Bibi? I Believe Him

Kadima's campaign advertisements harp on the credibility of Benjamin Netanyahu. They remind us of past instances when Netanyahu either did not speak accurately or did not tell the truth. "Bibi, I don't believe him," the ads say, but I actually do believe him.

I believe him because Netanyahu possesses an organized set of beliefs in both the foreign policy and the economic arenas. So one can catch him making inaccurate statements. That is not the point. His ideology is the key, and it is frightening and dangerous.

Netanyahu has never accepted the principle of "two states for two peoples." He does not believe in a negotiated solution to the conflict. He has no desire for any talks with the Palestinians. He is opposed to disengagement and he is opposed to withdrawal. He is seeking "might and not weakness," "war and not ingratiation." He is looking for force, and we know that when force doesn't work, use more force.

Bibi has no intention of relinquishing one square millimeter of West Bank land. He wants to do just the opposite, "to annex as much of the open space as possible," something like 50 percent, and to grant limited autonomy to certain towns and densely populated areas because he believes that any land that is evacuated will become a base from which radical Islam can operate against us. Every concession will play into the hands of Iran and Hamas. If we withdraw from the West Bank, Netanyahu says, missiles will threaten Ben-Gurion International Airport. And so Israeli settlements must be expanded, not evacuated, and of course we must retain the Jordan Valley as a security zone in the east.

Instead of peace and normal trade relations, Netanyahu is proposing "economic peace." This is a plan that could only be proposed by someone who views the Palestinians as an inferior race, creatures devoid of self-respect, who in exchange for a few factories along the border (where they will be put to work by Israeli effendis) will agree to abandon their national aspirations and be grateful to the enlightened occupier. Netanyahu wants us to believe this utter nonsense.

Netanyahu is consistent in these positions. He has never believed in a peace agreement. He opposed the Oslo Accords as a Knesset member and he smashed it to pieces as prime minister. He opened the Western Wall tunnel in Jerusalem immediately after he was elected prime minister in 1996, ushering in bloodshed on the West Bank and an end to the relations that were built with Yasser Arafat. He embarrassed and humiliated the Palestinian leader and failed to uphold Israel's part of the agreement, thus destroying any chance of an agreement.

It is this policy that he seeks to continue now, with the assistance of his natural allies: Avigdor Lieberman and Eli Yishai. This policy will inevitably lead to a clash with the American administration, as it is clear to all that President Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. Obama will not agree to a continuation of the policy of occupation and oppression that jeopardizes the peace of the entire world. A confrontation is inevitable, and its results will be harsh for Israel.

Netanyahu also has no intention of withdrawing from the Golan Heights. "I will not withdraw from the Golan in exchange for a piece of paper, particularly when there is complete calm there," he said.

It is hard to understand how somebody who fancies himself a statesman does not comprehend that we are talking about a deafening calm. Bashar Assad is waging a war of attrition against us through the support and arms he provides to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Syrian president is not acting directly against us on the Golan but he has thousands of advanced missiles targeting every point on the Israeli map. The calm to which Netanyahu alludes is reminiscent of statements made by Golda Meir and by Moshe Dayan on the eve of the Yom Kippur War to the effect that our situation was never better, quiet reigns on the border and there is no chance of an attack. And then came October 6, 1973.

In his remarks at the Herzliya Conference this week Netanyahu said Israel halted the Gaza operation too soon and should have liquidated the Hamas regime in Gaza. After all, we are experts at liquidation. In 1987 Likud liquidated the Peres-Hussein London Agreement, which would have handed control of the West Bank over to Jordan's King Hussein - a solution that any right-thinking person longs for today. In its stead, we got Yasser Arafat, with whom an agreement could have been reached, but Netanyahu chose to liquidate this option as well. Instead of Arafat, we got Hamas, and after Netanyahu "liquidates" it as well, we will get Islamic Jihad and, after that, Al-Qaida. Out of desperation, extremism is on the rise and the walls of hatred are high on both sides.

The vision of Netanyahu, Benny Begin, and Reuven Rivlin is one of hatred and blood. It will lead us from war to war, from intifada to intifada, from crisis to crisis. As such, the economy will not be able to flourish and society will not be able to heal its ills. All resources will go to the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service. Investors flee from such a country, as do youth, who will seek their future overseas. The world will boycott us and the economy will regress.

It is true that Egypt has thus far abided by the peace agreement, as has Jordan. But who can guarantee that this will be the case forever? The continuing occupation and oppression are liable to one day lead the entire Arab world to unite against us. And who can guarantee us that we will win that war? And if so, what will happen afterward? And after the next war? The loss of just one war would be sufficient to liquidate the Third Jewish Commonwealth.