Noam Sheizaf has published the third portion of his translation of the Maariv interview with Ben Zion Netanyahu, Bibi’s father. There is one particularly salient passage which attests to the subtlety with which the son disguises the extremism of his political views:
Q: How much do you think you’ve influenced his opinions today?
A: “I have a general idea. Bibi might aim for the same goals as mine, but he keeps to himself the ways to achieve them, because if he expressed them, he would expose his goals.”
Q: Is that what you wish?
A: “No, I just believe that it could be so. Because he is smart. Because he is very careful. Because he has his ways to handle himself. I am talking about tactics regarding the revealing of theories that people with different ideology might not accept. That’s why he doesn’t expose them: because of the reaction from his enemies as well as from the people whose support he seeks. It’s an assumption, but it might be so.”
Every politician engages in the art of duplicity and concealment of their true views and goals. So it’s no surprise that Bibi’s father reveals the son to be full of artifice and guile in this regard. But this certainly should put every Israeli, the EU, and the Obama administration on notice not to believe a word that exits Bibi’s mouth regarding his willingness to promote peace.
That aspect of his agenda is transparent and much closer to his father’s views than anyone else’s. There can be no peace with the Palestinians and probably not with the Syrians either if it involves returning the Golan. To do so would violate a fundamental right-wing ideological belief in the integrity of the whole land of Israel.
Such awareness of Netanyahu’s intransigence sets up a showdown with the EU and U.S. governments at some point in the future. The only question is whether both parties, but especially Barack Obama has the spine and stomach for mortal combat with a Netanyahu government.
For now, everyone will lay low to see whether Lieberman is indicted and how that episode plays out. For if the government falls on Lieberman’s withdrawal from the cabinet and coalition, then all bets are off. Livni could bring Kadima into the government and Netanyahu might indeed be willing to change his spots (as unlikely as that appears).
But if the composition of the current rightist coalition remains the same, then there will have to be such a confrontation. I don’t know what form it will take and what the result will be. But it will certainly be interesting to watch. If the coalition remains rightist and there is no confrontation, then you can bet on war over the coming years: certainly a war in Gaza and perhaps one with Hezbollah or Syria. The only thing that is certain is that the status quo means death and war for many on both sides. But then again, this is something Ben Zion Netanyahu fully anticipates–all out war to the death with the Arab enemy. The question is whether Bibi thinks like his father or has any independent ideas whatsoever.