Analysis: Will Netanyahu’s Highlights or Concessions Be Remembered?


netanyahu1By Dr. Amiel Ungar

Everybody knows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a deft and articulate speaker and he proved this once again in his address before the two houses of Congress. The address had a number of good points, stylistically and content-wise, but the very fact that Tzahi Hanegbi of Kadima could find no fault with it means that it could have been delivered -perhaps with less panache and dash -by another politician and even by a party to the left of Likud.

Let us start with the good points. As opposed to other politicians, the Prime Minister used the words Judea and Samaria and termed them parts of the Jewish homeland. Judea and Samaria is not a cancerous limb, the Prime Minister called them a part of the historic Jewish homeland.

The Prime Minister was blunt about putting the blame on the Palestinian side and establishing the fact that the conflict was not over territory, but over the very legitimacy of a Jewish state in the Middle East. He did this well and amplified the passage in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s speech before AIPAC that brought down the house.

Israeli politicians, particularly President Shimon Peres, feel that by describing the Palestinians as they are, they are subverting the peace process. Netanyahu was not shy and did not give Arab anti-Semitism a free pass, but cited the genocidal anti-Semitic approach of Hamas. He also effectively inserted mention of the persecution of Christians by the Moslem world.

In seemingly throwaway remarks, Netanyahu demolished the Europeans, saying “the European observers evaporated overnight.” He was probably also referring to the Europeans when he condemned the lack of outrage when Iran threatens to eradicate Israel.

He managed to co-opt president Obama on a number of occasions in support of his position, something that will probably have Obama squirming in protest. He also managed a dig here and there, for example, commending Obama for imposing sanctions on Iran but then adding that the American Congress had passed tougher sanctions.

Where Obama was vague, Netanyahu was explicit – no return to 1967, the Arab refugee problem will be solved outside of Israel, and there are creative solutions to Jerusalem, although it will stay undivided and united under Israeli control.

So there were many positives.

There were also negatives, such as the promise that Israel would be in the forefront of those welcoming a Palestinian state to the United Nations. There was talk of generous concessions and some settlements outside the boundaries of a Jewish state.

True, the Prime Minister could argue that the Arabs would never agree to the minimal conditions that he had set in the address. In the meantime, the Arab side has pocketed another concession.

If even a so-called right wing Prime Minister can offer such concessions, what is the Arab incentive for making peace? What penalty does the Arab side face for its refusal to engage in negotiations in the expectation that it will get a better deal?

This was the part of the Obama argument that the Prime Minister did not rebut and should have. If, as Obama says, time is working against Israel, then Israel should snap up every deal that is offered because the world is getting tired of the conflict.

Read more at Arutz Sheva.

[Arutz Sheva/ Newscenter]


  1. Well said. I would like to comment on the negatives you cited. I do feel that the “concessions” the Prime Minister made were more about a willingness to negotiate. Considering the world view I think this willingness to acknowledge a Palestinian state stands in stark contrast to the Palestinians refusal to do the same for Israel. “Generous concessions” and “some settlements” would be a matter of interpretation of “generous” and “some”. But the importance of those phrases goes to willingness to negotiate. One good thing I hear…the UN can’t determine statehood because the US and a few others have veto power. Obama has said he will veto. The outcry against his weak support of Israel (and America too) have been very strong. Twitter is proof! I’ve seen much today on the deception of the Arab Spring. Obama is getting a lot of opposition to his proposal of aid to Egypt as it will probably go to the Muslim Brotherhood. Americans are so against it. 2012 presidential election is not too far away.
    I’ve enjoy all the good views and ideas I’m reading on this website!