Netanyahu's losing his way
The more the Gush Katif settlers understand that the die has been cast, with some coming to terms with relocating to within Israel, the stronger grows Netanyahu's support for the Yesha extremists, who are storming toward the Strip and banging on the gates of Gaza - and in so doing, he is losing his way.
Benjamin Netanyahu grabbed the opportunity, ahead of today's rally by the disengagement opponents, to try to demand at the cabinet meeting this week (on Sunday) that the people of the West Bank and Gaza be allowed to demonstrate "because protest is a basic right in a democratic state." His statement overflows with hypocrisy and pretense. After all, the heads of the Yesha Council themselves have repeatedly said that the event in question is not merely a demonstration but a plan to block the disengagement by means of exhausting the army and the police and a mass influx into Gush Katif - so that it will be impossible to implement the pullout. The intent is to undermine a government and Knesset decision and force the view of the minority onto the majority. Therefore, this is not a "legitimate demonstration," but an attempt to gnaw away at the foundations of the democratic regime.
Netanyahu's support for the unlawful activities of the Yesha Council joins a series of severe statements and actions on the part of someone who sees himself as a candidate for prime minister - a position that demands special responsibility.
Already back in 2004, Netanyahu, with several other ministers, managed to secure a government decision under which the withdrawal will require four stages - despite the great risk involved therein to the safety of the security forces and the settlers. In October of the same year, he tried to topple Ariel Sharon in a Knesset vote on the disengagement plan, but finally backed down in disgraceful fashion. He subsequently supported the razing of the homes and settlements to be evacuated. Presumably, he wants the images of Israeli bulldozers wreaking havoc and destruction to intensify the hatred toward Israel. After all, the status of the country means nothing as opposed to winning a few more points among the primaries' voters.
Netanyahu has turned further to the right recently. He voted in the cabinet in favor of postponing the pullout, and also came up with a proposal that borders on insanity - to send the Israel Defense Forces back deep into the Gaza Strip to carry out Operation Defensive Shield II in response to the Qassams fired at Sderot. Preventing the disengagement and toppling Sharon are all that matter.
Netanyahu calls the disengagement "oil for the wheels of terror," and foresees a Hamas state in Gaza that will step up its acts of terror and the launching of Qassam rockets - as predicted by right-wing extremists who opposed the withdrawal from Lebanon. The reality along the northern border is well-known. To turn the pullout into a failure, Netanyahu is also opposed to a withdrawal from the Philadelphi route. To bolster this unreasonable position, he is also opposed to Egypt assuming Israel's role in defending the route - because Egypt may manage to close off and stabilize the border.
The more the Gush Katif settlers understand that the die has been cast, with some coming to terms with relocating to within Israel, the stronger grows Netanyahu's support for the Yesha extremists, who are storming toward the Strip and banging on the gates of Gaza - and in so doing, he is losing his way. He's finding out that despite all his efforts, all his trickery, all his intimidations, there is good chance that the disengagement will turn into Sharon's big success story - and then what will become of him?