Ceasefires Needed On All Fronts

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is not the only truce needed to restore peace for the Jewish state.  There are at least two others.

The Israeli cabinet looks like a circular firing squad as ministers take pot shots at one another and particularly at the Prime Minister, whose job each covets. It's gotten so bad that Bibi Netanyahu is reluctant to hold a Likud leadership vote because he could get dumped by his party's settler-nationalist wing. 

He had been hoping to ride victory in Gaza to a fourth term, but, the Jerusalem Post reports, growing frustration with his inability to bring a satisfactory conclusion to Operation Protective Edge is forcing him to change his plans.

On another and more critical front, there's a serious need for a ceasefire between Netanyahu and Barack Obama.  That's a diplomatic conflict that threatens to do long-term damage to their two countries' vital relationship.

There is a growing feeling in both capitals that Netanyahu goes out of his way to antagonize Obama and to damage their relationship, or at least undermine the American president, which is the same thing.

It is no secret that Obama considers Netanyahu and his national security team both reckless and untrustworthy while the prime minister feels the president is weak and naïve. Neither one is entirely wrong.

When Netanyahu told U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro that the American administration is "not to ever second guess me again" about Gaza, it reminded many people of Bibi's abrasive relationship with President Bill Clinton.

After one particularly contentious encounter in which Netanyahu reprimanded Clinton, an angry president told aides, “Who the f*** does he think he is? Who’s the f***ing superpower here?” according to ambassador Dennis Ross. Clinton’s press secretary, Joe Lockhart, who was there, described Netanyahu as “one of the most obnoxious individuals you’re going to come into – just a liar and a cheat.”

Netanyahu's attempts to paint the American president as hostile and weak are doing more damage to Bibi than to Obama, and the PM's stewardship of the American alliance and his ability to repair it will shape his place in the nation's history as a success or a failure.

There’s an old adage that nations don’t have friends, just interests. But if their leaders can’t tolerate each other – and let it show – it endangers the national interest of both countries.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.