IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, two weeks before ending his term, offered his thoughts (in Hebrew) on Israel’s strategic security challenges in the Middle East. Unlike any other Israeli politician, general or spy chief before him, Gantz offered a warning that if Israel didn’t make progress on negotiating a peace deal with the Palestinians, it should not expect the world to remain uninvolved (1:43 of the video):
…Benny Gantz said…”the international community cannot afford not to intervene” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to bring the conflict to a close…
Whether or not Israel wanted, the world sees Israel-Palestine as bound up in other dangerous regional conflicts. These are so critical to the interests of foreign powers that there’s no chance Israel will be allowed to pursue its own interests unhindered.
He couched this warning in boiler-plate Israel security-speak which claimed that many were exploiting the I-P conflict as an excuse to unite the world (especially the Arab world) with a sense of grievance against Israel. Though he saw such a stratagem as manipulative, he basically conceded that the longer Israel delays in solving the issue the more robust and insistent will be international resolve in forcing a resolution. The implication was that such an imposed solution might not be in Israel’s best interest.
The image he projected was of a much more pragmatic leaders than his boss, the prime minister. That is why he framed his argument in the geo-strategic rhetoric that is standard for Israeli strategic analysts. But I’ve never heard a chief of staff warn the political echelon so clearly that there are limits to Israel’s power and that if it doesn’t recognize it, Israel risks being taken down a peg or two by powers much stronger than it is.
On a related subject, Israel’s Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, showed a lot of guts in going against common Bibi-wisdom by telling a Congressional delegation that he didn’t believe more sanctions would bring Iran to heel:
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations…
Evidence of the Israeli rift surfaced Wednesday when Secretary of State John Kerry said that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official had said the new sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.” But an initial warning from Israeli Mossad leaders was also delivered last week in Israel to a Congressional delegation…
…Two senior U.S. officials tell us that the Mossad has also shared its view with the administration that if legislation that imposed a trigger leading to future sanctions on Iran was signed into law, it would cause the talks to collapse.
This view directly contradicts the hyper-punitive position Netanyahu has taken. It coincides with the view of the Obama administration and weakened Bibi’s position. Which was why the PMO immediately released a statement saying Pardo completely adheres to the view of the prime minister regarding Iran sanctions (pile ’em on). I note that Pardo himself did not release the statement and that the PMO release spoke on his behalf in the third person. In other words, Pardo didn’t write the statement and may not have even had any role in drafting it. Showing that he likely still retains the original views attributed to him.
Why is it that the senior military and intelligence figures have a more nuanced grasp of geo-strategic matters than Israel’s current (and future) political leaders do? What does it say about this leadership that it is so out of touch with the security apparatus?
It can be seen and heard as-מגלה טפח ומכסה טפחיים
Yeah, Right says
Richard: …”Israel risks being taken down a peg or two by powers much stronger than it is”
But that’s the rub, isn’t it. Israel’s laughable excuse for leadership is suffering a bad case of hubris, and they all think that if they just dig their heels in a little harder then – of course! what else! – the international community will eventually give in to Israel’s desire.
Which is To Have It All.
The idea that this same int’l community will do the exact opposite – i.e. f**k this! how do you like those sanctions, numb-nuts? – is simply beyond their comprehension.
The inevitable result will be a slow-motion train-wreck, and the last people to see it unfolding will be, unfortunately, the only people who could have chosen to avoid it.
[comment deleted: anti-Semitic tropes are prohibited.]
With an extremist government, rationality does not enter in, in this case the future of Israel. Officials can only tell the truth when they’ve retired, much as in my country, Britain. Ok, Netanyahu is not as extremist as Bennet, But he is still an extremist leader. Israel being an exceptional country, maybe he can succeed when others cannot.
Arie Brand says
Since, beside Mr.Gantz, even Blind Freddy can see that international developments are not moving in a direction favourable to Israel, it appears that Netanyahu is afflicted with a more serious form of blindness.
First off one can establish that virtually everywhere, except in the USA and some sub-Saharan states. the passive majority has a negative rather than positive view of Israel’s influence on the world. A recent (July 2014) BBC survey using these two categories came up with results of which I will highlight a few, mentioning in each case the positive view first (in percentages):
UK 19 72
Germany 11 67
France 21 64
Spain 4 70
Australia 24 67
Canada 30 55
I find the result for Australia particularly striking because in almost every UN battle about Israel it has voted with the US and some Pacific fly dot states, except the last time around when the then FM, Bob Carr, had to threaten the then PM, Julia Gillard, with dethroning her through a caucus vote, if she insisted on lining up once again behind the US. So there is here, and that holds, less flagrantly, for every other state mentioned here, a discrepancy between the official governmental stance (and that of most of the main stream media) and the real feelings of the population. One would imagine that ultimately that will have some effect on policy.
Earlier polling had already confirmed that, overall, Israel is one of the most negatively viewed countries in the world: The Jerusalem Post reported in May 2012:
“Israel retained its position as one of the world’s most negatively-viewed countries, according to BBC’s annual poll published Wednesday night.
With 50 percent of respondents ranking Israel negatively, Israel keeps company with North Korea, and places ahead of only Iran (55% negative) and Pakistan (51% negative).”
Now these figures are not likely to get any better when the “millennials” (the generation between 20 to 30) move into positions of power and responsibility, because virtually everywhere, including the USA, the millennials feel less positively about Israel than earlier generations do.
This came out clearly in some recent polls:
“In late July (2014), Gallup asked Americans whether they considered Israel’s recent actions against Hamas to be justified or unjustified. Respondents who were 65 or older supported Israel by a wide margin: 55 percent to 31 percent. However, those between the ages of 18 and 29 stated by more than a two-to-one margin — 51 percent to 25 percent — that Israel’s actions were definitely unjustified. Another survey simultaneously conducted by Pew asked whether Israel or Hamas carried the greater responsibility for the current violence. Respondents across the board attributed the majority of culpability to Hamas — with the exception of the younger crowd. Overall, 40 percent of the Pew respondents blamed the Islamic terrorist group, while only 19 percent blamed Israel. Among those over 65 years old, more than three times as many pinned the blame on Hamas (53 percent) as on Israel (15 percent). But among those aged 18-29, 29 percent faulted Israel and only 21 percent said it was Hamas’ fault.”
It is unlikely that this generation will become, on this point, more “conservative” when it gets older. It has never been exposed to the “Exodus” myth and only knows of Israel because of what they see and hear in the cyberworld of Israel’s brutal actions.
Cameron Brown and Owen Alterman reported in March 2013:
“ … in comparing the findings to two joint nationwide CBS/New York Times polls from October 1977 and April 1978 (Figure 4). Interestingly, the generational gap then was the opposite of the generational gap today: retirees (65 and older) were least supportive of Israel, with 18-29 year-olds the most supportive. … generations seem to develop views toward Israel that guide their opinions throughout their lifetimes. If so, the relatively less pro-Israel positions held by today’s Millennials are unlikely to fade over time, just as their elders have maintained robust support for Israel over the past 35 years.”
There is another development coming in here: secularisation which will weaken the basis of christian Zionism. It has already been reported that within the ranks of the Presbyterian church younger church goers are more critical about Israel.
But, apart from that, christian churches, particularly in the Western world but also elsewhere, are losing customers, even in the USA, probably the most “churchy” nation in the Western world.
Cameron Brown and Owen Alterman again:
“… attention is increasingly paid to dramatic changes in religious affiliation in American life, or more precisely, the growing number of Americans who lack any affiliation. According to the Pew Center, in 1972, 7 percent of Americans said they had no religious affiliation. That figure grew to 15 percent by 2007, and today stands at nearly 20 percent.”
Brown and Alterman. who seem to feel very sorry about all these developments, believe that Israel should direct its information (read:hasbara) efforts more precisely and specifically to certain focus groups.
But it is not the selling that is at fault, it is the product.
nessim dayan says
What does it say about this leadership that it is so out of touch with the security apparatus?
wrong remark. – The leadership (read Mr Netanyahu and QUEEN JOSEPHINE BONAPARTE) couldn’t give a hoot about a thing that happens in Israel. The leadership is ONLY AND SOLELY working towards keeping THE SEAT FOR THEMSELVES.
They have not a single care about anything or anyone ‘xcept themselves. They have sold their souls to the devil in order to keep the seat.
When someone screams bloody murder about Labour party getting help from V15 WHILST THEIR FULL FUNDING IS COMING FROM ADELSON AND OTHER AMERICANS, is not this enough proof of people who sold their country lock stock and double barrel to mafiosi.
when a country sells citizenships to international criminals who cares what the security system or anything else say or do.
Richard please scream loud and often about the mafiosi leading this country
“The leadership is ONLY AND SOLELY working towards keeping THE SEAT FOR THEMSELVES.”
Above is an absurd contradiction. Without ‘giving a hoot’ there will be no seat for Bibi et al.
There is obviously a bigger picture.
nessim dayan says
R U a grammar teacher, or an individual who cares whether this country will exist or cease in the very near future.
There is NO BIGGER PICTURE, just as the crooked billionaires used this country’s economy to enrich themselves whilst putting no monies of their own, THIS PAIR HAS UPGRADED their VAPID GREED whilst using THE WHOLE COUNTRY, money AND people.
Bigger picture you say – What did Israel receive as counter to giving citizenship to criminalS wanted by international police. WHY did Israel do It why not North Korea or Iran or Syria or Lebanon or Egypt, because in Israel they can ROAM FREE AND KEEP DEFRAUDING EVEN ISRAELI CITIZENS. bigger picture you say
The first embedded video in this entry is a ‘wild card’. When I open your blog after 30 seconds or so it starts to blast away in the annoyingly Israeli way & I have to scroll down to neutralize it. Maybe it is just me but if not maybe it can be taken off or ameliorated for the sake of those who cherish free will.