Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Who Will Share the Gambling Table? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In a report on coalition agreements and the outline of the new Israeli government, Nazer Majli, a reporter at Asharq Al-Awsat, described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a calculated gambler in a casino.

The question today is: who will sit and play with Netanyahu on that gambling table or help him in his current predicament, especially as the Israelis, both inside and outside of the state, have understood the danger of the Netanyahu government, and particularly his choice of Avigdor Lieberman for Foreign Minister?

Here we have a senior police source in Israel saying that there are around one thousand written documents that raise suspicions against Lieberman. The Foreign Minister was questioned recently for nearly eight hours as he is under investigation for breach of trust, corruption, money laundering and fraud.

This is with regards to Israel; as for the United States, very few are willing to sit at the same gambling table as Netanyahu, as, unfortunately for the Israeli Prime Minister and fortunately for us, some of the advisors and influential figures in Team Obama are the same people who worked as part of former US President Bill Clinton’s administration.

This means that Team Obama is fully aware of the deception and cunningness of Benjamin Netanyahu, who claims that he has matured politically. By looking back at that period, we can see what the relationship between Netanyahu and Bill Clinton was like and how it deteriorated significantly until the fall of Netanyahu in that same period.

In his book entitled ‘The Much Too Promised Land,’ Aaron David Miller, a former Special Envoy to the Middle East, wrote about a meeting that took place between Bill Clinton and Benjamin Netanhayu in 1996. According to the book, Netanyahu lectured Bill Clinton about the Arab-Israeli conflict and this angered Clinton to a great extent.

In reaction to Netanyahu, according to the author, Bill Clinton said, “Who the [expletive deleted] does he think he is? Who’s the [expletive deleted] superpower here?”

Therefore, the fear today is that the people who will sit with Netanyahu at the gambling table will be the Arabs by providing excuses for the aggressive statements issued by his government or his extremist Foreign Minister, which, consequently, will give the Israeli Prime Minister the opportunity to pounce.

There is also the fear that some of those Iranian-affiliated Arabs will follow in the footsteps of Israeli extremists [by issuing aggressive statements], which will result in them throwing Netanyahu and his government, and Lieberman in particular, a lifeline. This is evident in a number of issues, the most important of which is the swift attempt of the Iranian alliance to invalidate the Arab Peace Initiative, or to devalue it in the eyes of the Arabs by any means. The other issue is the inflammatory language used by some parties to demonstrate that the military option is the best way to achieve peace and this is another lifeline to Netanyahu.

The Palestinians must now unify their ranks by rationalizing their conflict – not their disputes with one another – and they must prioritize their national interest. They must decide whether they want a state or whether gaining power is their biggest aspiration.

Therefore, if the Arabs are not careful, they will commit an error and a sin; firstly by gambling and secondly by gambling with Benjamin Netanyahu.