– “Πάμε”, μέσω κάποιων επιλεγμένων άρθρων, τα οποία σας παραθέτω παρακάτω, να διαπιστώσουμε / -ετε, τί γίνεται στο Ισραήλ, την παρούσα περίοδο, στα σοβαρά θέματα εξωτερικής πολιτικής και ασφαλείας, που το απασχολούν, καθώς και το πώς σκέπτεται ο … “κινών τα νήματα” Ι/Π-Θ Βενιαμίν Νετανιάχου, κατά την άποψή μου, ο πιο “Πατριώτης” Π-Θ που “πέρασε” από τη θέση αυτή στο Ισραήλ, μετά από την τεράστια πράγματι… Γκόλντα Μέϊρ!
– Σας είχα γράψει, σε προηγούμενο άρθρο, θα το θυμάστε, ότι θα πρέπει να δούμε γιατί έγινε τώρα η “αλλαγή” στην ηγεσία του Ι/ΥΠΑΜ και τη σπουδαιότητα αυτή της αλλαγής!
– Παρακαλώ να είσθε αντικειμενικοί και να μην… συνωμοσιολογεί η σκέψη σας!.. Για παράδειγμα, όταν διαβάσετε για τη γαλλική πρωτοβουλία, της “διάσκεψης για την ειρήνη στη Μ. Ανατολή”, στις αρχές της περασμένης εβδομάδος στη Γαλλία και τις απορριπτικές θέσεις των Ισραηλινών γι’ αυτήν, μην σκεφτείτε ότι πίσω απ’ ό,τι κακό έγινε ή γίνεται στη Γαλλία, το τελευταίο διάστημα, είναι οι ΜΥ του Ισραήλ!
– Επίσης, μην σκεφτείτε ότι ένα πάρα πολύ πιθανό “Brexit”, (για μένα βέβαιο), σε λίγες ημέρες, στη Μ. Βρετανία, την οποία ελέγχουν σχεδόν σε απόλυτο βαθμό οι Εβραίοι, θα πρόκειται για την εκδίκηση των Ισραηλινών προς τους Ευρωπαίους, (Γάλλους, Γερμανούς, Ολλανδούς, Ιταλούς, κλπ), οι οποίοι ξεκάθαρα, τα τελευταία χρόνια, έχουν γενικώς ταχθεί “ανοικτά” υπέρ των Παλαιστινίων, ασκώντας μάλιστα εναντίον του Ισραήλ και έναν “ολοκληρωτικό”, όπως θα τον χαρακτήριζα, οικονομικό (εμπορικό) πόλεμο κατά του Ισραήλ, γεγονός που έκανε τους απογόνους του Δαβίδ, “να έχουν βγει, και με το δίκιο τους, από τα ρούχα τους”!..
– Αναρωτηθείτε όμως, μετά από τη μελέτη των σοβαρών αυτών και στοχευμένων άρθρων, αν πχ:
– Υπάρχει σε εξέλιξη υπόγειος πόλεμος μεταξύ Ισραήλ και Ευρώπης, λόγω της σε παραλληλία με τις Η.Π.Α. στάσης της, στο Μεσανατολικό;
– “Τα βρήκαν” ή όχι, Ρωσία και Ισραήλ, μετά από την 4η επίσκεψη του “Μπίμπι” στη Μόσχα (08-06-2016), τους τελευταίους 6 μήνες; (Η επίσκεψη έγινε στο πλαίσιο της 25ης επετείου της επανέναρξης των Ρ-Ι σχέσεων, μετά την πτώση της ΕΣΣΔ).
– ‘Αλλαξε κάτι σε ό,τι παλαιότερα έγραφε ο “ΑΡΧΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ“ και σε ό,τι όμοιο έγραφε και υποστήριζε μετέπειτα και ο “ΕΛΛΗΝΑΣ“, σχετικά με τον Ρώσο – Ισραηλινό ενεργειακό ανταγωνισμό και την αναπόφευκτη Ρ-Ι σύγκρουση;
– Άλλαξε κάτι, στην άποψη η οποία είναι και του παρόντος “Ιστολογίου Προβληματισμού”, που θέλει τη Ρωσία να “διαπερνά κάθετα”, κάποια στιγμή στο μέλλον, την Τουρκία και να φτάνει στα σύνορα του Εβραϊκού Κράτους, με ό,τι αυτό τελικά θα επιφέρει; (Ρ-Ι πολεμική σύγκρουση)
– Τί σημαίνει ο “ερχομός” της “Υβέτ”, (Ρωσικό παρωνύμιο του Άβικντορ Λίμπερμαν) στο Ι/ΥΠΑΜ; Γιατί ο Νετανιάχου “έδιωξε” τον Δημοκρατικό και στρατιωτικό Μοσέ Για΄αλόν και “έφερε -ουσιαστικά- πίσω” στην κεντρική πολιτική σκηνή του Ισραήλ, τον ακροδεξιό και σκληροπυρηνικό Λίμπερμαν;
– Τί σηματοδοτεί αυτή η πολιτική πράξη, στην τρέχουσα στρατηγική του Ισραήλ; Μήπως αυτή αλλάζει εν όψει εκτιμηθέντων εξελίξεων στα δρώμενα, στους τομείς της εξωτερικής πολιτικής της χώρας; (Σχέσεις με Ευρώπη, με Χιζμπολλάχ, με Χαμάς, με Ιράν, κλπ).
– Και ασφαλώς μπορείτε να σκεφτείτε ό,τι άλλο θέλετε εσείς φίλοι μου, όπως στην παρακάτω φωτογραφία, μας δείχνει ο οξύνους Ι/Π-Θ!..
1. ISRAEL RISES IN THE EAST
The significance of Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in Moscow.
June 10, 2016
There was something poetic about the events that bookended the past week of diplomacy. This week began with French President François Hollande’s “peace” conference and ended with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit to Moscow.
From the perspective of both substance and style, the contrast between the two events couldn’t have been more striking.
France hosted yet another anti-Israel diplomatic pile-on. Hollande had hoped to show that France was stepping into the void left by the US’s abandonment of its position as world leader. But all the confab served to do was show how irrational and self-destructive France – and Western Europe – has become.
Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives were present at the conference which aimed to dictate Israel’s final borders. Their absence made the event seem like a throwback to the era of European colonialism. It was as if Hollande wanted to reenact France’s glory days in Syria and Algeria.
In his opening remarks, Hollande recycled the tired claim that the way to defeat jihad is by forcing Israel to give Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to Islamic terrorists. The document the French Foreign Ministry circulated among participants ahead of the conference recommended setting a timetable for forcing Israel to give the PLO Judea, Samaria and large swaths of Jerusalem, for the benefit of global security.
The French planned their event before the mobs in Ramallah, Hebron, Jerusalem and Gaza publicly celebrated the cold-blooded massacre of Israeli diners at Tel Aviv’s «Sarona Market» on Wednesday night. But the latest massacre wasn’t necessary to show the absurdity of France’s plan to defeat jihad by empowering jihadists at Israel’s expense.
After all, Israel surrendered Gaza to the Palestinians 11 years ago. Far from ameliorating the problem of jihad – in Europe and throughout the world – the scourge of Islamic war has grown geometrically in the past decade.
France’s own recent experience shows that Hollande’s “peace” plan was a delusional.
In 2000, Muslims comprised 10 percent of the population of France.
That year, the state-owned «France 2» television network invented the contemporary blood libel of Jews as baby killers with the release and dissemination of its deceptive film which purported to show IDF troops deliberately murdering Muhammad al-Dura.
The Dura libel unleashed the forces of Islamic Jew-hatred in France and throughout Europe. It paved the way for the rise in anti-Jewish violence unseen since the Holocaust. This violence in turn is causing the current exodus of Jews from France and from Western Europe as a whole.
But assaulting Jews didn’t satisfy the jihadists.
As last year’s events made clear, the state authorities’ desire to deflect Islamic extremism on to Jews – in Israel and in France – backfired.
Fifteen years after the Dura blood libel, Muslims now comprise at least 15% of France’s population, and 40% of the population of Marseilles.
And today, the same extremists who have terrorized France’s Jews for a decade and a half, have turned their guns on French society as a whole.
Last year’s Islamic killing spree, from «Charlie Hebdo» and «Super Cacher» to Bataclan made clear that as far as the jihadists are concerned, the French Jew-baiters are no different than the Jews.
Even worse, with their hatred legitimized by the Jew-baiters, France’s jihadists feel they have license to direct their rage and guns in whatever direction they choose.
If this weren’t bad enough for the likes of Hollande, despite the elites’ attempt to blame Israel for the rise of jihadist forces in France, the native French see what has happened.
Squeezed between political leaders who pretend the problem is Israel and Islamic radicals who deprive them of the freedom to live as they please without fear, public sentiment in Europe is increasingly desperate, and angry. Rather than address their concerns, Hollande and his fellow elites have sought to repress them.
Consider the case of Brigitte Bardot. The mid-20th-century French sexpot and national icon has been convicted six times in recent years for “inciting hatred.” Her crime? Bardo has written angry books and articles about what she refers to as an “Islamic invasion” that imperils the French way of life.
Rather than recognize that their own people can’t stand their games anymore, and aren’t buying their attempts to blame Israel for the rise of jihadist forces in France, Hollande’s “peace” conference was proof that he and his colleagues have chosen to double down on their anti-Israel scapegoating.
With a tailwind from anti-Israel activists posing as journalists, Hollande believed that the conference could elevate him, and hide from French voters his failure to defend his country.
The Washington Post’s editorial board joined him in this delusion. In an editorial published in the lead-up to his conference, the newspaper argued that the anti-Israel conference should serve as the opening salvo of an escalating diplomatic war against the Jewish state. The culmination of that war, the paper said, should be an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council in the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency.
But if this is what the West’s renewed war against Israel looks like, then Israel has little reason for concern.
In the event, even Hollande’s accessories – the 29 foreign ministers including Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended his meeting – couldn’t maintain the fiction that scapegoating Israel would secure them. In the conference’s closing statement, the most they could muster was a weak condemnation of Jewish construction on the one hand and Palestinian terrorism on the other, coupled with a call for direct negotiations between Israel and the PLO.
If this is the best they could do then it is clear that even if they do pass an anti-Israel Security Council resolution as Obama packs his bags, given the realities on the ground, the resolution will be written on water.
And if Hollande’s failed conference wasn’t humiliating enough, Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow reinforced his humiliation, and demonstrated that Europe’s embrace of anti-Semitism has done nothing for its international stature.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu arrived in Moscow for his fourth meeting with Vladimir Putin in the past six months. Unlike their other meetings, this week’s visit was both ceremonial and substantive.
Moscow and Jerusalem celebrated the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Soviet Union, which Moscow cut off after the 1967 Six Day War.
Putin lavished the honors befitting a major ally on Netanyahu. In so doing, Putin showed that Israel is anything but isolated, and far from dependent on the goodwill of European basket cases.
Europe and the American Left have seized on Palestinian grievances against Israel as proof that the solution to jihad is anti-Semitism. They have made Israel-bashing the centerpiece of their foreign policy.
In contrast, under Putin, Russia has chosen to base its foreign policy – and its bid to replace the US as the chief power broker in the Middle East – on reality.
As a result, during his meetings with Netanyahu, the Palestinians were given the attention that they deserve, as a minor nuisance.
After paying lip service to the mordant «peace process», Putin and Netanyahu got down to business. They discussed everything from Iran’s rise in Syria to Israel’s gas industry to free trade to the approaching rapprochement between Israel and Turkey.
he distinction between the business of real statecraft for a real world as practiced by Netanyahu and Putin, and the imaginary statecraft practiced by the French and their guests, is jarring.
Putin is determined to emerge strengthened from the chaos now engulfing the Middle East, and through it, the world as a whole. As a consequence, he is embracing Israel as an ally and a trading partner.
Westerners, whose strategy for surviving the chaos is to turn a blind eye to the dangers, are targeting Israel with unwarranted and self-destructive diplomatic assaults and escalating economic warfare.
This brings us to the US – whose abandonment of its traditional role as the dominant superpower in the Middle East facilitated Russia’s rise to power.
In the twilight of the Obama era, the US is steeped in an identity crisis.
The Democratic Party has been radicalized.
The Republican Party is in disarray as the forces of populism and prejudice have been unleashed by Donald Trump’s unforeseen rise.
Under the circumstances, and given that the disastrous legacy of Obama’s foreign policy, it is hard to see the US restoring its global leadership in the near future.
Given the intensity of Netanyahu’s discussions with Putin since the Russian leader deployed his military forces to Syria last year, many wonder if a major realignment is in the cards for Israel.
When asked about the prospect of replacing the US with Russia as Israel’s superpower patron, Netanyahu rejected the notion. He explained simply that the US is irreplaceable.
He is right. And not merely because Russia cannot supply spare parts to Israel’s F-16s.
Unlike Britain, which was seamlessly replaced by the US as the leader of the free world in the aftermath of World War II, the US has no clear successor. Moreover, despite its self-destructive tendencies, the US remains the world’s biggest economy and most powerful nation. The significance of America’s loss of the will to lead the world is not that the US will disappear. Rather, it will share the stage with other, rising, powers.
For Israel, this means that while maintaining the US as its primary strategic partner, Israel cannot continue to place all of its eggs in America’s basket. As Netanyahu is doing with Putin as well as with China and India, recognizing America’s new limitations, Israel must diminish its dependence on Washington, while developing noncompeting alliances with other powers, based on shared interests.
What Israel’s attractiveness to other world powers makes clear is that as America’s power wanes, Israel needn’t and oughtn’t seek to replace it with another superpower patron. Israel today is fully capable of fending for itself.
Putin courts Netanyahu because Israel is strong. And the stronger it is, the more leaders will beat a path to our door.
The failure of France’s “peace” conference, on the one hand, and the success of Netanyahu’s fourth visit to Moscow on the other hand, were poetic bookends of the week because they were a vivid exposition of Israel’s true diplomatic and strategic position today. Israel is neither weak nor isolated.
It is embraced by the rising powers. And the waning ones that scapegoat the Jewish state are leading their countries into economic and cultural decline and security chaos.
– / –
2. LIBERMAN’S FIRST CHALLENGE
The time has come for Israel to reconsider its strategic position and options.
May 27, 2016
Last week, a mob of 300 Muslim men in southern Egypt stripped a 70-year-old Christian woman naked and paraded her through the streets.
This Islamist atrocity came a few days before an Egypt Air flight from Paris exploded in the skies near Alexandria. It was the second passenger jet bombed by jihadists in Egypt in recent months.
Egypt is hanging on by a thread. Like the attack that downed a Russian passenger jet over Sinai last October, this week’s attack is likely the work of an Egyptian airport employee. It is yet more proof that nearly three years after the military deposed the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadist government, the Brotherhood’s supporters remain seeded throughout the country and are capable of threatening the regime and the very survival of the Egyptian state.
It isn’t in the least surprising that Islamists have this power. Most Egyptians support them.
In the parliamentary elections four-and-a-half years ago, Islamists won more than 65 percent of the vote.
Those were the most open elections in Egyptian history.
Given their strength, it is far from certain that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will long succeed in preventing the most powerful and populous country in the Arab world from becoming another branch of Islamic State.
From Israel’s perspective, how this battle pans out is of pivotal importance. But you wouldn’t know it from the media – or from our national security leaders.
As far as they are concerned, the gravest threat facing Israel is the Israeli Right. From their perspective, the most significant development of the year was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Avigdor Liberman to replace Moshe Ya’alon as defense minister.
Consider for example a recent national security program on Army Radio.
On Tuesday veteran Arab affairs correspondent Avi Issacharof hosted Egyptian journalist Munib Muhamed on his radio show. Since the show was broadcast two days after the EgyptAir attack, Issacharof might have been expected to ask Muhamed about the bombing.
But then Israel wouldn’t have been the story. Instead, Issacharof asked Muhamed what Egyptians think of Liberman. And again, there was nothing out of the ordinary in his discussion topic.
As the states around us collapse or struggle to survive, our media and our security brass spend the better part of their time telling us that Israeli society is dangerous. Our democracy is in danger. We are dangerous people. And we are making our neighbors angry.
As our elites obsess over Netanyahu’s coalition building and demand that the rest of the world obsess with them, we spend precious little time thinking about the long-term strategic implications of the revolutionary changes happening all around us.
Next week will mark the 16th anniversary of the IDF’s pullout from the security zone in south Lebanon. It will also mark the 16th anniversary of Hezbollah’s takeover of southern Lebanon.
Nine years ago, Hezbollah took control of the Lebanese government. Today the Iranian foreign legion is reputedly also in control of the Lebanese military.
In the 10 years that have passed since the end of the Second Lebanon War, former prime minister Ehud Olmert and his allies in and out of the military repeatedly argued that the quiet that has largely endured along the northern border proves that Israel won the war. Israel, they claimed, restored its deterrence. Hezbollah won’t dare to attack us again.
But it is far from clear that Israel is deterring Hezbollah. Since the war, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of 150,000 missiles that it points at Israel. These include precision-guided missiles with a range long enough to destroy targets in southern Israel. Hezbollah has installed a “missile room,” in every house and apartment in southern Lebanon.
Its offensive strategy is predicated on holding Lebanese civilians hostage.
Hezbollah acts this way because it knows that it can depend on the West. If Israel strikes its missiles, and so harms the civilians who defend its war machine, then Europe will condemn Israel and the US will sue for a cease-fire.
In other words, with its Western enablers, it is Hezbollah that is deterring Israel while it builds a capacity to paralyze the country.
And that isn’t even taking into account its plans for a ground offensive in northern Israel. To mark the 16th anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal, Hezbollah’s media mouthpiece As-Safir bragged this week about Hezbollah’s subterranean tunnels traversing the border. According to the paper, Hezbollah forces along the border with Israel “work day and night… conducting observations, preparing, and digging tunnels that cause the settlers and enemy soldiers to lose sleep.”
And again, if Israel strikes Hezbollah’s positions along the borders, the West will condemn us.
This then brings us to Hezbollah’s Palestinian twin, Hamas, which runs its own terrorist tyranny in Gaza.
On Tuesday Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold told the UN Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul that Hamas diverts 95 percent of the cement imported into Gaza to build offensive tunnels. Israel permits cement imports to facilitate the reconstruction of Gaza in the aftermath of the 2014 war.
Gold’s revelation naturally raises the question, why is Israel allowing Hamas to import cement? The answer is equally clear.
Israel continues to provide Hamas with the means to attack our citizens because we are afraid of international condemnation.
Like Hezbollah, under the protection of Western powers, Hamas has developed the means to deter Israel and force us to stand by or even assist as it reconstructs the war machine with which it will attack us.
This Western alliance with jihadist armies is not likely to be broken in the foreseeable future.
Given the demographic, political and social dynamics of the Western world, it is fairly clear that Western animosity is not a function of Israeli behavior.
As these dynamics become stronger, Western hostility is likely to grow. Even today, the West’s mistreatment of Israel reaches new heights seemingly on a daily basis.
This week, for instance, Israel was condemned by the UN’s World Health Organization. With the support of Germany, France, Britain and other EU member states, the WHO condemned Israel for carrying out fictional crimes against the health of the Palestinians and the Syrians.
It goes without saying that the WHO had nothing to say about Hamas’s use of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as its forward command post or the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons.
The time has come for Israel to reconsider its strategic position and options!!!
Ever since the since the PLO set up its state within- a-state in Lebanon in the 1970s, Israel’s policy for fighting sub-state actors has been to hold the state they operate within responsible for their aggression. So it was that when the PLO, or Hezbollah, attacked us, Israel retaliated against Lebanese targets. In so doing, Israel was able to avoid hitting the civilian targets the terrorists used as human shields for their aggression.
The idea was that by attacking the regime, Israel would be able to coerce it into curbing the terrorist armies itself.
Today, Hezbollah dominates the Lebanese government.
To the extent it operates at all, the Lebanese government serves as Hezbollah’s errand boy. The Lebanese government won’t rein in Hezbollah. If it tries to, its leaders will meet the same end as Rafik Hariri, and they know it. And the West will respond with the same paralysis as it did to Hariri’s assassination.
Just as Hezbollah dominates the Lebanese government, so Hamas dominates Fatah. And just as the Lebanese government serves as Hezbollah’s surrogate for attacking Israel in the diplomatic sphere, so the PLO uses international diplomacy to criminalize the Jewish state.
Under these circumstances, the first step Israel needs to take to develop a constructive strategy for defending itself is to recognize the nature of the threat and the hostile system operating against us. To do so, the first thing we need to do is cease our self-obsession. We are not the story.
We are not the engine of regional events.
For incoming defense minister Liberman this means that his primary task isn’t to convince Western powers that he wants peace.
His primary task is to develop a strategy for restoring deterrence.
At this point, deterrence cannot be restored through threats. Empty promises to raze Lebanon if Hezbollah again attacks us are no longer taken seriously. The only way to restore our deterrence is to weaken Hezbollah on the ground. And we cannot wait until Hezbollah starts the next war to do so.
Indeed, given the offensive capabilities Hezbollah has developed, we cannot afford to allow it to initiate the next war. We need to be the side that initiates the next round, on a battlefield that exploits our relative advantages.
How we strike and the means we choose to strike is for Liberman and the government to decide. Perhaps we can use stealth. Perhaps we can use surrogates. Perhaps we will need to invade southern Lebanon. But time is of the essence. With Western support, Iran will continue to expand its power throughout the region.
As for Hamas, in formulating a strategy for cutting the terrorist regime down to size, Israel should take a lesson from Syria. There are a half dozen Islamic State-like militias operating along the border on the Golan Heights. But they are too busy fighting one another to attack Israel.
Such militias operate in Gaza as well and are already engaged in an internecine battle with Hamas.
Israel should constantly check and diminish Hamas’s military capabilities to prevent it from rebuilding its arsenals and offensive capabilities.
It should also help to destabilize it as a coherent fighting group. The presence of other jihadist militia in Gaza facilitates the accomplishment of this goal.
Finally, Israel needs to realize that there is unlikely to be a clear-cut resolution of this struggle, at least in the next generation.
With the traditional Arab regimes still in place fighting for their survival, and Iran ascendant, Israel needs to assume that more terrorist regimes like Hezbollah, ISIS and Hamas will be formed from the wreckage of the Arab state system in the future. Instability, then, can be expected to remain a chronic condition of the Arab world.
The good news is that Israel has the capacity to adapt and forge constructive strategies for weakening and dividing our enemies. The bad news is that so long as we insist on obsessing over ourselves, we are unlikely to do so.
– / –
3. What to Expect From Israel’s New Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman
© AFP 2016/ Wolfgang Kumm
It was announced this week that one of Israel’s most polarizing political figures, the ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, will assume the post of Israeli Defense Minister.
Mr Lieberman — a former Israeli Foreign Minister and nightclub bouncer from Moldova — is known for propagating an array of controversial policies, such as the forced relocation of Israeli Palestinians into the Occupied Territories. Concerns have increased that his appointment to a significant government post may herald a new era of oppression against the Palestinians, and a more belligerent policy toward regional powers like Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to choose Lieberman and allow the Yisrael Beiteinu party to join the government has been met with scathing comments by Israeli officials, such as Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who bemoaned that “extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel.” Opinion polls indicate that the Israeli public is also ambivalent about the re-emergence of Lieberman, with 29% backing him, and 50% preferring Ya’alon.
‘Policies Remain the Same’
How much Lieberman’s presence will alter the dynamics of Israeli politics has become the object of much speculation. While the appointment of right-wing Lieberman is a blow to the centrist forces in Israeli politics, such as the ‘Zionist Union Party’ — which was slated for the coalition position until Netanyahu reneged and chose Lieberman — some analysts have argued that the situation for the Palestinians would remain dire, and Israeli regional policy confrontational, regardless of who fills the position of Defense Minister.
“People are talking about how this is the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, but it does not matter to the Palestinians if the government is right-wing, or left-wing; the policies remain the same, the injustices and grievances remain the same. So I don’t think that Lieberman will change anything on the ground that isn’t already happening,” political analyst Sharif Nashashibi told Sputnik.
There is however, due concern that some of Lieberman’s divisive rhetoric and policy prescriptions may worsen Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Most recently, Lieberman called for the imposition of a controversial bill allowing the death penalty of Palestinians who are convicted of “terrorism” — a term often vaguely applied to those resisting the occupation. He also infamously said that disloyal Israeli Arabs should be “beheaded.”
While Lieberman may not be able to call the shots over Netanyahu, he has often criticized the Prime Minister for “not being tough enough on terrorism,” and for not preventing the Iran nuclear deal.
There are concerns that Lieberman will pressure the government into a more aggressive military policy to demonstrate to his constituency that he can put words into action.
“Not only is Lieberman appealing to the most right-wing constituency in Israel, but he is a politician that needs to expand the outreach of his political party. Now that he is the Defense Minister, he needs to back his rhetoric with actions as far as his supports are concerned. It is difficult to imagine that as Defence Minister, Lieberman will abandon his style of politics and sideline his personal political ambitions,” Ramzy Baroud, a Palestinian scholar and journalist told Sputnik.
‘Shoot, Don’t Just Talk’
In terms of regional policy, Lieberman has shown more belligerency in his rhetoric than former Defense Minister Ya’alon.
In regards to Iran, he previously claimed that, “to deal with the Iranians, you need to know how to make difficult decisions. You need to shoot, don’t just talk.”
He has also followed the US neo-con position by saying that “Iran poses the most dangerous threat to the world order.” Such statements would suggest that Lieberman could be more willing to deploy the Israeli military than Ya’alon.
“Lieberman may make more strongly-worded statements vis a vis Iran or Syria, but in essence his view on policy toward those countries does not differ fundamentally from the rest of the Israeli government — it is one of confrontation. The difference is in the style of his rhetoric not the substance of the policies,” Nashashibi said.
Not a Military Man
Another point of concern is that Lieberman lacks the military experience of his predecessor, increasing concerns that he may unfit for making tough decisions on when to deploy the military. Professor llan Pappe, a scholar on Israel, said that, “the Israeli military are rightly worried that he [Lieberman] will send them on missions that not even they can accept. It could be a moment of truth for them, if they want to save what remains of Israeli democracy.”
Pappe’s comments are echoed by Baroud:
“What is particularly dangerous about Lieberman is that he doesn’t come from a military background. Military people tend to assess situations in a more realistic fashion, while demagogue politicians tend to pursue policies that appeal to their followers without carefully measuring the consequences of their actions. While the Israeli army has always been violent, it is consistent with the political mood of the country. Lieberman is likely to challenge that order, and engender further violence.”
It was only last month that Lieberman promised if he became Defense Minister, he would kill Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, calling on Haniyeh to “simply reserve a grave in the nearest cemetery.”
In the final moments of the interview, Pappe despairs at how, “despite his murderous language and violent policies, Lieberman has largely been tolerated by the US and the West in general.” He then expresses his certainty that, “now Lieberman is heading a violent institution [the Israeli army], he is very likely to leave a mark, and it will be a bloody one.”
One way or the other, Israel’s new Defense Minister will surely leave a mark — whether it will be a bloody one remains to be scene.
– / –
4. Warmonger or humanitarian? Getting to know Avigdor Liberman, Bibi’s enigmatic pick for defense minister
By Ron Kampeas
May 24, 2016
But Israel’s onetime foreign minister and maybe-next defense minister is not quite the cartoon he’s made out to be – OK, the cartoon he at times seems determined to make himself out to be.
As defense minister, Liberman would double to two the Cabinet ministers who have seriously considered a two-state outcome: himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is more deferential to the United States- Israel relationship than Netanyahu. And his posture toward Israel’s Arab neighbors is not all threat.
It’s time to review three areas where the once and possibly future member of the security cabinet has served as a voice for moderation – but also to keep in mind how his rhetoric undercuts his apparent restraint.
Two states for two peoples, or transfer and a recipe for unrest?
Liberman has spoken seriously and extensively about peace, and has in fact embraced two states, even though he rankled disability advocates a year ago when he called two-state advocates “autistic.”
One of his most radical ideas would crack the sequencing that famously helped scuttle the 2000 Camp David peace talks: Yasser Arafat, then the Palestinian leader, was considering embracing then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s proposals, but balked when he toured the Arab and Muslim worlds and was told he would be seen as a quisling if he agreed to Barak’s terms, particularly on Jerusalem.
Liberman’s solution: negotiate holistically.
Make peace with the Arabs and the Palestinians simultaneously.
It’s a plan that would allow the Palestinians greater leverage, should they coordinate with other Arab nations to extract concessions. That’s one reason why Netanyahu insists on direct talks, where Israel holds more cards. But, the thinking goes, it also could lead to a more stable and permanent peace in the region. Liberman, looking toward activating this plan, could keep Netanyahu focused on working with moderate Arabs in the region.
“The security advantage means cooperation with moderate nations, exchanging intelligence, joint efforts,” Liberman told Al Monitor in 2014.
“With regard to this facet, our partners could gain very nice inputs. And there’s also the economic sphere. I am convinced that one day, we’ll have embassies in Riyadh, in Kuwait, in the Gulf States and other places. The combination of our initiative, technology and knowledge with their tremendous financial reserves can together change the world.”
His proposal to swap heavily populated areas – Arab-heavy regions of Israel bordering the West Bank with Jewish-heavy portions beyond the Green Line – is what has stirred controversy. Liberman tries to make it sound like common sense: Jews want to live chez-eux, why wouldn’t Palestinians?
For one thing, not every Israeli Arab wants to live in a Palestinian state – subtle but deep-seated differences have emerged between the populations since 1948. Israeli Arabs have said they resent being considered as pawns.
For another, Liberman proposes paying Israeli Arabs to leave – a transfer policy that would undercut his hopes that Israel would no longer be an international “punching bag,” as he told Al-Monitor
Yuli Tamir, a former education minister, wrote in Haaretz in 2015 that Liberman’s plan sets dangerous precedents, by positing that minorities cannot exist with majorities, and by suggesting that majority Arab areas of Israel should seek sovereignty.
“If Israel consents to discuss a redrawing of its borders based on demographic criteria, it probably won’t be long before the Arabs of the Galilee (where they are currently a majority) and of the Negev (where in certain areas there is an Arab majority) may also question their belonging to Israel,” she said.
Avigdor plays nice, or is he just scared of the bigger bully?
Martin Indyk, who led the U.S. team that tried to broker Israeli Palestinian peace in 2013-2014, said Sunday on Twitter that Liberman was easier to work with than Moshe Yaalon, the man he would replace and who has been lionized by the left in the current political crisis as a defender of democracy.
“Lieberman says reprehensible things but I remember that he supported” U.S. Secretary of State John “Kerry’s peace efforts when Yaalon was insulting him,” Indyk said.
In 2013, attending the Saban Forum, organized by the “Brookings Institution”, he said it was best not to air differences publicly, advising the sides to “cool down the atmosphere.”
Liberman is known to be critical of Netanyahu’s at-times-confrontational posture vis a vis the U.S., believing the Israeli leader often seems too eager to get into it with Israel’s most powerful and important ally.
But that might also be a function of a natural bully deferring to the big kid on the playground. Liberman and his lieutenants have shown no compunction about insulting leaders of less imposing countries like Turkey, Sweden, Spain and France.
Yvet has a heart that’s so big! As big as the Aswan Dam!
Liberman, known by his Russian nickname Yvet, offered humanitarian assistance to Syria in 2012, as its civil war descended into chaos.
So he cares, right? Cares enough that in 2001, when Egypt was considering reintroducing forces in the Sinai, he said Israel should threaten to bomb the Aswan Dam – effectively, commit a major war crime.
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