Only in Israel, only in a community lacking all self-respect, are such reactions possible: Members of both the American Houses of Congress applaud the prime minister of the Jewish state, rising to their feet time after time to emphasize their agreement with what he says, and the hearts of most Israeli commentators turn sour. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dared to present his plan and no, not as they have been trying to dictate for years, not their plan. And therefore, "There is no Israeli plan."
The peak of the fury came when Netanyahu declared, to the sounds of the most prolonged applause registered during the entire speech, that the Jewish people has an ancestral right to the land of its forefathers and it is not an occupier in Judea and Samaria (and he even dared speak aloud the ineffable names of these tracts of land ). And if Congress so sweepingly adopts the Jewish right to the land, where are all those Israelis coming from, who for years have been explaining to the world that this is occupied territory? It seems some of those members of Congress felt regret, far more than Jews in Israel, when Netanyahu declared that despite our historical and religious ties to the places where the Jews became a people, Israel is prepared to give up, for the sake of a permanent status agreement, parts of its historic homeland. This was, without a doubt, one of the smaller days for politicians and commentators in Israel. Smallest of all was Kadima MK Shaul ("the Likud is our home" ) Mofaz, a political panhandler, who accused Netanyahu of suppressing every hope for peace. And Amram Mitzna: Netanyahu is endangering the state of Israel.
To my total chagrin, Netanyahu did sketch a clear, though at this stage general, outline of concessions. The gist as I interpret it: The head of the Likud is giving up the heart of the land of our forefathers. And a Palestinian state will arise there. And there will be settlements that will not be inside Israeli territory. And along the Jordan there will be security arrangements and not Israeli sovereignty.
Netanyahu's opponents, who prayed that U.S. President Barack Obama would bring him to his knees, are full of frustration at his having succeeded in winning the heart of Congress and moderating the pressure from the White House. Is it any wonder the Palestinians waited for the disappointed reactions in Israel in order to recite them in their entirety?
The aim of the pens that took aim at Netanyahu was to minimize his important diplomatic achievement. They cannot forgive him for having proved that also standing on basic principles can enlist America's support, and to that end there is no need for total surrender. They will not forgive him for not having presented in Congress, the Channel 2 commentators' political doctrine or the leading Army Radio broadcasters' identification with the Palestinians.
Israel has been lucky, and there exists in the world one legislature in which there aren't elements trying to undermine its existence, and where there aren't people who participate in Hezbollah and Hamas conferences and express open support for terror and Israel's enemies. It has also been lucky that some influential media organizations remain supportive of Israel. Fox News, for example. Even CNN did not hesitate to heap praise on Netanyahu. And The Washington Post last week attacked Obama for his attitude toward Israel.
Only from them did we not hear again and again that "Congress does not determine foreign policy."
If we had a responsible opposition here, all parts of the nation, certainly those who do not want total surrender to Obama, would have to congratulate themselves on the prime minister's success in Washington. Most regrettably, this is not the case when it comes to the opposition in Israel.