Opinion

The Shameful Deal That Haaretz Is Offering Netanyahu

The leftist justice system is drawing up its get-out-of-jail card for the prime minister, just as it did over 20 years ago with Ariel Sharon

Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on September 16, 2018
AFP

Donald Trump is about to present a plan for dividing Jerusalem, including the Old City and its surroundings. Also, many settlements would be uprooted and the Palestinians would get a demilitarized state, smaller than the one offered by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and certain Israeli prime ministers.

But this plan, unlike the others, is expected to have a chance. Why? Because this uninhibited man, Trump, could, unlike his predecessors, use a club against both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Benjamin Netanyahu is already showing signs that the club has been raised: He has declared that he’s willing to discuss “the two-state idea.”

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On the basis of these signs, Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn expressed apparent indecision between morality and realpolitik in his piece late last month, “Netanyahu Backs Future Palestinian State, Reigniting the Leftist’s Dilemma.” Since only Netanyahu can impose Trump’s plan on the right, a plan that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, shouldn’t the leftists forgive him for the cigars, Champagne and gourmet feasts?

This implies leftists should stop being purists and offer Netanyahu a deal: Take Trump’s plan and in exchange you’ll receive favorable press and a get-out-of-jail card for the corruption investigations. And in keeping with the Ariel Sharon precedent, the greater the uprooting the more support you’ll get.

Depicting the “leftist’s dilemma” as an internal conflict appears to convey the message that the left is capable of proposing, and mainly carrying out, the deal. Despite the left’s laments about the end of democracy, apartheid rule and the rise of fascism, despite being a minority, it still holds the real power. The “dilemma” also reflects the confidence of a group that deep inside still believes it’s capable of determining Israel’s fate via its almost-exclusive control of two critical areas – the media and the justice system.

Conversely, this confidence reflects the wretched state of these two areas, especially the justice system, which continues to do as it sees fit, including striking down corruption charges. So it was when an indictment submitted by then-State Prosecutor Edna Arbel against Sharon was annulled so as not to hinder him from carrying out the brutal uprooting from Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip. The uprooting resulted in a human disaster, and mainly security disaster, to this very day.

Now comes the indecent proposal to support and protect Netanyahu as well. Some people don’t learn or forget anything.

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Netanyahu and his family know this is a pragmatic proposal; it was made by people who could make an important, even definitive contribution to its implementation. After all, Haaretz is the bellwether leading the media herd, setting its course and bleating power. It’s also the pillar of fire advancing in front of the legal camp, protecting it and dictating the direction in which it must lead the country.

This hubris reflects the feeling deep inside the dilemma-stricken leftist that he’s the chosen one. He’s certain he can direct the justice system when a historic opportunity to uproot about 100 settlements outside the settlement blocs is at stake. To preserve this ability, the leftist is struggling furiously against the nation-state law, which could end the High Court’s role as a branch of the alternative political system, one that the leftists have fostered painstakingly for generations.

This is also the reason for the brutal pressure to strike this law down, despite the earthquake that would follow the revoking of a Basic Law. And the High Court, which would probably have to “obey” its “base,” may carry out hara-kiri and collapse. Then the prophecy of those envisioning the end of the rule of law would really come true.