Why Netanyahu should be put behind a fence? [Archives:2004/756/Opinion]

July 19 2004

It is really amusing to see that a man like Benjamin Netanyahu should find a place with the prestigious op-ed writers of the New York Times. Not that this observer has found himself at liberty to decide for the NYT who should write for them, but surely to expect Benjamin Netanyahu to present a valid legal argument against the International Court of Justice decision making the “Security Fence” an illegitimate undertaking by Israel would be ludicrous to say the least. First of all, Benjamin Netanyahu does not even know Israeli law, let alone became at par with distinguished judges in the world's highest judicial tribunal on matters of international law. Larry King of CNN once asked Benjamin Netanyahu if Larry's daughter, being of a Christian mother, would not be regarded as qualified for Israeli citizenship since only her father was Jewish, since Israeli law insists that to be a genuine Israeli you have to be the offspring of two Jewish parents. Mr. Netanyahu replied, “I will have to look into this and am not able to fully answer your question now”. That takes care of the legal competence of “Bibi”.
Anyone who looks back on Netanyahu's mercurial political rise among the right wing “hawks”, follows a not too dissimilar past of gung-ho Zionist zeal, that is the pattern of most prominent Israeli high ranking politicians, even from the left. The American turned Israeli young zealous military officer turned politician, proved his zeal for the Zionism early, when he took part in provocative diggings under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, long before Ariel Sharon's even more provocative walk-in to the Mosque with a 3,000 man accompaniment from the Israeli security forces, which ignited the Second Intifadha. Netanyahu wants Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates. Like most Israelis, who hail from Brooklyn, Netanyahu relies on an elaborate play on semantics, without really leading to much of anything worth quoting: “Netanyahu is a master of the soundbite, a gifted phrase-maker who ducks and weaves while rarely saying anything of lasting importance”, Derek Brown, former reporter of the Guardian in Jerusalem in the Guardian of March 29, 2000 The same kind of wishy-washy talk was also found in Bibi's rebuttal of the ICJ decision.
We then come into the seemingly innocent logic in Netanyahu's article, “Why Israel Needs a Fence, posted on July 13, 2004. The first idea that Netanyahu wishes to convey is that Israel has no concern about anyone ruling against Israel, and it is Israel that decides what international law says: “First, Israel is not building the fence on territory that under international law can be properly called “Palestinian land”. Of course, Netanyahu has forgotten that the whole world knows that Israel itself was indeed built on stolen Palestinian land, and not just the “Security Wall”. So why not build the wall on what the world and the Palestinians have willingly accepted as Israeli territory, albeit based on a yet to be finalized binding peace agreement, which people like Netanyahu are never really enthusiastic about anyway? Because, according to Netanyahu, “the indefensible line, on which many have argued the fence should run … that would have nothing to do with security and everything to do with politics”. Is that a rational argument? Of course, it is coming from a man who never says anything of meaning anyway.
Anyone looking back at the time of the Clinton Presidency will find that President Clinton spent special advisors to Israel to make sure that Netanyahu is defeated by Ehud Barak, in 1998, for the simple reason that Netanyahu was not helping at all in trying to get a peace deal through towards the final years of the Clinton Presidency. It was this stalling that eventually shortened the time span for former President William Clinton to finalize a peace accord at Wye Plantation before the end of his presidency, which the successor, President George W. Bush had no desire to proceed with, as Likudniks, like Sharon and Netanyahu had well expected. In the meantime, one should not forget that Netanyahu, like his present boss, Ariel Sharon are more inclined to seek their own fortunes and pursue their own greed, than to care for “Israeli children going to school”. He faced considerable charges for a kind hearted politician: “The police have recommended that he (Netanyahu) be charged with bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and breach of trust. They are also urging the state's attorney general to press similar charges against Netanyahu's wife, Sara, and two former officials in the prime minister's office. The charges centre on an allegedly fraudulent bill submitted to the government by a building contractor for work done to the Netanyahu's private home. The couple are also accused of hanging on to 700 official gifts that were supposed to become state property” (same Guardian article). It is worth mentioning that Netanyahu's argument of Israeli children not being able to go to school, because of “terrorist attacks”, is really a farce. Everyday, Israeli tanks are taking Palestinian children's lives and all one has to do is look at the almost daily funerals of Palestinian dead to see how many children are sent to their graves prematurely by Israeli firepower, from the land and air, as stone throwing children are countered with the latest tanks! One only needs to see the statistics to see whose children are going or not going to school, as the Israelis have destroyed or damaged most Palestinian schools anyway, not to mention that almost a third of the five thousand Palestinians or so killed since the Intifadha was ignited by the Likudnik walk in the Al-Aqsa Mosque some four years ago are in fact children and not terrorists. Even the claim of Israeli casualties of 1,000 is an exaggeration by Netanyahu, as the number is probably more in the tune of 400 or so Israelis at most, with children not exceeding 20%. While no one does not like to see killing by anyone (especially amongst civilians), it should be borne in mind that a sounder approach and more effective would have been an end to an illegal occupation and the undue hardships of Israeli persecution continuously faced by the Palestinians, with a wall or without one.