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The real danger to Israel's security is Netanyahu

By Alon Ben-Meir - posted Thursday, 6 November 2014


As Prime Minister, Netanyahu has consistently invoked his solemn duty to protect Israel's national security. Ironically, he has become the single most reckless individual who is imperiling the very security of the state. One need not look far and wide to discern Netanyahu's disingenuousness and misguided policies that have only undermined Israel's future security.

He uses his political skills to deceive and mislead in order to 'protect himself from political defeat' while disregarding what is best for the future of the state. He surrounds himself with cronies blinded by their skewed ideological zeal with no morals or scruples to support his sinister political agenda.

To be sure, Israel under Netanyahu's stewardship is globally on the defensive, isolated, threatened from within and without, loathed and criticized by friends and foes alike, and with no prospect to achieve peace, which jeopardizes not only Israel's security but its very existence.

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By what measure can Netanyahu claim that the occupation of the West Bank enhances Israel's national security? Nearly fifty years of occupation did nothing but poison the Palestinians, intensify their hatred and animosity toward Israel, and drive them to extremism, which gave birth to Hamas and an assortment of other jihadist groups.

How does the building of settlements and their expansion under the pretense of securing the borders provide Israel with better security? Thousands of soldiers are stationed throughout the West Bank to protect the settlers, making the settlements a security liability rather than an asset.

Moreover, the settlements became the source of the Palestinians' resentment and violence, and their continuing expansion closes the window for a two-state solution. The settlements diminish the prospect of establishing a Palestinian state while risking Israel's security and national identity and alienating the international community.

Instead of embracing the Arab Peace Initiative (API), especially now that the entire region is in turmoil and the Arab states are more eager than ever before to make peace, Netanyahu still rejects it irrespective of the fact that many current and former Israeli political and military leaders beseech him to embrace it.

By rejecting the API, Netanyahu has yet again forfeited another historic opportunity to negotiate, with some give and take, a lasting peace which more than anything else could radically enhance Israel's long-term national security.

Netanyahu habitually ignored Israel's Western allies' pleas to moderate his policies toward the Palestinians and end the occupation. Frustrated and angered by his continuing violation of Palestinian human rights while usurping their territories inch by inch, the European countries have abandoned him.

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The loss of the West's moral and political support will have long-term security implications on Israel, as the country becomes increasingly isolated and ever more vulnerable to outside threats.

Engrossed by his self-grandeur and lack of sensitivity, Netanyahu betrayed Jordan's King Abdullah, Israel's closet Arab ally and the custodian of the Muslim Holy Sites, by using the Temple Mount-the most sensitive area to both Jews and Muslims-to assert Jewish right to the site at a time of extreme tension.

To galvanize and further strengthen his political base, Netanyahu provokes the Palestinians by his restriction on their mobility, night raids, and arbitrary incarceration, deliberately instigating them to resist, often violently.

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About the Author

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

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