Adi Mintz
Ynetnews (Opinion)
April 8, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3873093,00.html

One year is sufficient in order to examine the direction our government is heading to. At least this is the view of our prime minister, who recently presented his government’s achievements. However, while Netanyahu boasted of some economic achievements, he could not do the same in respect to the diplomatic front, and hence did not talk much about it. So is the diplomatic approach he adopted this year appropriate, or does he need to change direction at this time?

The diplomatic rift vis-à-vis the United States, which among other things was manifested through Netanyahu’s humiliation by Obama during the PM’s recent Washington trip, did not start now. The publication of the photo of Obama with his feet on his desk while talking to Netanyahu on the phone, and the way he bowed to Saudi king Abdullah already showed us the US Administration’s direction.

It doesn’t matter at all whether Obama is anti-Semitic, or what’s the level of influence held by the Jews around him; it doesn’t matter whether he got these views at Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s church or whether he was educated by J Street members and by Rahm Emanuel. What we’re seeing is a clear and incisive demand from the Administration to Israel: Stop dressing up! Tell us who you really are.

Because it’s so scared of Obama and his Administration, for a whole year the government of Israel had adopted a “yes and no” policy coupled with ambiguity and secrecy, as if exposing its policy on the Palestinian front is similar to revealing our nuclear secrets in Dimona.

It started with Netanyahu’s surprising declaration in the Bar-Ilan speech regarding his willingness to see the establishment of a Palestinian state, while his declaration in respect to heritage sites in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb seemingly signaled the opposite. He surprised us with declaring a complete halt on Judea and Samaria construction, but accompanied it with the planting of trees in Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, and Ariel.

Hence, Obama is right to press Netanyahu: “Decide what you want and tell the truth, to me, to your people, and to the Palestinians. What do you want: A Palestinian state or the Cave of the Patriarchs? Because the two don’t go hand in hand.” The choice Netanyahu faces is not Yitzhar for Bushehr, but rather, Jerusalem in exchange for a warm reception and lavish dinner at the White House.

Ambiguity policy failed

The US Administration’s insistence on halting construction in Ramat Shlomo proves that Netanyahu’s ambiguity policy utterly failed. If Netanyahu thought that it’s possible to engage in talks with the Palestinians without mentioning the 1967 borders, Obama bluntly reminded him that ever since the Camp David talks there has been no other model aside from the Clinton Plan.

If Netanyahu thought that he can engage in talks with the Palestinians without talking about dividing Jerusalem and handing over the Temple Mount and Holy Basin, Obama informed him that if he again hears that Israel is building in the Simon the Righteous neighborhood (near the Israel Police headquarters, Justice Ministry, and District Court,) the next meeting will be held on the White House steps, if at all.

Obama’s humiliating conduct brought the Israeli government back to the ground. Israeli voters granted a mandate to a rightist government and do not wish to see their government continuing to be dragged into deep leftist territory, with calls to premise the State of Israel on the “Auschwitz borders” as Abba Eban referred to them. America, even if it’s the world’s greatest democracy, cannot force the Israeli government to act against the democratic decision of the Israeli people.

And so, a year into the Netanyahu government’s term in office, it must tell Obama clearly: We are back in the land of Zion and Jerusalem. During the Passover holiday, Israeli sat at the Seder table and said: “Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem.” Indeed, Jerusalem is being built, and it will continue to be built.


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