Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin promised "many Elon Morehs," but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit.
This video should have been banned for broadcast to minors. This video should have been shown in every home in Israel, then sent to Washington and Ramallah. Banned for viewing by children so as not to corrupt them, and distributed around the country and the world so that everyone will know who leads the government of Israel. Channel 10 presented: The real (and deceitful ) face of Binyamin Netanyahu. Broadcast on Friday night on "This Week with Miki Rosenthal," it was filmed secretly in 2001, during a visit by Citizen Netanyahu to the home of a bereaved family in the settlement of Ofra, and astoundingly, it has not created a stir.
The scene was both pathetic and outrageous. The last of Netanyahu's devoted followers, who believe he is the man who will bring peace, would have immediately changed their minds. Presidents Barack Obama and Shimon Peres, who continue to maintain that Netanyahu will bring peace, would be talking differently had they seen this secretly filmed video clip. Even the objection of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to conducting direct negotiations with the man from the video would be understandable. What is there to discuss with a huckster whose sole purpose is "to give 2 percent in order to prevent 100 percent," as his father told him, quoting his grandfather.
Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin promised "many Elon Morehs," but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit, to mock America, trick the Palestinians and lead us all astray. The man in the video betrays himself in his own words as a con artist, and now he is again prime minister of Israel. Don't try to claim that he has changed since then. Such a crooked way of thinking does not change over the years.
Forget the Bar-Ilan University speech, forget the virtual achievements in his last visit to the United States; this is the real Netanyahu. No more claims that the Palestinians are to blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu exposed the naked truth to his hosts at Ofra: he destroyed the Oslo accords with his own hands and deeds, and he's even proud of it. After years in which we were told that the Palestinians are to blame, the truth has emerged from the horse's mouth.
And how did he do it? He recalled how he conditioned his signing of the 1997 Hebron agreement on American consent that there be no withdrawals from "specified military locations," and insisted he choose those same locations, such as the whole of the Jordan Valley, for example. "Why is that important? Because from that moment on I stopped the Oslo Accords," he boasts. The real Netanyahu also brags about his knowledge of America: "I know what America is. America is something that can be moved easily." For the White House's information.
He calls then-U.S. President Bill Clinton "extremely pro-Palestinian," and says the Palestinians want to throw us into the sea. With such retrograde beliefs, no one can convincingly argue that he wants an agreement.
These remarks are profoundly depressing. They bear out all of our fears and suspicions: that the government of Israel is led by a man who doesn't believe the Palestinians and doesn't believe in the chance of an agreement with them, who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes. There's no point in talking about Netanyahu's impossible rightist coalition as an obstacle to progress. From now on, just say that Netanyahu doesn't want it.
What if Kadima joins the government and Yisrael Beiteinu leaves? Nothing will change. What if Danny Danon goes leftist and Tzipi Hotovely joins Peace Now? Netanyahu doesn't want it.
If he had said so honestly, as he did when he thought the camera in Ofra was turned off, then he could have been forgiven for his extreme positions. It's his right to think that way and get elected for it. The people will have gotten what they chose. But when Netanyahu hides his real positions under camouflage netting and entangles them in webs of deceit, he not only reduces the chances of reaching an agreement, he also damages Israel's political culture. Many people may want a right-wing, nationalist prime minister, but a prime minister who is a con artist? Is is too much to expect of Netanyahu that he speak to us precisely as he spoke in Ofra? Why do a handful of settlers deserve to know the truth, and not us? Tell us the truth, Netanyahu. Talk to us as if the cameras were off, just as you thought then, in 2001 in Ofra.