Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another Report on the Knesset Conference in Begin's Memory

From a story on Benjamin Netanyhau:

On Wednesday, a symposium entitled "Begin and the Parliament, initiated by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, was held in the Knesset to mark the 19th anniversary of the death of Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Among the participants were right-wing ideologues like former cabinet minister Yoram Aridor and Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin, as well as prominent leftists, including Profs. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Amnon Rubinstein. Also present were Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and Netanyahu.

The prime minister spoke out in the sharpest and most vehement terms against Jewish lawbreakers in the territories, asserting: "The law does not pass over anyone. There is no one who is above the law. If Menachem Begin were with us, he would not refrain from expressing both outrage and shock in face of that tiny marginal minority that even today is harming emissaries of the law and justice, as well as innocent people, only because they are Arabs. The State of Israel will not tolerate or accept harassment of Arab inhabitants as a method of protest against the government. This is a total distortion of the concept of civil protest, the perception of human morality and the spirit of Jewish justice."

The Prime Minister's Office published his remarks on its website and via text message. They reflect the fact that Netanyahu seems to be trying to find himself today. One day, in wake of the revolution in Egypt, he declares, "There is no one to rely on in this region, apart from ourselves." The next day, privately, he says that a bi-national state would be nothing less than "a disaster" for Israel and that he intends to present a "diplomatic plan" to prevent it from happening. After that he rushes to the Jordan Valley and declares that in any agreement, Israel will maintain a military presence there. He later clarifies that this doesn't mean maintaining Israeli sovereignty, just a military presence.

Then he appoints Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yaakov Amidror, a rapacious hawk, as his national security adviser, and urges Brig. Gen. (res. ) Mike Herzog, brother of left-wing Labor MK Isaac Herzog, to become his diplomatic adviser. Three weeks ago, he approached the head of the extreme right-wing National Union faction, MK Yaakov Katz and offered him, and some other members, a chance to join the coalition. At the same time, he rejected Katz's pre-condition for joining - that he declare support for construction in the territories, East Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim.

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