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Netanyahu’s Government and Three Scenarios

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mohammad Khajouei

Perhaps it is easy for Netanyahu and Lieberman to brazenly reject Palestinian peace talks in their speeches without mentioning the Palestinian Authority; as if the Palestinian nation does not even exist!

However, will they be able to put their ideas into action?

First, an important point should be born in mind and it is composition of the Netanyahu government. It is a coalition of a number of right-wing religious and political parties as well as the moderate Labor Party which seems to have joined the coalition out of necessity because Barak’s Labor Party has basically nothing to do with such ultra-right figures as Lieberman who cannot even condescend to mention the name of Palestine.

It seems that Netanyahu has convinced them to join the coalition by giving certain promises just to form his coalition government. As simple as that!

Three scenarios are conceivable for the government of Netanyahu. Firstly, they can go on with their conservative, anti-peace remarks which have been already heard from Lieberman and Netanyahu. Although this policy will intensify violence in the region, it will also cause Israel to face international reactions. On the other hand, it can create a serious gap in the government and lead to opposition of the Labor Party.

The second scenario is that regional and international exigencies, including pressure from Obama Administration will force the Netanyahu administration to tone down its extremism and adopt a more plausible policy, especially as to the peace negotiations and establishment of a Palestinian government. Although such policy will raise hopes outside Israel about resolution of Israeli – Palestinian conflict, it will also face the coalition government with new problems. Rightist parties which advocate a harsh policy will oppose it and this can face the new government with a crisis of legitimacy.

Let’s not forget that the main cause for the success of Netanyahu and his rightist coalition was their opposition to “compromising” policies of Ehud Olmert. Therefore, if the new government intended to go the same way, it would automatically lose legitimacy.

The third scenario will be brought up when the above two scenarios have led to a political crisis for Netanyahu and his government. In other words, Netanyahu may be aware of the consequences of each of the above modalities and try to choose a middle way, which would help him to both have the support of rightist parties and the backing of the Labor Party and international community. To do this, Netanyahu will have to adopt conflicting and ambiguous policies. The question is “until when he will be able to continue with that policy?” it seems that the government of Netanyahu will begin its work by changing extremist slogans, but as they go on, regional and international requirements will make Tel Aviv to reconsider its policies. I think that the third scenario is most possible, though I also believe that Netanyahu and his government will be grappling with more domestic and international crises than its predecessor.

In conclusion, it should be admitted that Palestine is an undeniable reality and this has been accepted even by the United States and some traditional supporters of Israel. Denying this reality by Israel will not change anything.

Carl Marx has been quoted as saying that “whatever is stiff and strict will vanish into thin air.”

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