Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekly Commentary: Keeping Netanyahu's Kitchen Hot

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date: 28 May 2009

Let's get this straight.

It isn't the fault of the people who pushed to break up coalition
governments when the leadership defied their mandates. The fault is with
the politicians who underestimated the consequences of breaking their
promises to their constituents.

The lesson, time and again, has also been that when a leader turns to act in
violation of his mandate, that time works against those who seek to stop

Now, that's not to say that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came back from
Washington resigned to ultimately march in lockstep according to President
Obama's orders.

Just that it should be made clear, for the benefit of all concerned, that
everyone in this game is considerably more experienced than the last times

Netanyahu certainly deserves credit for refusing to bow down and proclaim
his faith in the two-state religion - and for his very clear rejection of a
settlement freeze. But his remarks relating the outpost issue to Iran is a
dangerous precedent.

Now, while it is certainly the case that Prime Minister Sharon wrote of the
"removal of unauthorized outposts" in his 14 April 2004 exchange of letters
with President Bush, we also know that there are many outposts that lack
authorization because they are missing a few signatures on some paperwork.
The "removal of unauthorized outposts" ultimately applies, if we put our
minds to it, only to those outposts that have underlying legal impediments
that prevent their being authorized.

So the outpost story is considerably more complicated than an "all or
nothing " proposition.

How Netanyahu picks his way through this challenge will send a message to
his constituents as much as to Washington regarding his operating

Prime Minister Netanyahu may be calling, for the record, for Israelis to
back down on the outpost issue. But we all know that he needs for the
opposite to be the case.

The harder it is for him to do anything on the outpost issue, the easier it
will be for him to withstand pressure to compromise on the many other
matters on the table.

Sure it's hot in the kitchen.

But nobody forced him to take the job.

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