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Netanyahu favorite choices!
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
March 28, 2017

The Israeli Partisan and political movement happens in the absence of a serious Palestinian action in the field and politics.

The movement in the Israeli-partisan scene suggests to many observers that early elections are not excluded; under the successive investigations with Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of corruption, and the repercussions of the report of «State Observer » regarding the recent aggression on Gaza.

Previously, Israeli Prime Minister resorted to early elections to turn the tables against number of his rivals, in particular, Yaeer Lapid and Tzipi Livni when he felt that an alliance against him arise within the government coalition; and thus, was able to renew its survival at the head of the Israeli political pyramid.

The issue is different this time, as there is an emergence of partisan personalities from within the Likud, that wants to compete for the post of prime minister from outside the party, while observers predict that Yaalon will not be the only one on this road.

Each time new competitors appear, Netanyahu resorts to a maneuver in which he limits the risk, and the way to achieve this is to cut the road on bidding through his dash more in the implementation of the Israeli expansionist policy.

While the increased popularity of the leader of «Jewish Home» party Naftali Bennett after his imposing to the law «settlement» on the government's agenda, Netanyahu was already announcing the revival of what he called the «Silver Jubilee for the Liberation of the West Bank»! he will begin the celebrations by holing a meeting of his government in East Jerusalem and possibly in Hebron.

After the disaccords escalated with the Obama administration about the new settlement tenders in East Jerusalem, the followers of Likud party started to spread strongly among the settlers until their representatives become an essential part in guiding its policy toward the Palestinian issue; and the issue of settlements and its expansion along with the demolition and Judaization campaigns were the essential factor in renewing Netanyahu's term at the head of the government.

However, Bennett finds an opportunity with the coming of Trump Administration and Netanyahu’s postponing for voting on the annexation of the settlement of «Maaleh Adumim» waiting to develop a mutual path between Washington and Tel Aviv towards the issue in the light of the meeting, with the US president last month.

Perhaps, Bennett seeks to respond to what Netanyahu did in the last elections when he called voters who support his party and the settlers to elect «Likud» exclusively and not any other right-wing party to «guarantee» to preserve the future of the settlements and its «prosperity»; which caused the party of « Jewish home »to lose a number of seats; and for this reason Bennett sees that what he has done toward the« Settlement Act » is a direct speech to voters among the right and the extreme right that his party is the most committed to the embodiment of the Israeli expansionist policy and that Netanyahu began to draw the agreeable considerations with Trump’s administration, that seeking to set the tempo of Netanyahu's policy in accordance with its priorities, and within a regional solution that ensures for Tel Aviv the continuation of security and economic control over the West bank according to this solution, or even without it; and ensures the normalization of relations with the formal Arab surrounding without paying the price through a settlement that embody the rights of the Palestinian people.

Netanyahu's rivals seek to combine the repercussions of the investigation on charges of corruption with what was stated in the report «State Observer» about the performance of the army in the aggression on Gaza 2014. But the problem is that they suffer from many conflicts inside their parties, especially in the «labor» Party, which indicate for the second time, is in its way towards the deflation, and their essential problem, is that they are without a clear political vision towards the Palestinian file to distinguishes them from what is posed by Netanyahu as what he called the «economic peace» which is expected to be supported by the new US administration.

Perhaps what makes Netanyahu worries for the first time, according to a poll that the decline in his popularity, coincided with the resignation of the former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who announced that he will form a new party, the poll granted for him in the Knesset; in addition the party of his rival Yaeer Lapid was on the top of the poll, which helped him to get a number of seats from the right-wing and the extreme right camp which is the source of Netanyahu and his party power.

Netanyahu was always proud , that he was able to save the Likud party from fading at the elections of 2009, as he helped it to increase its seats in the Knesset from 11 to 27 at once; after the party was exposed to a serious setback in 2005 when Sharon came out of it, and formed a new party «Kadima» which attracted most of Likud leaders and thus , he turned it into a marginal party in the Israeli political and partisan scene.

In contrast, there is what calms the anxiety of Netanyahu, because Yaalon getting out from «Likud» is better than his staying and his competing for the presidency later. Or, at least the formation of an anti-bloc within the party. The greatest danger starts from his realization that his staying on the top of the party, is the basic threshold to renew his hopes of staying in the post of the prime minister.

As he is considered brilliant in making maneuvers and passed them, perhaps, from now, he is looking for intersections with rival parties, in which he exchanges deals with them that facilitate the realization of his hopes, and that happened in the past with both Bennett (The Jewish Home) and Lapid (there is a future), and they formed an alliance of three parties , survived for a full term, but it broke down in the second-term of Netanyahu's government after the aggravation of differences with Lapid and Livni.

However, the prior deals are always preponderant feature in the elections bazaar. Thus, Netanyahu's interest is to look for an understanding with Lapid which does not only guarantee the continuation of political life to him, but also weakens the power of « the Jewish Home» party and suppress the ambitions of his head towards the seat of the prime minister.

There is what serves Netanyahu's position in the light of the US administration call for the resumption of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The call did not include what comes out of his vision, on the contrary, it left to his government the control of the course of negotiations, and deciding their results.

Any way he put his conditions for its resumption: the recognition of the Palestinian negotiator of the Jewishness of the State of Israel and that the Israeli borders stretch from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

Also, he strongly emphasized that the security in the West Bank is Egyptian –Israeli affair, he did not refuse the presence of international forces in the Gaza Strip, which is a clear indication that he is dealing with the Palestinian case as two separate entities.

The settlement train with these conditions will help Netanyahu to attract the Israeli public towards what results in the future of the settlement. Since the signs of the call for the resumption of negotiations do not affect this future, but they provide the conditions to annex it to Israel, that will return to Netanyahu the popularity which he has lost from and probably more than before.

These (political and partisan) conditions provide for Netanyahu, the ability to implement his favorite options, and the main factor that enables him to succeed in each time is the Israeli scene's emptiness of effective leaders.

It is right, that the Palestinian national movement is not the critical factor in directing what is happening in Israel, but it has always been an important factor in putting the Palestinian issue at the center of the conflict between the competitors among the Zionist parties, which was pushing them to introduce initiatives that indicate its (despite their unfairness) that the Palestinian factor cannot be bypassed, which is not happening now.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rawda Abo Zarqa and Manal Mansour
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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