Yoel Marcus
Haaretz (Opinion)
October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Something bad happens to us during the holiday period. Not only is work not work, not only is it unclear what's open and what's closed and whether the clock is showing summer time or winter time - official intelligence also goes on vacation.

You have to be emptyheaded in order to get to a situation in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel - the only leader in Europe, if not in the entire world, who treats us with understanding and empathy - loses trust and is disappointed in our prime minister.

The last straw that made Merkel blow a fuse was the approval of the plan to build 1,100 apartments in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood. All of Benjamin Netanyahu's explanations to the effect that Gilo is a part of Jewish Jerusalem sounded like a provocation that brought about the loss of Israel's last friend in Europe.

Very self-satisfied with his American English, Bibi both delivers speeches and allows himself to twist the world around his little finger with his silence. Take for example what is happening between Congress and President Barack Obama on the subject of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. In Congress a trend is taking shape to cut back assistance to the Palestinians, while we remain silent and perhaps are even fueling this trend, which was described by a political observer as stupid. Palestinian Authority President Salam Fayyad is the most positive person in the PA. If our brains were working, Israel would have fought against the cutback. It has no interest in a situation whereby the PA will not have money to pay its security services.

In an appearance at a conference held this week, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said that in the present situation there is no military threat to Israel. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who was visiting Israel, was of a similar opinion. And I wouldn't be surprised if at his meetings here he didn't warn us against a military operation against Iran. But above all he preached the importance of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, by means of rapprochement and creating a suitable atmosphere.

In the dramatic situation prevailing in the region, it is very difficult to predict the future. In late January this year the chief of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kokhavi predicted in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that there was no fear for the stability of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, because the Muslim Brotherhood was not sufficiently organized to seize power. It's been a short route from this forecast to the sight of Mubarak chained to a bed in a cage. Israel is too isolated in the region, and nobody understands where Netanyahu and his government are headed.

Above all it is clear that Israel is not interested in creating new enemies. Not in the territories and not from within Israel. It's not clear whether torching the mosque in Tuba Zangariya shocked the country. There are those in Israel who blame Bibi, for making Arab blood cheap in the wake of the anti-Arab legislation in the Knesset. It begins with "price tags" and ends with setting fire to a mosque.

Within a bubbling Middle East, the last thing that we needed was deepening the rift with Turkey, which is neither in our interest nor in interest of the Americans. In the negotiations conducted at the time with the participation of legal expert Joseph Ciechanover, we were very close to a reconciliation had we agreed to express regret over the attack and to award compensation to the families of the dead, along with a few other things. But Bibi panicked and changed his mind. "Polish honor" has always been a mainstay of the Revisionist movement, whatever it costs. It was our arrogance that pushed a potential ally into the arms of the bad guys.

In the context of Jewish intelligence taking a vacation on the holidays, it is hard not to notice the folly of the government's postponement of the recommendations of the Trajtenberg report on socioeconomic change. Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, one of the leaders of the vote against the report, who explained that he is not a chess piece and not a "pawn" of Bibi, claimed that the report does not solve the problems of the outlying areas. This claim only proves that Shalom didn't understand what the summer's mass uprising was about. The Trajtenberg committee did not come to solve the problems of people who live from hand to mouth, but rather the problems of people who have trouble making ends meet.

King Louis XVI was having his nails done by a manicurist when he heard the sounds of demonstrators. "Is it a rebellion?" he asked the manicurist. His reply was: "It's not a rebellion, your majesty, it's a revolution." Quite a number of leaders have failed to see their end approaching.

Anyone who thinks that evacuating the tent encampments ended the uprising is mistaken. When the holidays are over and public intelligence returns from its vacation, Bibi will definitely fall. It's only a matter of time.


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