Israeli newspapers are split Monday morning over whether the bigger story is the country’s internal political machinations, or the rest of the [Western] world’s reaction to how Jerusalem is dealing with the newly statehooded Palestinians.
Haaretz leads off with the scoop that Israel may soon have one less Bigot. Yes, London and Paris are considering recalling their ambassadors, Matthew Gould and Christophe Bigot, from Israel in protest of the fact that Israel approved a boatload of new settlement construction as a punishment to the Palestinians (and world?) for their statehood gambit at the UN. The report, based on three senior EU diplomats, says that Britain and France are coordinating their moves and are so displeased that they are prepared to take this unprecedented step.
“London is furious about the E1 decision,” a European diplomat told Haaretz.
The reporter on the piece, Barak Ravid, decides to throw his two cents into the tip jar and, writing under the headline “Kamikaze government,” says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to end up hurting Israel more than the Palestinians with his punitive measures. And about that comparison Netanyahu made to the Israeli decision to build in 1975 following the “Zionism equals Racism” UN declaration: “That comparison is baseless. The statehood decision speaks of a renewal of the peace process, Palestinian recognition of Israel and a resolution of the core issues through negotiations. The 1975 resolution, by contrast, said Zionism was a threat to world peace and a racist imperialist ideology. But one aspect of the comparison Netanyahu made did have some foundation. Both the 1975 resolution and the statehood vote were the result of a serious diplomatic failure by Israel.”
Yedioth Ahronoth also goes the foreign route, making journalistic hay out of Rahm Emanuel’s harsh words against Netanyahu at the Saban Forum in Washington over the weekend. According to the report, Emanuel told the closed forum that Netanyahu “supported the wrong candidate and lost,” and that he had never seen such chutzpah from a foreign leader visiting the Oval Office, a reference to Netanyahu’s lecture given to Obama with the cameras rolling in 2010.
Politics and profits
Over at Maariv and Israel Hayom, the story is the Knesset and the various factions and lists that are forming, with all the fun double crossing, lying and crying that come along.
Maariv reports that Kadima is going to try and torpedo the defection of seven of its members to Tzipi Livni’s party on Monday, which must be approved by the Knesset. The opposition party may find an unlikely ally in the coalition as well. According to the story, Livni thinks the Likud Beytenu alliance, which dominates the still-ruling coalition, will also do what it can to keep Hatnua from growing too powerful.
“Kadima said yesterday that it is planning to fight the expected split, and until the discussion on the matter in the committee they will couch their reasoning in the necessary legalities to prevent the process. Livni’s people fear now that the coalition could move keep them from getting the okay to split off the party.” The story adds that Livni may take her case to the High Court.
Israel Hayom’s Motti Tochenfeld compares Livni’s search for seven Kadimans to split off and join her party to shopping in a meat market, and says that the game is all about the campaign dineros that will come her way with the seven splitters.
“Livni searched for the seven just to put them at the bottom of her list, which is short in any case of realistic spots. She knows well that Robert Tiviaev and Orit Zuaretz are not exactly hot merchandise. But the NIS 1.3 million each one brings with them is worth the fiasco. The sprint for the cash brought her and Haim Ramon to hallucinatory heights, just so they could win the big prize in the race for the million. In the end she found Meir Sheetrit, who once supported Mofaz. He also once said Livni was a total failure. Now he supports her enthusiastically. For a million, she can forgive him.”
Crossroads and prophets
The coming elections have turned everyone and his brother into prophets of doom, declaring that the ruling party, or the non-ruling party, will bring ruin upon us. For those not yet skilled in the art of foreseeing the worst, Yedioth reports that Tel Aviv will soon be home to the country’s first prophecy academy: The Cain and Abel School of Prophecy, to be exact. The story, which the paper assures its readers is not a joke, details that the school will teach budding Isaiahs and Amoses how to read body parts, dreams and how to find their way to the One above. No tea leaves or pigeon guts in the syllabus, though.
Maariv reports that Likud fanboys will soon have their own boulevard of dreams, Jerusalem’s Begin Highway. The freeway is already named for one of the party’s greatest leaders, and soon two new interchanges will be added, one named for former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and one for Bentzion Netanyahu, the prime minister’s father and a revisionist activist. The story notes that even though the two died only this year, and you normally have to wait three years to have a road named after you, the city’s lawyer decided that interchanges were not included in those rules and you can name those after whomever you want whenever you want.
In Haaretz, Yitzhak Laor rambles on about how Israel is unable to break out of its current mindset vis-a-vis the Palestinians, and that nearly everyone is missing the boat on the Palestinian state forming before our very eyes, especially the Labor Party, which should be thinking better than trying to court settlers.
“There is a difference between Labor and Likud, also with regard to the occupation. And there is reason for happiness at the sight of the team that Labor has presented to us voters. Yachimovich’s success speaks for itself. But the way she has toed the line with the right on the subject of the settlements is a harbinger of bad days, because Israeli colonialism has left us in the minority. Election calculations give a false picture. No majority in the Knesset will be capable of forcing the will of the minority on the large majority in the region and the world. Nor will Obama. Thus, it will end in blood.”