.

I congratulate Netanyahu on his victory and am glad in the sense that he’ll be tough on Iran but concurrently I am concerned about the future of US-Israel relations with Netanyahu in power (I am also concerned about its future with the Obama administration in power). I also disagree with the scare tactics that Netanyahu uses-in particular to vote to counter the Israeli Arabs who were coming out to vote “in droves.” There are many legitimate threats out there but an Israeli Arab democratically voting for his Prime Minister is not one of them. Now that the election is over I pray that Israel can be united in its quest to move forward for a better future rather than being preoccupied in the negative campaigning and sinat hinam of the past couple months.

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