Netanyahu-Lieberman conflict in Israeli government


Netanyahu cartoon

This video from Israel is called Why Netanyahu lost ground.

From Al Jazeera:

Netanyahu disowns minister’s speech

Israeli prime minister says foreign minister’s speech at the United Nations was “not co-ordinated” with his office.

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2010 17:49 GMT

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has distanced himself from foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman‘s speech at the United Nations, saying it “was not co-ordinated” with the prime minister’s office.

Lieberman told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement would take “decades”, and dismissed current talks between the two sides as unrealistic.

He said a deal would not happen until the Palestinians “raise an entire new generation that will have mutual trust and will not be influenced by incitement and extremist messages”.

The foreign minister also described Iran as the largest problem in the region, and said that “the Iranian issue must be resolved” before solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lieberman also presented a plan for what he calls a “population and territory swap”, which would see majority-Arab areas in Israel become part of a future Palestinian state. Critics have called the plan a population transfer, a scheme to evict the Arabs who make up some 20 per cent of Israel’s population. …

In July, Lieberman appointed a new acting ambassador to the UN without Netanyahu’s approval, a move the prime minister reportedly called unacceptable. The foreign minister also presented what he called a “Gaza disengagement plan”, which would see Israel completely seal its border with the Gaza Strip.

Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party is the second-largest member of Israel’s governing coalition, behind only Netanyahu’s Likud party.

See also here.

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5 thoughts on “Netanyahu-Lieberman conflict in Israeli government

  1. Israeli security forces practice suppression and mass detention of Israel’s Arab citizens, in implementation of Lieberman’s “population exchange” program.

    Gush Shalom: It seems Lieberman is Israel’s true Prime Minister

    This week Israel’s security forces practiced the putting down of mass demonstrations and protests among Israel’s Arab citizens and their imprisonment in a large detention camp to be established at Golani Junction in Galilee. The exercise was based on a scenario of the riots being provoked by implementation of Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for “an exchange of populations”, i.e. massively depriving Arabs of their Israeli citizenship. A week ago Lieberman voiced this heinous idea on the podium of the UN Assembly General and Prime Minister Netanyahu murmured some weak reservations. Now it turns out that the security forces are already preparing to implement it in practice, under the responsibility of none other than Labor Party leader Ehud Barak – the Minister of Defence.

    It goes without saying that in a country having any pretence to be a democracy it would be unacceptable and unthinkable for the security forces to practice waging war against the country’s own citizens. Together with the racist “Loyalty Oath Bill”
    which gained the support of the government, and with the demonstrative resumption of settlement construction in the Occupied Territories, it increasingly seems that Lieberman is the true Prime Minister, and that the government follows on his path, leading the State of Israel in big and rapid strides into the abyss.

    Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson 03-5565804 or 054-2340749

    Hebrew source http://www.iba.org.il/bet/?type=1&entity=680286

  2. Uri Avnery
    09.10.10

    His Father?s Boy

    WHICH IS the real Netanyahu?

    - Bibi the weakling, the invertebrate, who always gives in to pressure, who zigzags to the left and to the right, depending whether the pressure comes from the US or from his coalition partners?

    - The tricky Likud chief, who is afraid that Avigdor Ivett Lieberman might succeed in pushing him towards the Center and displace him as the leader of the entire Right?

    - Netanyahu, the man of principle, who is determined to prevent at any cost the setting up of the State of Palestine, and is therefore using every possible ruse to sabotage real negotiations?

    The real Netanyahu ? stand up!

    Hey, wait a minute, what?s going on here? Do I see all three of them rising?

    ?

    THE FIRST Netanyahu is the one who meets the eye. A leaf in the wind. The con man without principles and with plenty of tricks, whose sole aim is to survive in power.

    This Netanyahu practically invites pressure on himself.

    Barack Obama pressured him, so he agreed to the settlement freeze ? or the perceived settlement freeze. In order to avoid a crisis with the settlers, he promised them that after the agreed ten months, the construction boom would be resumed with full vigor.

    The settlers pressured him, and he did indeed resume the building at the appointed time, in spite of the intense pressure from Obama, who pushed for an extension of the moratorium for another two months. Why two months? Because the congressional elections take place on November 2, and Obama desperately needs to avoid a crisis with the Jewish establishment before that. For this end, he is ready to sell Netanyahu the whole inventory ? arms, money, political support, a set of guarantees about the outcome of the negotiations that have not yet even begun. Sixty days! sixty days! my kingdom for sixty days!

    Netanyahu is now zigzagging between these pressures, trying to find out which is the stronger, which one to give in to, how much and when. In his dreams he probably feels like the Baron von Munchhausen, who found himself on a narrow path, with a lion behind him getting ready to spring and a crocodile in front of him opening its awesome jaws. (If I remember right, the baron ducked and the lion jumped straight into the jaws of the reptile.)

    This is the great hope of Netanyahu. AIPAC will help to deliver Obama a crushing defeat in the elections, Obama will deliver a crushing blow to the settlers, and Baron von Netanyahu will rub his hands and survive to fight another day.

    Is this the real Netanyahu? For sure.

    ?

    BUT THE second Netanyahu is no less real. This is Tricky Bibi who is trying to out-fox Tricky Ivett.

    Lieberman astounded the UN General Assembly, when, as the Foreign Minister of Israel, he addressed this august body from the rostrum.

    Because our Foreign Minister did not rise to defend the policies of his country, as did his colorless colleagues. Quite the opposite: from the UN rostrum he vigorously attacked the policy of his own government, giving it short shrift.

    The official policy of the Government of Israel is to conduct direct negotiations with the Palestinian leadership, in order to achieve a final peace treaty within one year.

    Nonsense, said the Foreign Minister of that same government. Rubbish. There is no chance at all of a peace treaty, not within a year and not within a hundred years. What?s needed is a Long-Term-Interim-Agreement. In other words, the continuation of the occupation without time limits.

    Why did Lieberman give this performance? He was not addressing the few delegates who had remained in the UN assembly hall, but the Israeli public. He challenged Netanyahu: either dismiss me or pretend that the spittle on your face is rain.

    But Netanyahu did not dismiss and did not react, except for a weak statement that Lieberman was not expressing his views. And this why? Clearly, if Netanyahu were to kick Lieberman?s party out of the government and bring in Tzipi Livni?s Kadima Party, Lieberman would do to Netanyahu what Netanyahu did to Yitzhak Rabin. He would declare him a traitor selling out the fatherland, an enemy of the settlements. His devotees would parade around with posters of Netanyahu in SS uniform or wearing a keffiyeh, while others performed arcane Kabbalah rituals to bring about his death.

    Lieberman would raise the flag of the Right, split the Likud and take sole possession of the entire Israeli Right. He believes that this is the way to become Prime Minister.

    Netanyahu understands this perfectly. That?s why he is restraining himself. As a man who grew up in the United States he probably remembers what Lyndon Johnson said about J. Edgar Hoover: Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, then outside the tent pissing in.

    ?

    AND PERHAPS this Netanyahu ? the second one ? does not really object to the plan outlined by Lieberman at the UN assembly.

    The Foreign Minister was not content with rejecting peace and bringing up the idea of the Long-Term-Interim-Agreement. He described the solution he has in mind. Not surprisingly, it is the electoral platform of his party, Israel Beytenu (“Israel Our Home”). In essence: Israel, the “Nation-State-Of-The-Jewish-People”, will be free of Arabs, or, translated into German, Araberrein.

    But Lieberman is a humane person, and does not advocate (at least in public) ethnic cleansing. He does not propose a third Naqbah (after the 1948 Palestinian catastrophe and the 1967 expulsion). No, his solution is far more creative: he will separate from Israel the Arab towns and villages along the Eastern border, the so-called “triangle”, from Umm al-Fahm in the North to Kufr Kassem in the South This area, together with its inhabitants and lands, would be joined to the territory of the Palestinian Authority, and in return Israel would annex the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    That raises, of course, several questions. First, what about the Arab concentrations in Galilee, which include dozens of villages, towns like Nazareth and Shefa Amr, and the Arab population in the mixed towns, Haifa and Acre? Lieberman does not propose to transfer them too. Neither does he propose to give up East Jerusalem, with its quarter of a million Arab residents. If that is the case, is he prepared to leave in the “Nation-State-Of-The-Jewish-People” more than three quarters of a million Arabs? Or does he dream at night, lying in his bed, of conducting ethnic cleansing after all?

    A second question: to whom will he transfer the Arab towns and villages of the ?triangle”? Without a peace treaty, there will be no Palestinian state. Instead, there will remain the Palestinian Authority, with its few small enclaves all subject to Israeli occupation. The Long-Term-Interim-Agreement would leave this situation, more or less, intact. Meaning that this area, now part of Israel, would become a territory under Israeli occupation. Its inhabitants would lose their status as Israeli citizens and become an occupied population, devoid of civil rights and human rights.

    As far as is known, not a singe Arab leader in Israel agrees to that. Even in the past, when it seemed that Lieberman agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state and wanted to transfer to it the Arab areas of Israel, not a single Arab leader in Israel agreed. The Arab citizens of Israel, a population approaching a million and a half, are indeed a part of the Palestinian people, but they are also a part of the Israeli population.

    Netanyahu is certainly afraid of Lieberman, but can it be that he did not condemn Lieberman?s UN speech because he secretly shares his views?

    In any case, this week Netanyahu announced that he is adopting Lieberman?s baby, the demand that non-Jewish (meaning Arab) people who wish to obtain Israeli citizenship swear allegiance not just to the State of Israel and its laws, as is usual, but to “Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”. This is a nonsensical and meaningless addition, solely devised to provoke the 20% of Israelis who are Arabs. One might as well demand candidates for US citizenship swear allegiance to the “United States as a White Anglo-Saxon Christian and democratic nation”.

    ?

    BUT IT is quite possible that there is a third Netanyahu, who stands taller than the others.

    This is the Netanyahu who always believed in a Greater Israel, and who has never given up the ideology which he suckled with his mother?s milk.

    The veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Samet goes further: he believes that Binyamin Netanyahu?s main motivation is his total obedience to his old father.

    Ben-Zion Netanyahu is now 100 years old, and in full possession of his mental faculties. He is a professor of history, born in Warsaw, who came to Palestine in 1920 and changed his name from Mileikowsky to Netanyahu (“God has Given”). He has always been on the extreme right-wing fringe. Ben-Zion Netanyahu spent several periods of his life in the US, where his three sons grew up. When in 1947 the UN General Assembly adopted the plan to partition Palestine between a Jewish state and an Arab state, father Netanyahu signed a petition, published in the New York Times, condemning the resolution in the strongest terms. Returning to Israel, he was not accepted into the new Freedom Party (the forerunner of Likud), because his views were too extreme even for Menachem Begin?s tastes. He claims that he was barred from a professorship in the Hebrew University because of his opinions, and his bitterness about this poisoned the atmosphere at home.

    The professor?s special field is Spanish Jewry, with the emphasis on the Spanish Inquisition. He condemns the Jews who were baptized (the Marranos) and says that the great majority of them were eager to be assimilated into Christian Spanish society, contrary to the official heroic myth, which says that they continued to practice the religion of their forefathers in secret.

    When Netanyahu the son transferred a part of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority, his father rebuked him and stated publicly that he was unfit for the job of Prime Minister, fit at most to serve as Foreign Secretary. But the son made a huge effort to remain true to his father?s views, and that is the main motivation for his policy. According to Samet, he would not dare to face his father and tell him that he had given away parts of Eretz Israel.

    I tend to accept this version. Netanyahu will never agree to be responsible for the establishment of the State of Palestine, will never conduct serious peace negotiations ? unless under extreme duress. That is all there is to it, everything else is hollow talk.

    If the real Netanyahu were called to stand up, all three, and perhaps a few more, would rise. But the third one is the most real.

    permlink: ?http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1286625396

  3. Uri Avnery
    16.10.10

    The State of Bla-Bla-Bla

    WILL GERMANY enact a law that demands that every Turk aspiring to citizenship swear allegiance to the “German Federal Republic, the Nation-State of the German People”? Sounds like a ridiculous idea.

    Will the US Senate adopt a law that would compel every candidate for citizenship to swear allegiance to “The United States of America, the Nation State of the…” Of whom? “The American People”? “The Anglo-Saxon People”? “The Christian People”? An absurd idea.

    But the Knesset is about to enact a law that demands from every non-Jew who desires Israeli citizenship to swear allegiance to “The State of Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish people”. It seems that our benighted law-makers do not see anything questionable about this.

    And there already hovers in the air a bill that demands that all Israeli citizens, or perhaps only the non-Jewish ones, swear allegiance to this Nation-State of the Jewish People, or else.

    Binyamin Netanyahu has proposed extending the building freeze in the settlements for two or three months – if the Palestinian leadership recognizes the State of Israel as the Nation-State etc. etc.

    And one may well ask: what is the source of this obsession, this demand from near and far, strangers and non-strangers, to declare that Israel is the “Nation-State of the Jewish People”?

    The State of Israel has already existed for 62 and a half years. It is a regional military power, a state with nuclear capabilities, with an economy that arouses envy in a world steeped in crisis, it has a dynamic cultural, scientific and social life. So why this obsessive need for confirmation of its existence and its ideological definition?

    Why the fanfares accompanying the announcement of every second-rate artist who agrees to appear in Israel?

    What do we have here? What is the reason for this gaping lack of self-confidence? This obsessive need for confirmation and for the respect of the entire world? A collective mental disturbance? A matter for political psychologists, or perhaps for political psychiatrists?

    I CANNOT abstain from comparing this pathetic need to our mood when I was young.

    In the middle of the 1940s, the Hebrew Yishuv (community) was about 600 thousand strong. But our self-confidence was enough for a nation of 60 million.

    We had no state. We were still fighting against foreign rule. But a large number of ideological groups were hatching grandiose plans. The “Canaanites” were speaking about “the Hebrew Country” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates. Groups on the Right advocated the “Kingdom of Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. The “Bema’avak” (“In the Struggle”) group (to which I belonged) spoke about a united “Semitic Region” that would include Palestine, all the Arab countries and perhaps also Turkey, Iran and Ethiopia. A local water expert published a plan for the rational division of the waters of all the region’s rivers – Tigris and Euphrates, Orontes and Litani, Jordan and perhaps also the Nile – for the good of all the region’s peoples. Nobody thought that these plans were an expression of megalomania.

    And here we are now, 12 times larger. We have a state that most of the world’s peoples can only envy. And we are begging to be recognized. We demand that the Palestinian people, which has no state yet, recognize our self-definition. That a bride from Ramallah, who wants to marry her cousin in Haifa, recognize the “Nation-State of the Jewish People”. Isn’t that ridiculous?

    NOW REALLY, cynics will say, why do you take this seriously? After all, it’s only one of Binyamin Netanyahu’s and/or Avigdor Lieberman’s tricks to achieve personal gains.

    That’s true, of course.

    Netanyahu uses this trick to sabotage the peace negotiations that haven’t yet started. He wants to prevent negotiation that may, God forbid, lead towards peace – a peace that would compel us to evacuate the settlements and return the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

    The peace negotiations are the enemy. Better to kill an enemy while he is still small, preferably even before he sees the light of day. The demand to recognize the State of Bla-Bla-Bla is an instrument of abortion.

    If Netanyahu believed that this aim could be achieved by the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Vegetarian State, he would propose that.

    So why deal with it seriously and discuss it?

    Avigdor Lieberman speaks to his potential voters, headed by one and a quarter million immigrants from the Soviet Union, who have not yet struck roots in this country. They were raised on a totalitarian cult of power, internal terror and the super-power arrogance of their former homeland, before its collapse. Lieberman’s political ideas – an ideological oath of allegiance, the transfer of peoples and territories, and in future also gulags for the enemies of the regime – are taken from the mental world of Stalin.

    For Lieberman, all this talk about an oath of allegiance to the Jewish Soviet is nothing but a means to gain the leadership of the Israeli Right, and from there to the leadership of all Israel. For this end he is ready to declare war on 20% of Israel’s citizens – every fifth Israeli – something without precedent in a democratic country.

    That’s obvious. So why take it seriously?

    For a simple reason: both Netanyahu and Lieberman are convinced that this demand will raise their popularity among Jewish Israelis by leaps and bounds. How come?

    Is this public in the grip of a deep inner anxiety? Does it need a daily dose of tranquilizers in the form of recognition of its state, the State of Bla-Bla-Bla?

    IF I were asked to swear allegiance to the “Nation-State of the Jewish People”, I would have to respectfully decline. Perhaps by then a law will be in force that will cancel the citizenship of Israelis who refuse this demand, and I shall be demoted to the status of permanent resident devoid of civil rights.

    I would have to refuse so as to avoid lying.

    First of all, I don’t know what the “Jewish people”, to which the state of Israel supposedly belongs, is. Who is included? A Jew in Brooklyn, a citizen of the Nation-State of the American People, who served in the Marines and votes for the American president? Richard Goldstone, who is denounced by the leaders of Israel as a liar and self-hating traitor? Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, who was told this week by Lieberman to solve the Burka problem in France instead of poking his (Jewish) nose into our affairs?

    And how does the ownership of Israel by these Jews express itself? Will they be able to vote for our government (after this right has been taken away from a million and a half Arab citizens)? Will they determine the policy of our government – joining the Jewish billionaires, casino and brothel owners, who own our newspapers and TV stations and buy our politicians wholesale or retail?

    No Israeli law has defined what the “Jewish people” is. A religious community? An ethnic group? A race? All these together? Does it include all those professing the Jewish religion? Everybody who has a Jewish mother? Does it include a non-Jew married to someone with one Jewish grandparent, who today enjoys the automatic right to come to Israel and become a citizen? If 100 thousand Arabs were to convert to Judaism tomorrow, would the state belong to them, too?

    And what about the confusion between “Nation” and “People”? Does the Nation-State belong to the “Nation” or to the “People”? According to what scientific or juridical definition? Does the German “Nation-State” belong to the German “People” – which, according to some, also includes the Austrians and the German-speaking Swiss?

    We have here a knot of concepts, terms and semantic confusions, a knot that cannot be unraveled.

    THE FORMER Minister of Justice, the late Yaakov Shimshon Shapira, a Zionist through and through, told me once that, as the Legal Advisor of the government, he had advised David Ben-Gurion not to enact the Law of Return – because he would never find an answer to the question “who is a Jew”. It is even more difficult to answer the question “what is a Jewish State”.

    And indeed, what does it mean? A state in which there is a Jewish majority – something that may well change in time? A state whose language is Hebrew and whose official holidays are Jewish? A state that belongs to the Jews all over the world? A state all of whose citizens are Jews, and Jews only? A state of transfer and ethnic cleansing? And how do the words “Jewish” and “Democratic” go together?

    Because of all these questions, Israel has no constitution. In the absence of such, all the confusion will land in the lap of the Supreme Court (after the Arab judge has been removed, of course.)

    THIS WEEK I took part in the demonstration of writers, artists and intellectuals in Tel-Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, in front of the building where Ben-Gurion announced on May 14, 1948, the founding of “a Jewish state in Eretz Israel – to be known as the State of Israel”.

    Why “a Jewish state”? For Ben-Gurion, this was not an ideological definition. He just quoted the resolution of the UN General Assembly, which partitioned the country between an “Arab state” and a “Jewish state”. The framers of the resolution did not have any ideological character in mind. They simply took note of the fact that there were in the country two rival populations – the Jewish and the Arab – and decided pragmatically to divide the country between them.

    The demonstration reached its climax when the queen of the Israeli stage, Hanna Meron, who had lost a leg in 1970 in an attack initiated by Issam Sartawi (before he became a peace activist and a close friend of mine) read out the Israeli Declaration of Independence. She reminded us that the declaration included the undertaking that the State of Israel would “foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; and will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

    It was a sad demonstration indeed.

    permlink: http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1287228746/

  4. Press Release 10/19/2010

    Dutch police raided the offices of a company leasing cranes for building the West Bank Separation Fence and settlements. Company executives, including the Israeli Doron Livnat, may face trial for violating International Law. Dutch government warned the Riwal Company two years ago not to engage in construction in the Occupied Trritories. Gush Shalom: another warning sign of the abyss of international isolation into which the Government of Israel leads us

    A few days ago, the Dutch police’s National Crime Squad raided the offices of the Riwal Holding Group in the city of Dordrecht, confiscating computers documents relating to the leasing of cranes owned by the the company’s Israeli branch for the construction of the “Separation Wall” and of settlements in the Occupied Territories. Police findings have been passed on to the Dutch State Prosecution, which should decide whether or not to prosecute the corporate executives – including the Israeli businessman Doron Livnat – on charges of violating International Law.

    The affair started with the 2004 ruling by the International Court in The Hague, which determined that construction of the “Separation Wall” within the West Bank territory constituted a violation of International Law, and that if Israel wants to build a border fence to prevent infiltration into its territory it should have been placed on the border, i.e. on the Green Line. Accordingly, the International Court judges called for upon all UN member states and Geneva Convention signatories not to cooperate with erection of the Wall and to prevent their citizens from any such cooperation.

    In 2006, a Dutch television crew filmed cranes active in construction of the Separation Fence and of settlements, which bore the Riwal Company logo. Dutch Labour Party MP’s raised the issue and addressed parliamentary questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As a result, the Dutch Government in 2008 warned the Riwal company not to engage in activities at the Occupied Territories. But the organization “United Civilians for Peace” in Amsterdam found evidence that the company ignored the government warning and continued this activity.

    Last year the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq of Ramallah engaged the Dutch law firm Bohler. On its behalf, Adv. Liesbeth Zegveld lodged this year a complaint to the legal authorities. The raid on the Riwal Dordrecht offices is a tangible result of this activity.

    Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, regards this episode as yet another alarming sign of Israel’s deteriorating international position, fast slipping down to a disastrous total isolation. “A decade ago, authorities in the Netherlands would not have considered taking such measures. The Israeli Government, renewing settlement construction, promoting loyalty oaths and ever new provocations, confronts the entire the world, alienates Israel’s best friends and takes us on a mad gallop into the abyss”.

    Riwal is the largest company in the Netherlands in the field of building cranes, and among the largest in the world. The Riwal Israel Company, active also under the name “Lia Holding”, was in the news a few years ago when a business dispute between it and the competing “Avi Cranes” escalated into violence and the setting of cranes on fire.

    Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson 03-5565804 or 054-2340749

    Background:
    http://www.unitedcivilians.nl/documents/docs/UCP_research_Riwal_and_the_Wall.pdf
    http://www.khl.com/magazines/access-international/detail/item58754/

    http://www.alhaq.org/etemplate.php?id=552

  5. Pingback: Israeli elections today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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