Emanuel Shahaf

Clueless in Jerusalem

If one thing has become apparent after operation “Protective Edge” it is that nothing will cause this government to act and actually do something proactive of consequence. A local war with more than 2000 dead,  civil insurrection in Jerusalem, months of public feuds with the US government, alienating Europe parliament by parliament and all of them together, the peace agreements with Egypt and especially Jordan becoming rather tenuous, nothing gets to this Prime Minister and his government who either have no situational awareness whatsoever or are stir-crazy. In any case they are hardly qualified to run a country.

Vis-a-vis Gaza, a clueless Netanyahu wants to return to the status-quo, in other words he wants Hamas in Gaza, not shooting rockets. He preferrably wants all the rockets out of Gaza and is willing to concede a minimum relief of the closure in Gaza without saying so, just enough to placate the international community. He demands some kind of border control regime which would prevent the rearming of Hamas and is willing to give lip-service to let the Palestinian Authority participate in the most minor way in the implementation of what could be agreed upon. Other than that, Netanyahu couldn’t care less.

Netanyahu is clueless about the tortured inhabitants of the South of Israel, expecially those 40,000 who are threatened by mortar fire for which we don’t yet have effective defensive measures – he asks them to keep a stiff upper lip. For more than 10 years now they have been shot at and none of the right wing governments, those for whom our security is so important have seen it fit to deal with the issue once and for all through a political agreement. They have had enough.

Maybe the fact that many of the settlements in the South are agricultural communities, quite a few of them associated with the Labor movement has something to do with it. Maybe it is because they are located in the periphery which systematically gets the short end of the stick by this government. But let’s not kid ourselves – would the mortar fire be able to hit Kfar Shmarjahu or Raanana, we would likely have solved the problem years ago. Just like we solved the problem with the medium and long range rockets. We would have solved it technologically and if that was not possible, we would have found a compromise with the other side. After all, the heartland of the Start-up nation must be protected, the periphery less so.

In Jerusalem, burning as it may be, Netanyahu is clueless. He wants nothing more than to return to the status-quo but will do his carefully calculated share to make sure that nothing of the sort will happen. Tightening the screws on a population in the middle of a civil insurrection and playing games on the temple mount are just the things that will prevent calm from returning to the streets of the holy city

Netanyahu is clueless about us being on the other end of a war of Independence of the Palestinians who have, thanks to Hamas, finally understood that without the application of force, Israel will not concede an inch. He is clueless about this war continuing until the Palestinians have obtained their goal, a Palestinian state next to Israel within the 67 lines and mutually agreed upon land swaps. He is clueless that unless we reach a comprehensive solution, the West Bank will blow up, earlier or later, just like Gaza did and Jerusalem is beginning to. He is clueless as to the extent he is dragging Israel’s reputation as a Western liberal democracy through the dirt, for all to see. He is clueless about Jewish communities all over the world reeling under the collateral damage caused by our recent operation in Gaza. He is clueless about the extent to which Israel’s actions bring out and encourage every anti-Semite and then some and expose Jews all over the world to threats and dangers more than ever before.

He is clueless as to what extent Israel’s actions are splitting Jewish communities and are forcing them to take sides, for or against liberal democracy, in support of an Israel that may be fighting a just war or against one that insists on maintaining an unjust and illegal occupation. He is clueless to what extent the occupation is at the root cause also of the present crisis, and contributes to the pressure on the Jewish State while he insists on ignoring the demands of the international community. And he is clueless as towards the extent to which Israel’s strategic situation in the area has deteriorated, otherwise he would do something about the Saudi initiative.

Netanyahu couldn’t care less that more and more young Israelis, especially the educated ones that have choices, seek their future outside the country because there is just no horizon for Israel to be a normal country. If it’s a choice between a chauvinist Jewish Nation State that lives as an estranged entity among enemies and a liberal democracy living at peace with its neighbors, Netanyahu has made his choice. More and more Israelis are making their choice as well.



About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is Vice Chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chairman of the Israeli-German Society (IDG), Co-Chair of the Federation Movement (, member of the council at and author of "Identity: The Quest for Israel's Future".
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