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Netanyahu on Jerusalem



A rainbow, symbol of the covenant of God with man, appears over Jerusalem.

On August 5, 1994 [hence 21 years ago] , I published an aticle entitled “Profile Without Courage.”  The article contrasts the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to Yasser Arafat’s calling for a jihad against Jerusalem while referring to the [September 1993 Oslo or] Israel-PLO Agreement as a “temporary” affair.

Jerusalem then…

Here is what I wrote, in part:

Only the benighted were surprised by Arafat’s brazen violation of that agreement, which requires the PLO to renounce terrorism and recognize the State of Israel [which Bibi is still demanding, but now of Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas!).  So, what would a courageous and honorable Prime Minister do in response to Arafat’s war cry?  This and only this:  He would renounce his Government’s agreement with the PLO as no longer binding and resign!

Unsurprisingly, Rabin did nothing more than blink….

[Meanwhile] Netanyahu displayed his profile in the United States. There he addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.  To this hodgepodge of Jews wandering in the wilderness, Israel’s would-be champion declared: “[Jerusalem] is not a partisan issue.  Jerusalem belongs to all the Jewish people.  You must adopt this asthe year of Jerusalem, and wage a vigorous moral and political battle to insure that its status as Israel’s eternal and undivided capital remains inviolate.”

Netanyahu then urged American Jews to lobby the Clinton Administration to revise the anachronistic U.S. views about the status of Jerusalem.  This, more than anything else,” he said, will convince the Arabs to tone down their unrealistic expectations regarding Jerusalem.”  Note, first, the inanities and oxymorons.

  1. If Arab expectations regarding Jerusalem are “unrealistic,” why should Netanyahu take the issue to Jews in America and implore them to rally to the cause of Israel’s retention of its eternal and undivided capital?
  2. Besides, what is there in Israel nowadays that makes Arab expectations ‘unrealistic’?  After all, not only has the Rabin-Peres junta repeatedly capitulated to the Arabs, but Likud leaders, including Ariel Sharon, have done nothing to prevent this betrayal of the Jewish people – aside from making vacuous speeches.
  3. Moreover, is it not obvious that Arab expectations concerning Jerusalem are far more realistic than Netanyahu’s expectations regarding Washington?  Is it realistic – nay, is it not puerile – to expect the Clinton Administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?

Is it not a confession of impotence, of intellectual and moral bankruptcy, for the Likud chairman to go to the United States, there to arouse American Jews against the sale of Jerusalem for the potage of peace?  The only realistic place to galvanize Jews to action is in Israel, where their very lives are in danger….

The truth is that Netanyahu lacks the Judaic wisdom [I omitted *****] to inspire the people of Israel.  While he denounces Rabin and the Israel-PLO Agreement, he and his party offer no alternative but the 1978 Camp David ‘autonomy’ plan.  That plan, however, is nothing more than a less shameless version of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles.  The Camp David Accord, it should be recalled, was the first international agreement wherein Judea and Samaria were designated as the “West Bank,” in which its Arab inhabitants were officially baptized as the “Palestinian people.”

The present writer went on to say:

In March 1993, six months before the Rabin-Arafat handshake, a Likud convention elected Netanyahu party chairman.  During the convention, Dr. Uzi Landau proffered a resolution to the effect that a future Likud government would not be bound by any Israel-Arab agreement that compromised the nation’s security.  Netanyahu rejected the resolution on the absurd ground that it would relieve the Arabs from abiding by any agreement with Israel!  Netanyahu (like Rabin) would [thus] have Jews keep their word to liars and murderers like Yasser Arafat.

Evidently, Netanyahu believes that a democracy must abide by its agreements regardless of the consequences.  Quite apart from the fact that no government can bind a future government, democracies are almost as perfidious as dictatorships in the domain of international relations.

Jerusalem from Yad VaShem: The virginia State Bar might learn something by looking at this vista.

View, looking toward Jerusalem, from the immediate exit from the Hall of Remembrance at Yad VaShem, the International Shoah Memorial. Photo: CNAV

I concluded by saying:  “If democracy rather than Judaism is Netanyahu’s religion … then he is little better than Rabin or Peres.  But this means that the more people look to Netanyahu for leadership, the more he represents a potential danger to the State of Israel.”

…and Jerusalem now

More recently, I wrote:

Alas, contrary to his supporters’ expectations in the 1996 national elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with and thereby dignified Yasser Arafat, released Arab murderers, withdrew from 80 percent of Hebron, and agreed, at the [October 1998] Wye Plantation Summit, to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria.

Accordingly, should Netanyahu again compete for the Likud’s chairmanship, it would be wise to insist beforehand that he publicly renounce the Israel-PLO Agreement (which he himself described in 1995 as suicidal).   No one should mistake his profile for courage.

Hence I wonder whether Bibi will stand firm on Jerusalem?

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