Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Fasten your Seat Belts, Bibi is Back | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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[The news of] Bibi Netanyahu’s election to the position of Prime Minister of Israel was a piece of bad news, but something that nevertheless must be dealt with. Netanyahu’s victory has aroused fear and disappointment that even US President Barack Obama has not hesitated to express. And now the question is; where will the man with the most notorious reputation in modern Israel lead the region? Will he change, in the same way that the Butcher [of Beirut] Ariel Sharon, and before him the extremist Menachem Begin, changed? Or during his reign will we witness larger wars against the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and perhaps even against Iran?

Because we are discussing the oft-repeated and every-present issue of the Israeli government, we must be candid and realistic. We know what the key parties in the region can offer, particularly Israel, which is one of the most overt countries in the region with regards to its targets and capabilities. If Netanyahu decided to transform the lives of the Palestinians and Arabs into a series of suffering and misery, then the only person capable of preventing him would be the US President. But this is unlikely for two reasons; firstly due to the strength of the Israeli lobby [in America], and secondly the Americans do not have any alternatives to Israeli-support for any possible military action that they might take against Iran and its agents in the future. And so Israel is playing the role of policeman in the region, as well as that of [US] friend.

But despite the talk of the Jewish lobby, we must not underestimate Washington’s influence over Israel. Regardless of Netanyahu’s intransigence and his insistence in rejecting the peace process – or even attempting to sabotage it – he well knows that the US has the upper hand with regards to influence over Israel, and could possibly even overthrow his government. But the reason that might prevent Obama from engaging Netanyahu in [political] battle is his lack of trust in the Arabs. For they take neither a united nor a definite stance on the desired peace process. When we talk about the Arabs in this context, we are not talking about the 20 Arab States; rather we are referring to the handful of Arab states that play an active role in this issue, first and foremost of which is Syria which has demands that even Obama may be unable to fulfill.

Netanyahu’s true ally is Iranian president Ahmadinejad, since both are in opposition to the peace process. Israel wants a peace that would grant it all of Jerusalem, half of the West Bank, along with the preservation of its statements, while Iran desires a nuclear bomb and regional influence over the Arabs. Therefore the two countries are in a state of undeclared alliance against any [proposed] US peace project. Iran moves it agents to harass Israel, and Israel responds by waging war; this is how Obama will discover that his peace project is in a boxing ring [being attacked on both sides].

Netanyahu will exhaust Obama, the Arabs, and the Palestinians, and he will seek a great battle to immortalize his name; like David Ben-Gurion in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, Moshe Dayan in the Six Day War of 1967, and Ariel Sharon in 1982. However the truth is that Netanyahu does not posses many leadership qualities, moreover history is change, and the Arab territories are not as open [to attack] as they previously were in the past.

Netanyahu was Prime Minister of Israel between 1996 and 1999, and his reign is one that is stained with blood and turmoil. In fact the only thing he managed to succeed in doing was pulling the plug on the peace project that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated for.