Israel Cannot Allow Itself Another Netanyahu Term

For three terms as PM, Netanyahu proved he has neither the ability nor the intention to solve the 47-year-old tragedy of Israel's occupation. He is unfit for the job.

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Netanyahu waves as he gives a speech during a campaign meeting ahead of the elections,  January 5, 2014, Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu waves as he gives a speech during a campaign meeting ahead of the elections, January 5, 2014, Tel Aviv.Credit: AFP

The Likud’s campaign launch two days ago highlighted Benjamin Netanyahu’s dilemma. His choice to focus his campaign on changing the system of governance and advancing the “biggest party” law was not accidental. For someone who has spent most of his years in office fighting to survive politically, it was a very logical choice.

Netanyahu’s suggestion would ensure that the leader of the largest party in the Knesset would form the government, and could not be taken out of office during his term. “Israeli politics are crumbling,” said Netanyahu. “We’re dividing into small parties, none of which could actually rule and run the country. We’re going for a dramatic move that would change the face of the country.”

But even if the biggest-party law were to pass, and the next government stood for four years, the dramatic change Netanyahu is talking about won’t happen if the person in charge remains someone unable to bravely deal with the difficult problems facing Israel, primarily the Palestinian issue. A 47-year-old occupation of millions of people is intolerable. A responsible prime minister must force a genuine effort to end this tragedy. For three terms as prime minister, Netanyahu proved he has neither the ability nor the intention to solve the problem, choosing instead the tactic of “managing the conflict,” which means stalling for time without action. Israel cannot allow itself another four years of stalling for time.

Netanyahu wasn’t satisfied only with advancing the “big-party law.” With demonic rhetoric reminiscent of his first term, he “analyzed” the motives of “the left,” which is interested in a diplomatic solution. “Not only are they weak, they want to give in,” he said of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Expanding his scope, he said, “This has been the way of the left for 20 years. The left is out of touch with reality, and we are in touch.”

But Netanyahu himself is out of touch, and worse, he is distancing Israel from reality as well. Under the guise of a realistic geopolitical outlook – “all territory evacuated is taken by terror groups with Iranian support” – he blows any possibility of a diplomatic solution out of the water, and is turning Israel into a pariah state. Governance is irrelevant when the government cannot lead the country to a better future. Netanyahu has proven again and again that he is not fit for the job.

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