Friday, January 14, 2011

Lieberman is simply telling the truth

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 125, January 13, 2011, by Prof. Efraim Inbar, Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman takes a blunt approach to politics, one that is often met with resistance at home and abroad. But despite his not-very-diplomatic style, Lieberman's views on issues like the "peace process" and the Israel-Turkey relationship are representative of a large majority of the Israeli public, and his assessments are often right on the mark.

...The chances of reaching a comprehensive agreement in the near future with the Palestinians, within 12 or 36 months, are indeed nil, as Lieberman has pointed out. The Palestinian Authority is not willing to make any concessions in peace negotiations on Jerusalem or on refugees. It rejects recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation-state. Lieberman is correct also in pointing out that the PA lacks any legitimacy to close a deal with Israel. Abu Mazen’s corrupt regime relies on Israeli bayonets to defend it from Hamas. This is what Lieberman has said, and he is correct in his assessment.

Moreover, his views reflect the sober assessment of a large majority of Israelis. Even large swaths of the Israeli Left agree that there is no Palestinian partner for a full peace.

So why is it so terrible to tell the truth?

Similarly, Lieberman’s evaluation of the behavior of the current Turkish government is right on the mark. Turkey, under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, has not missed an opportunity to pick a fight with Israel over the past two years, and there is nothing Jerusalem can do but wait for better times. Erdogan-led Turkey is not interested in good relations with Israel, primarily because under his helm Turkey is distancing itself from the West and displaying a greater Islamic coloration in its foreign policy. Anti-Semitic sentiments also fuel the hostility toward Israel. Israelis agree with Lieberman’s refusal to be a "punching bag for Turkey." Thus, it makes no sense to apologize and pay compensation to those who sent IHH terrorists to help Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Actually, Lieberman’s assertion that it is Turkey which owes Israel an apology seems more logical. This probably makes sense to most Israelis, who witnessed the brutal treatment of Israeli naval commandos on the Turkish ship at the hands of so-called “peace activists.”

Similarly, Lieberman's promotion of a loyalty oath is well in synch with majority Israeli opinion. Israeli Arab leaders have become increasingly vocal and violent in their support for Palestinian irredentism – and Israeli Jews want to see them checked.

Most Israelis instinctively feel, as well, that the Ultra-Orthodox-controlled Rabbinate is much too narrow and unwelcoming in its approach to Russian-Israelis who want to convert to Judaism.

Another bingo for Lieberman.

Lieberman’s attack on left-wing NGOs being fifth columns is also striking a responsive chord among many Israelis that are fed up with Israel’s use of force being portrayed systematically as a human rights violation. After all, the IDF is making consistently great efforts to behave admirably moral.

The truth is often unpleasant. As a result, the seemingly noble and relentless search for an unavailable peace formula is preferred by many to acceptance of the bad news that there is no chance to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon. Incredibly generous Israeli concessions by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert did not bring about peace because of the Palestinians' insatiable appetite....
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