June 15, 2009
I don't envy Bibi.
After Obama's speech, there was very little he could say that would invite the kind of platitudes that his erstwhile but exceedingly naive predecessor garnered on his Cairo outing.
That said, I don't think the man did half as badly as many thought he would.
I believe that he stepped up to the microphone and delivered a speech that we as a Jewish nation can be justly proud of.
Bibi knows that whatever he says, he's going to put himself in the line of the fire. The rightists will never concede an inch of land and ideally speaking, they really shouldn't need to.The real world though says that we don't have much choice, not as long as the occupant of the White House is breathing down our necks waiting for our move.
The Palestinians of course rejected his offer of a demilitarized state and came up with the frankly ridiculous argument that we would be sticking them inside a ghetto. If anyone has the slightest knowledge of what consituted a ghetto like Warsaw or indeed Venice, they would know that this is a fatuous and indeed facile response. Then again, the Palis have never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity as Ebba Eban memorably stated.
I think that Bibi's speech was brave, forthright and on the mark. The truth is that, whether we like it or not, the only view that really counts is the one that emanates from inside the Oval Office. The BBC, Sky, CNN and yes, even the "wonderful" Europeans can talk as much rubbish as they like and dissect the ideas as though they were engaged in a Year 11 science project (frog included) - but this is all for nought.
Obama liked the speech and at the end of the day, we have no choice but to go along with what he wants, irrespective of whether or not we like his views.
You know me. I am a rightist. I believe in the entire land of Israel belonging to the Jewish nation. If I had my way, I would kick the Arabs (including the Israeli ones who wholeheartedly sympathise with the "Palestinian Cause", whatever that might be these days) into Jordan and give them their due heritage. I don't have an issue with our taking back our land. I also know that this is an impossible ideal which won't ever happen, at least until the arrival of the Messiah. So we have to deal with the next best thing - which is what Bibi and everyone else has admitted needs to be done.
I'm also wise enough to know that the Palestinians themselves are too divided and hell bent on destroying anything that is ever given to them - to agree to Bibi, Obama or dammit, every other well-wisher's proposals.They have a long history of, for want of a better phrase "shooting themselves in the foot". They have been offered a state on numerous occasions and failed to rise to the occasion, which is of course something they are repeating yet again with their rejection of the speech (unless of course this was a ploy on Abbas's behalf to pacify any of the Palestinians who are still listening to him).
Obama did make a valid point about future steps needing to be discussed in the dark recesses of the limelight's shadow. With the posturing over, Abbas might be interested in showing that he is the true leader and statesman his people are crying out for. History has shown that they have been short-changed time and time again - and if their continued love and admiration for a terrorist like Arafat is anything to go by, they're not going to get very far in their desire to prove themselves as an entity that Israel or the rest of the world will be bothered to engage with.
The ball, as they say, is squarely within their court. My feeling is that it is now lodged in a pit, halfway between the gateway and the door to the outhouse. The issue is whether the Palestinians have anyone in their ranks who is brave or indeed strong enough to kick over the wall into Israel or indeed the West itself.