The Right Coast

August 10, 2005
Benjamin Netanyahu
By Mike Rappaport

I should really love Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Likud Prime Minister, who just resigned from Prime Minister Sharon's Cabinet. He is free market Likud and a great communicator of ideas that I generally agree with.

Unfortunately, he seems to share some personality traits with that other great communicator, Bill Clinton. [Apologies to Ronald Reagan, who should be understood in this context to be the "greatest communicator."] As Powerline puts it:

Netanyahu has a big-time reputation as an opportunist. That's always been my impression too, although I don't follow Israeli politics very closely and my impression may be unduly influenced by the views of others. By opposing Sharon's withdrawal plans after voting for them in the cabinet, Netanyahu's reputation as an opportunist will grow.
Netanyahu had a hard time governing as Prime Minister as well, in part I thought because he could not be trusted to follow his stated principles.

Still, he often makes a good case for his views. Here is an excerpt from his letter to Sharon resigning from the Cabinet, in which he makes a point that I am not sure whether I agree with:

From the first conversation when you presented your plan to me, I told you that I oppose unilateral withdrawal without anything in return, that in my estimation will strengthen the forces of terror. As a minimum I asked for the inclusion of the settlement blocs within the security fence before the beginning of the withdrawal and the holding of the Philadephi Corridor [which allows access to Gaza from Egypt] in our hands. In this way we would be neutralizing the impression that we are running away from terror and instead showing that we are choosing a new defense line in accordance with our national interests. In addition, we set that after that point, the Government would be able to decide on the evacuation in light of the reality developing in the area.

To my sorrow, the security fence has not been completed around the settlement blocs, the Philadelphi Corridor will be handed over to the Palestinians, and worse than that, we will allow the Palestinians to open a sea port that will be open to the terror boats.