Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to New York this week in order to tell the truth. Here is the truth: Our situation has never been so dismal.
There have been more dangerous situations in the past - for instance, in the early 1950s, when Israel did not have a single strategic ally. There have been more infuriating situations in the past - for instance, in the mid-1970s, when the UN General Assembly ruled that Zionism is racism. But we have never been as pitiful as we are today. The grotesque foreign policy of Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has turned Israel into a pathetic and helpless polity.
The reason for this is simple. In war, the best defense is offense. In diplomacy, the best offense is giving. Only if you give something do you get something, acquire allies and increase your strength. But the Israel of Netanyahu-Lieberman is a tightfisted country that is incapable of giving. That is why it doesn't receive anything, doesn't acquire allies and is becoming dangerously weakened. It is losing one asset after another and one position after another, and is becoming totally isolated.
Let there be no misunderstanding: In the present children's game, the bad boy is the Palestinian one. Israel is still an occupying power, but Palestine is the aggressor.
While the State of Israel recognizes the nation-state of the Palestinian people, Palestine does not recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people. While the State of Israel offered the Palestinians former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's map, the Palestinians have not offered Israel defensible borders that will guarantee its existence. They still reject the only recipe for dividing the country: 1967 in exchange for 1948, realizing the right of self-determination in exchange for waiving the right of return.
The Palestinians, who rejected then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer a decade ago and rejected Olmert's offer three years ago, are the ones who, for the past two years, have refused to speak to Netanyahu. They were and are the real peace rejectionists.
But the very fact that the Palestinians are the bad children proves the extent to which Netanyahu and Lieberman are foolish children. It would have been so easy to tear the mask from the face of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It would have been so easy to prove that he is demanding even the piece of land on which Haaretz is located.
But in order to do so, Israeli imagination and creativity and daring were needed. It was necessary to offer an Israeli concession: to adopt the Olmert initiative or continue Ariel Sharon's disengagement or implement Shaul Mofaz's interim agreement.
None of these three routes would have led Israel to peace. But each of them would have improved Israel's situation in war. The battle would have been transferred to enemy territory; we would have retained legitimacy; and the Palestinians would have suffered isolation. Instead of being the world's punching bag, Israel would once again have been a serious political player whom the world is attentive to and takes seriously.
But Netanyahu and Lieberman did not follow any of these three paths. They did not initiate anything and did not offer anything and did not concede anything. All they have done for the past two years is withstand pressure and preserve their honor, preserve their honor and withstand pressure.
In so doing, they have served the Palestinian cause in a way no hostile statesman ever has. With their own hands, they turned Abbas into the hero he isn't. With their own hands, they turned Israel into a leper, which it must not be. The prime minister and the foreign minister have brought Israel to an unprecedented diplomatic nadir.
Now Netanyahu is begging U.S. President Barack Obama to save us from Gabon. It is quite possible that he will succeed.
Bibi is a champion at such gimmicks. He has all the necessary talents to be an excellent foreign minister.
But even if Palestinian hubris causes the Palestinians to fail in the Security Council, the basic picture won't change. Thanks to Netanyahu and Lieberman, the Palestinian state is now the darling of the international community. Thanks to Netanyahu and Lieberman, no country is more hated and despised than the Jewish state.
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