Israel Radio aired this odd report from its political correspondent, Chico Menashe:
A senior source in Jerusalem said that if the U.S. resumes putting pressure on Israel on the subject of Palestine, it would indicate a political vendetta meant to topple Netanyahu, despite the results of the election.
The source, seeking anonymity, said…that there are signs that there will be pressure on Israel to stop military incursions into Area A [which is supposed to be under total PA control]. According to him, such pressure would lead to a disruption of the security “quiet” in the West Bank and would seriously threaten stability.
He said further that the Palestinians are expected to try to strengthen their political capital by means of the ICC and the Security Council. We can only hope that the Americans will not strengthen their hand through added pressure on Israel.
We’ve all heard of red-baiting and Jew-baiting and gay-baiting. Now we see “Obama-baiting.” This is, as far as I can tell, a pre-emptive strike at the U.S., warning that if it gives succor to Palestinians either at the ICC or Security Council; and should such pressure lead to the toppling of the Netanyahu government, he will blame the U.S.
The message is that Bibi will make Obama a domestic political issue in Israel should there be a new set of elections. Not that he didn’t do that in spades during the last one! I suppose he’s saying: if you think that was bad, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!
Bibi’s playing a game of chicken. He knows Obama hates him and wants to attend his political funeral. He’s afraid of what the U.S. president is willing to do to achieve this. To deter him, he fires this shot across the bow.
Frankly, I don’t think Obama will bite. This won’t frighten him. The president will bide his time until the moment is right. Whenever there is an opening presented by Bibi’s boo-boos or the natural course of events, he will take advantage. But he’ll have to do this extremely delicately so as not to fall into Bibi’s trap.
What makes little sense here is the notion that U.S. pressure would make the government fall. The opposite seems true. This is not just a right-wing, but an extremist government. Any outside intervention on the question of Palestine would make everyone more obdurate in support of the government. It’s far more likely this government would fall over a mundane perk, scandal or petty slight offered against a member of the coalition. Israeli governments rarely fall over issues of principle.