If Only the World Punished Israel as It Does the Russians and the Swiss

The G8 has sacked Putin, and even the complacent Swiss are paying for their decision to close their borders to EU citizens. About Israel, the world keeps quiet.

Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid
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Putin and Netanyahu take part in a joint news conference in Moscow's Kremlin. November 20, 2013.
Putin and Netanyahu take part in a joint news conference in Moscow's Kremlin. November 20, 2013.Credit: Reuters
Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t dream of a greater achievement. This time, for a change, there’s no controversy.

When was the last time we had wall-to-wall harmony in this country, from Housing Minister Uri Ariel to Finance Minister Yair Lapid, from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to right-wing MK Orit Strock, from TV news analyst Udi Segal to his colleague Ehud Yaari? Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his cronies have broken the rules of the game.

What’s there to argue about? After all, it’s clear Bibi is innocent and Abu is guilty. Suddenly, a moment before the historic agreement, Abu Mazen disrupted the plans that Israel’s government had put on the table. The disappointment was so bitter that even Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has gone back to being hostile.

How in the world did such promising negotiations go wrong when approaching their happy end? Who knows as well as Netanyahu how to express himself so beautifully during a crisis? “Unilateral moves will be met by unilateral moves,” he told the cabinet, and not a minister had anything to add.

Once again he’s right, just as he was right when he said “If they give, they’ll get, if they don’t give, they won’t get.” That has always been the Netanyahu Doctrine. That’s his philosophy in a nutshell.

For 47 years things were run based on mutuality and consent, and now the other side is destroying everything from the ground up. We agreed against our will to occupy them, on condition they’d willingly agree to be occupied. We scattered settlements on every hilltop to give them jobs. We expelled and inherited, uprooted and interrogated, while respecting their right to self-abasement.

What did they ask of us that we didn’t give? And they, what did they give? They only know how to take. It can’t go on this way.

Abu Mazen has a lot to lose, let him beware. He could lose the silver platter on which, as a waiter, he serves bitter coffee and sweet tea. That’s the job that Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has designated for him when they enter the conference room.

Now we can reveal it: Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi party has a surprise for Mahmoud: an elegant, all-inclusive shoe-shine kit with brushes, shoe polish, rags and a low stool — for sitting at our feet. He can forget about gifts; he didn’t give, he won’t get.

Spring has arrived, Passover is here and we could have enjoyed life, both in Israel and abroad. But our troubles are only beginning. That strange John Kerry is blaming us for his infantile “oof,” and we have no choice but to declare him a hostile witness. And if that’s true of America, what about hostile Europe, which will soon put all the blame on us? That’s the world, which is always against us.

It’s an upside-down world. There’s no country like Israel, which is treated with kid gloves. The great Russia took over Crimea, and immediately steps were taken to punish it. NATO announced that it would no longer cooperate with the Red Army, the G8 sacked Putin, NASA broke off contacts, and the United States imposed sanctions on senior Kremlin officials and fellow travelers. Of course, one could argue that the sanctions are too moderate and that it’s not certain they’ll convince the czar. Still, things are starting to move.

Even the complacent and confident Swiss are paying for their decision in a referendum to close their borders to EU citizens. Swiss students won’t be able to take part in the prestigious Erasmus exchange program, and scientists won’t be able to compete for 100 billion euros in research funding. And there’s still room for more sanctions.

Only little spoiled Israel conceals illegal facilities in the absence of observers, ignores decades of decisions by international institutions, makes a mockery of conventions and agreements, and openly violates national and human rights. And the world keeps quiet.

They say there’s anti-Semitism around the world. So where’s that infamous sentiment when we urgently need a bit of it?



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