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Opinion: Struggle over Iran: Tumultuous Israeli Politics Will Not Usher Peace - by Ramzy Baroud.



Israel is currently experiencing the kind of turmoil that may or may not affect its political hierarchy following the next general election. However, there is little reason to believe that any major transformations in the Israeli political landscape could be of benefit to Palestinians.

Former politicians and intelligence bosses have been challenging the conventional wisdom of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through a series of charged statements and political rhetoric.

A few weeks ago it sounded rather like a political fluke when former chief of the Israeli Mossad, Meir Dagan Meir Dagan (Hebrew: מאיר דגן) is an Israeli military figure and current Director of the Mossad. Born Meir Huberman in the Soviet Union in 1945, Dagan is the son of Holocaust survivors.  called an attack on Iran "the stupidest thing I have ever heard." His comment was then widely dismissed, but other voices have since joined the discussion. Yuval Diskin Yuval Diskin (Hebrew: יובל דיסקין) (born 1956) is the 12th and current Director of Shabak.

In the Israel Defense Forces, Diskin served as deputy company commander of Sayeret Shaked (the command Sayeret of the
, former head of the Israeli internal intelligence, the Shin Bet Noun 1. Shin Bet - the Israeli domestic counterintelligence and internal security agency; "the Shin Bet also handles overall security for Israel's national airline"
General Security Services
, went even further, as he questioned the abilities of both Netanyahu and Barak, accusing them of promoting 'messianic sentiments' regarding Iran.

"I saw them up close, they are not Messiahs...These are not people whose hands I would like to have on the steering- wheel," he said. Dagan, who remains insistent on the 'stupidity' of the Israeli government, came to Diskin's support. He told the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times on April 29 that "Diskin is a very serious man, a very talented man, he has a lot of experience in countering terrorism."

Netanyahu's exaggeration of the supposed 'existential danger' posed by Iran's nuclear programme is clearly political - ultimately aimed at weakening another regional foe and appeasing his hard-line coalition. The invoking of holocaust analogies over a 'threat' that various international agencies have disputed, is a clear sign of the government's political and moral bankruptcy.

Awareness of Netanyahu's ineptness is not confined to former heads of Israel's intelligence, but the military itself. In a highly publicised interview in Haaretz in April, Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz disputed the government's conventional wisdom - both by attesting to the rationality of Iranians leaders and discounting the very claim that Iran is on the road to manufacturing nuclear weapons. "Iran is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn't yet decided whether to go the extra mile," he said.

The timing of this stream of focused criticism, emanating from some of Israel's most decorated intelligence and army men, is not coincidental. Yes, there may be a major political upheaval underway regarding Iran, but considering the fact that Netanyahu still possesses the upper hand in Israeli politics, one must neither delve too far into optimism nor subsist sub·sist  
v. sub·sist·ed, sub·sist·ing, sub·sists

v.intr.
1.
a. To exist; be.

b. To remain or continue in existence.

2.
 in perpetual cynicism.

In 'Changing Course in Israel' (Gulf News, May 4), Patrick Seale Patrick Seale is a British journalist and author who specializes in the Middle East. He is a former correspondent for The Observer, and has interviewed most of the Middle East's most prominent leaders and personalities.  wrote, "The challenge to Netanyahu could have far-reaching consequences. For one thing, it appears to have removed any likelihood of an early Israeli attack on Iran, such as Netanyahu has threatened and trumpeted for a year and more; for another, it has revived the possibility of a two-state solution The two-state solution envisions two separate states in the Western portion of the historic region of Palestine, one Jewish and another Arab to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.  of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
See also:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ongoing dispute between the State of Israel and Arab Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is part of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict.
, a solution many had thought moribund moribund /mor·i·bund/ (mor´i-bund) in a dying state.

mor·i·bund
n.
At the point of death; dying.



mor
, if not actually dead."

It is difficult to ascertain whether the threat of war against Iran has been 'removed' based on statements made during an election season in Israel. Israeli politics is particularly known for its underhandedness, and parties vying for power understand that focusing their attack on Netanyahu is the only way to reinforce their candidate's chances in the upcoming elections.

This is not the first time that former heads of Israel's intelligence and military have adopted such a charged position against a standing prime minister.

Yet, regardless of the motive, the move against Netanyahu may be backfiring. According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 a recent Haaretz poll, Netanyahu is 'the clear favourite heading into Israel's upcoming elections.' Yossi Verter wrote on May 5, "Netanyahu can rest easy after reading the results of the latest Haaretz-Dialog poll: Not only does he trounce all his rivals on the question of who is most fit to lead the country, but an absolute majority of Israelis reject the aspersions aspersions npl to cast aspersions on → difamar a, calumniar a

aspersions npl to cast aspersions on → dénigrer

 cast on him last week by former Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin."

The poll indicates that the clearly coordinated statements regarding Iran are yet to shake Netanyahu's throne. That said, such criticism could represent the start of political friction around Iran's war. The friction could either move the next government further to the right or to the centre.

Until the nature of the next Israeli political formation becomes clearer, German commentator Ludwig Watzal is maybe closest to the right assessment. "The power struggle between Israel's security establishments should tell the international public that an attack on Iran's civilian nuclear program would be highly dangerous and politically irresponsible," he wrote.

Iran aside, what about other major manoeuvres in Israeli politics preceding the probable elections few months from now? Tzipi Livni, former head of Israel's biggest opposition party, Kadima, has left the Knesset with a bang, although her resignation had been anticipated following her major defeat by challenger Shaul Mofaz in primary party elections last March.

Once more, Livni assigned herself the role of the visionary, warning that Israel was sitting 'on a volcano'. "The international clock is ticking and the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is in danger," she suggested.

Livni may have left the Knesset, but she has not left 'political life.' That declaration was enticing to the media which began speculating on what role Livni now sees for herself. According to the Haaretz poll, Mofaz, who defeated Livni, enjoys a minuscule approval rating of 6 percent.

The frenzy of statements and political realignments that seemed to be preceding Israel's elections (before the announcement that they have been cancelled) are typical, and should not indicate major shifts in policies. Mistaking all of this to signal the return of the two state options is too hopeful, to say at least.

The fact remains that Israel is unlikely to shift its aggressive policies from within. What is being promoted as the moral awakening, or political sensibility of some influential Israelis might merely be political manoeuvres aimed at helping Israel find an exit strategy from delving further into war rhetoric.

It could also be an attempt to challenge Netanyahu's stronghold on Israeli politics. Quarrelling within the ruling class in Israel during an election is almost a requirement. It neither ushers a new era of peace, nor does it signal a serious change from the constant sabre-rattling against Iran.

NOTE: It has now been announced that Netanyahu and Mofaz have approved a last-minute deal overnight Monday to form a national unity government that would postpone early elections. They are to present a unity deal to form a 94-seat coalition. The Knesset is expected to approve the deal within 48 hours.

Ramzy Baroud www.ramzybaroud.net is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press Pluto Press is a progressive, independent publisher based in London. It was founded in 1969 by Richard Kuper and others as an arm of International Socialism, the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party in the UK. , London).

2012 - The Tripoli Post

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Publication:The Tripoli Post (Tripoli, Libya)
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:May 8, 2012
Words:1156
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