“War has rules. Mud wrestling has rules. Politics has no rules.” ~ Ross Perot
The knives have been sharpened for weeks and the Prime Minister contenders have finally brought them out as we go into the March 12th election countdown. Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party used his knife to slash one of his own wrists by making a huge blunder about claiming he would be able to form a new government with a “Jewish majority”.
“We will form a government with a Jewish majority, or we will establish a unity government with the Likud without Netanyahu,” said Gantz. “We will be the biggest party and I believe we will not need the support of the [Arab] Joint List. You will see that we will be the biggest party with a significant gap, and parties will join us.” With polls showing Blue and White just two seats ahead of Bibi, that claim seemed wishful thinking.
The Likuds pounce on Gantz
Gantz’ boast set off a firestorm as Likuds pounced on him like jackals on a partridge. Gantz was referring to what came up in the last election, in that the Joint List had helped Blue and White get over the 61 needed votes to form a government, without joining the party. In that situation, the Joint List would automatically be the minority government with a number of privileges, like direct contact with foreign leaders, and even security briefings.
The thought of Arabs being in an Israeli government drives the rightwing Arab hating Jews crazy, as they don’t want Palestinians inside Israeli proper to have any real political power. They want them to continue to be “pretend citizens” with no rights.
The politically savvy Likuds, with much experience slicing and dicing political opponents, thought Santa had come early. They were quick to point out that Arabs in government would be OK (which was a lie of course) but “anti-Zionists” would not be, as they are all terrorists. If you don’t grasp the logic there, I didn’t either. The Likuds consider all Arabs to be anti-Zionists, which they are, simply due to the multi-generational discrimination against them.
The Joint List remains in play, polling 14 projected seats
Joint List leader Aymen Odeh jumped into the fray, tweeting, “There is one thing that needs to leave politics quicker than Netanyahu, and that is the racist phrase ‘Jewish majority’…If there won’t be a majority of citizens, there won’t be a majority.” This was of course a threat to not pool the Joint List votes so Gantz would have a shot at getting over the magic 61 number.
Some political pundits suggested that Gantz could have been referring to a “Jewish majority” as being a government with Likud, but without Bibi, but as Shakespeare would say, “Aye, there’s the rub.”
I cannot see Likud throwing Bibi over unless he barbecues a baby before election day. They see their fate cast with his.
Leiberman lives on
Avigdor Liberman, representing the large Russian Jewish community, focused on Bibi’s refusing to resign as holding the country hostage, saying, “He is working hard, and every day that he continues he only detracts from his legacy, and from his achievements. He’s not adding anything. He’s just diminishing. It looks like he is living in denial… I am relying on Netanyahu to do the right thing and resign. And when he does…we will all help him do so with honor…From what I see, everyone, especially in the [right-wing] block, is preparing for the post-Netanyahu era.”
The Likuds certainly don’t think so. They are already working to protect Bibi from the legal repercussions of his trial, in case Bibi wins the election and the legal issue must be resolved by the Supreme Court on whether an indicted PM in the process of his trial can legally serve as Prime Minister.
Yuli Edlestein runs interference for Bibi
The number two person in the Likud party, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edlestein, is certainly not among Lieberman’s “post Netanyahu block”. In his speech at the Conference of Presidents leadership mission he stated that there was no ethical problem with Bibi serving as Prime Minister while under indictment and on trial. Attorney General Mandelblit has passed on ruling on the issue, saying that because Bibi had not won the election and formed a government, he could not rule upon it now.
But Edlestein chose his words carefully. He did not say there was no “legal problem”, as the Supreme Court would have the final say on that. Edlestein’s true, but thin support for his position, is that all men are deemed innocent until proven guilty. And what he was also doing is seeding the idea of any repercussions to a “guilty” verdict being after all appeals are over.
This disclosed that the Likuds are building a case for Bibi remaining in office even through years of trials and appeals. Their position is that if he wins the most seats, then that political victory gives him the peoples’ stamp of approval and that should trump what any court position should be. I doubt the judges will agree to their authority being trumped by political vote.
Bibi bets the Prime Ministry will save him from jail
I don’t buy any of it. Bibi could resign and let the country move forward while he deals with his legal issue, and then be free to make a comeback by running again. But neither he nor the Likuds seem to want to take that risk. In the recent Likud party elections, his opponent, Gideo Saar did poorly, and also in the national polls.
Netanyahu has a tight grasp on his party and his national voters. They feel that only he can get everything that Israel is getting out of the Americans, as he has been the magician when it comes to that, except for the Obama bump in the road.
His ‘Prime Minister forever’ plan was always to market himself royally, with his wife playing the Queen, with her own delusions of grandeur issues. With Bibi’s close ties to Trump, they present a “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” pair, as in Hollywood bad boy gunfighters and bank robbers who can do what they want and get away with it. Trump actually used the term ‘King’ last week, in referring to his popularity. He left out that the polls had showed a majority of Americans wanting him impeached.
IDF Intel chiefs disagree on more Iranian attacks in Syria
Politics is not the only area of dispute in the land of Israel. Retired IDF senior intelligence officer Colonel Shmuel Even challenged his active duty colleague’s new strategy that Israel should be more aggressive in Syria against Iranian anti-terrorism forces after the Soleimani assassination.
He is challenging OC IDF Intel Major General Tamir Heyman, who feels with Soleimani gone that Syria’s Iranian allies are “on their heels” and now is time to push Iran out. The good General did not mention that Iranian advisors and militias initially came into Syria in its darkest hour.
The militias’ initial duties were protecting the Shia holy sites that were being targeted by the Sunni sponsored terrorist bombers. This helped free up the Syria Army from static defense duties when it needed mobile combat forces badly.
The Iranian advisers and Hezbollah were working hard to train local Syrian defense and security forces (similar to the US National Guard), that also took pressure off the army having to protect everyone, everywhere, all the time.
When I was in Syria as an election monitor in 2014, any road trip required going through endless checkpoints with local forces doing that work, which made perfect sense as they at least knew the local people and businesses. They were also completely exposed to car bombers, and I had a higher respect for checkpoint guards after that.
There are about 800 Iranian soldiers and 15,000 militia forces assigned to counter terrorism tasks in coordination with the Syrian government, unlike what we see with the US and Turkey who decide for themselves what operations they choose to do and where.
Sure, Israel can bomb Syria all it wants and that will have some impact, but it will change nothing on the ground. Gaza is living proof of that.
Colonel Even suggests that the best way to decrease Israel’s perceived threat from Iran in Syria is via diplomacy with the US and Russia. He left out Turkey, where the current situation in Idlib has its military fighting beside the terrorist factions. Erdogan wants an angry, aggressive Sunni majority in Idlib that he can use to destabilize Syria.
It is nice to see the Israelis have an open debate on a tender subject like this when, in America, land of the free, one challenges power at one’s own risk.
Soleimani killing is a boomerang still in the air
Iran’s retaliation after the Soleimani assassination shook the region more geopolitically than the Trump regime had thought possible. Iran was able to display just part of its precision retaliation capability to the world, and more importantly, to its regional tormentors.
The US command on the other hand was caught lying about the whole operation, starting with the fake “impending attack” story, which was followed by new fake stories. There is a major scandal brewing on US casualties. Defense Secretary Esper bungled with his use of the term “headaches” to describe the injuries, which Trump foolishly parroted.
The Trump media jugglers did manage to keep one huge failure from getting major exposure, that being the total incompetency of killing Soleimani in Iraq where none of the US air bases had any air defenses. The veteran orgs are shocked and embarrassed about it. They are staying mum about it, and our worthless media also passed it over.
The casualty numbers are continuing to leak out. The rough numbers mentioned are about 100 dead and 170+ wounded, with no breakdown between serious and lightly wounded. The news of the refrigerated flight back to Germany was a giveaway on the KIAs. Wounded are not flown in refrigerators. People familiar with these coverups know what to look for.
American families have been subjected to not being able to publicly bury their loved ones, due to the “national security” lockdown on US casualties. This will not be the first time this has happened. There is a long history of it, and the deception is not pretty.
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.