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On first campaign stop in West Bank, Netanyahu warns that ‘radical elements’ want to take over Israel

Israel/Palestine
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With more than a half-million Israeli citizens living over the Green Line in occupied Palestinian territory, it was only a matter of time before a frontrunner made a campaign stop there. A handful of Knesset members and candidates live in settlements and for weeks now election posters have plastered major intersections and checkpoints across the West Bank. Then yesterday morning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Judea and Samaria division headquarters with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in Beit El, outside of Ramallah, becoming the first party leader to hold a settlement election event.

And there he issued a veiled warning that ISIS threatens to bring down Israel and the Palestinian government.

“The activity of the IDF and the security services is essential to prevent a takeover by radical elements that would certainly attack Israel and threaten our communities and our people, and would also threaten the Palestinian Authority and take control of the Palestinian public,” Netanyahu said, in a statement released by Israel’s election committee.

Three weeks ago Netanyahu released a video on Facebook, a medium all Israeli politicians in the running are feverishly using to post election ads, equating a victory by the center-left bloc, the Zionist Camp, to an invitation for an ISIS conquest of Israel. The video asserts that only Netanyahu has the gall to fight off Islamic extremism. Moreover it suggests that ISIS has a stake in the outcome of the election where it presumes they see a Zionist Camp win as a red carpet rolled out for its fighters. Jabs at the absurdity of the scenario continued into this week when comedian John Oliver even poked at Netanyahu on his show Last Week Tonight.

“I’m pretty sure if ISIL were going to take over Israel they wouldn’t be politely waiting until after the election—‘death to Israel, pending all precincts reporting. Respect the process guys, stand back’,” said Oliver.

In the past when Israeli figureheads crossed the green line it was a kind of flouting of international law that sent a message of solidarity to settlers. Famously Ariel Sharon went to the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem in 2000, which kicked off the second Intifada. He also purchased the first settlements in the Muslim Quarter of the Jerusalem’s Old City. More recently, President Reuven Rivlin (whose position is not up in this election) went to Hebron in February, sparking protests and clashes from Palestinians. And Moshe Feiglin, Likud’s chief of the Jewish Leadership faction kicked off his campaign tour in radical small settlements in December.

Yet Netanyahu’s visit was not a show of contempt directed towards the Palestinians, or a boost to settlers. Indeed the Palestinians and Israel’s conflict with them are not an issue for Netanyahu in the campaign. A Likud pamphlet released on Sunday stated the prime minister’s party has no agenda for rapprochement or a return to negotiations. Rather, Netanyahu’s monitoring trip to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) headquarters in the West Bank was a capstone to his security challenge to opposition candidates. By stopping there, Netanayhu was again making, albeit softer this time, yet another reference that a vote for the center-left block, the Zionist Camp, is a vote for impending doom.

While in Beit El, Netanyahu also looked back positively on his speech to Congress where he lambasted negotiations between Iran and the U.S. on an easing of sanctions in return for scaling down Iran’s nuclear program. “One week after my address to Congress I get the impression that there are more and more voices, especially in the U.S. but also in other places, that support Israel’s position,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu was apparently referring to the letter of 47 GOP senators, who followed up Netanyahu’s controversial speech, by penning an open letter to Iranian leaders in which they too criticized the Iran deal. The Republicans threatened that if such an agreement was struck, they would have it retracted when the next U.S. president enters office. President Obama struck back and said of Republicans “it’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran.” Yet for Netanyahu the GOP letter was confirmation of his position against the Iran deal.

Also at Beit El, Netanyahu pressed his view that an agreement would allow Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, despite numerous statement from Secretary of State John Kerry to the contrary. “The agreement being formulated between the major powers and Iran gives a clear path to Iran to achieve a nuclear bomb, nuclear bombs; a better agreement must be sought,” Netanyahu said.

Although Netanyahu’s Beit El excursion was his first to a settlement community, it was his second stop in occupied Palestinian territory since announcing his candidacy. He visited the Western Wall at the beginning of the month before departing to Washington for his Congress speech. The Jewish religious site is located in East Jerusalem.

 

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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28 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    March 11, 2015, 10:39 am

    “The activity of the IDF and the security services is essential to prevent a takeover by radical elements that would certainly attack Israel and threaten our communities and our people, and would also threaten the Palestinian Authority and take control of the Palestinian public,”

    It even worse than this because the furrin’ NGO’s are conspiring with lefties traitors to raise the number of Palestinian voters! Democracy is in danger!

    “These are well-funded organizations that can bring the number of Arab [Knesset] seats up to 16 and decide the elections.” [972mag] The nerve of them.

    • annie
      annie
      March 11, 2015, 12:50 pm

      speaking of this ISIS propaganda election theme “essential to prevent a takeover by radical elements that would certainly attack Israel” has anyone else read “ISIS releases video purporting to show child soldier killing ‘Israeli spy'”?

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.646275

      interestingly a palestinian from east jerusalem who “completed 12 years of schooling and worked as a national service volunteer with the Israeli firefighting services….The video, published by the group’s Furqan media outlet, showed Musallam sitting in a room wearing an orange jumpsuit, talking about how he had been recruited and trained by the Israeli intelligence service.

      whether this is true or not who knows. but it wouldn’t be the first time israel has trained palestinian spies. is israeli intel is sending palestinian spies to infliltrate, or join isis?

      Musallam doesn’t really fit the profile of the sort of palestinian who would go to syria to fight alongside isis.

  2. OyVey00
    OyVey00
    March 11, 2015, 10:51 am

    French cartoonist Zeon got arrested recently for drawing “anti-semitic” cartoons about Israel.

    http://www.egaliteetreconciliation.fr/Mise-en-examen-du-dessinateur-Zeon-pas-d-effet-Charlie-pour-les-antisionistes-31446.html

    Offending Muslims = Free Speech

    Offending Jews = Hate Speech

    Learn the difference, goyim.

    • concernedhuman
      concernedhuman
      March 11, 2015, 12:43 pm

      EU’s Mogherini calls for creation of European taskforce on anti-Semitism

      http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/EUs-Mogherini-calls-for-creation-of-European-taskforce-on-anti-Semitism-393593

      And they will protect any one who will offend muslims and will punish any one who will offend jews.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        March 11, 2015, 2:18 pm

        From the article:

        ”Speaking at January’s meeting, EJC President Moshe Kantor asserted that it is “incumbent on the European Union to urgently place combating anti-Semitism as one of its highest priorities because this is a hatred that transcends borders and cannot be dealt with by any single nation on its own.”

        ”one of its highest priorities” eh? Because the economic crisis in several memberstates, the massive inflow of refugees and illegal immigrants, the war in Ukraine, and so on, are only minor problems compared to ‘antisemitism’?

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    March 11, 2015, 11:53 am

    There’s an article in the Guardian about how Herzog is supposedly closing the gap in the elections. The comments are full of ”Herzog sounds like a reasonable guy” and ”I hope Israelis see sense and get rid of warmonger Bibi” stuff. In other words, they are falling for the libzio lie that the problem isn’t Zionism, but Bibi. Just like before, the problem wasn’t Zionism, but Sharon.

    I really REALLY hope that Bibi wins. Nothing will improve for the Palestinians no matter which Zionist fanatic is in power, so it might as well be one who antagonises the world and makes the ugly face of israel impossible to ignore, even for libzios who are experts in averting their eyes.

    • amigo
      amigo
      March 11, 2015, 1:00 pm

      ” I really REALLY hope that Bibi wins. Nothing will improve for the Palestinians no matter which Zionist fanatic is in power, so it might as well be one who antagonises the world” MDM

      Spot on.Why start all over again with the usual roadmaps to nowhere.The endless letters of intent and the inevitable Israeli failure to respond while the Palestinians give more and more away.We all know how it always ends with the Israelis claiming the Palestinians are not willing to make the hard decisions and compromise.

      Enough of that excretion.Abbas should file war crimes charges now.Send a message to nietanyahu in case he gets re-elected or to the other war criminal , livni and her possibly soon to be (war criminal) , hertzog.Put them on notice from day one.First crime you commit will be referred to the Hague.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 11, 2015, 1:03 pm

        Zionism can ‘t change course now. Obama was hopey changey like herzog and look what happened. The 14 plutocrats who run israel bet the house on yesha years ago and expect to win. It does not matter who wins this vote. Israel has painted itself into a corner with palestinian blood.

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        March 11, 2015, 3:23 pm

        +1 MDM & Amigo!

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      March 12, 2015, 7:39 am

      I think you refer to this article. I am fed up of Netanyahu, and want him gone. I know the next guy will have the same stinking zionist policies, but at least for a few days we will be able to handle a new face and voice. I think the world has had it with Netanyahu lies, war mongering, arrogance and open control of Congress. Likud sounds desperate:

      “A text message sent to Likud activists, imploring them to get friends and relatives to vote on Tuesday, reads: “We are in danger of really losing!”

      It goes on: “We must save the day and make sure that every single one of our friends/acquaintances/family makes it to the polls on election day and votes for the Likud. Wake up!”
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/israel-elections-rising-panic-in-likud-ranks-as-opposition-gains-momentum

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        March 12, 2015, 8:29 am

        ” I think the world has had it with Netanyahu lies, war mongering, arrogance and open control of Congress ”

        Which is precisely why I hope he wins!

        With Herzog, Livni or whoever, the lie of ‘liberal Zionism’ will be taken out for a walk once again, and we’ll have another few years of ‘negotiations’, ‘no partner for peace’, ‘both sides’ etc etc. With Bibi, it’s much much harder to pretend that Israel is a nice, liberal democracy just like Britain or the US. That is why he needs to stay on.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        March 12, 2015, 8:35 am

        Most probably you will get your wish. Chances are, Chickenshit will be re-elected, and the Congress will have more chances to kiss his assets. :))

  4. Kay24
    Kay24
    March 11, 2015, 12:56 pm

    Likud officials admit Bibi not doing good in the polls, and might even lose. It seems his arrogant speech did not give them the results they hoped for. Awww…

    Senior Likud figures are increasingly acknowledging that party leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may not win Tuesday’s national election.

    “Something isn’t going the way it should. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last week should have created a turning point for us and strengthened Likud in the polls. It’s clear that we didn’t achieve the desired outcome,” a senior figure in Likud told Haaretz.

    “We came to these elections thinking Netanyahu had no real rival. Now we understand that the picture is much more complex,” another Likud source said.

    “I don’t discount the possibility that [Zionist Union co-leader Isaac] Herzog will win the election,” added another high-ranking Likud figure. “If that happens, I believe his coalition will hold out for a year and then Likud will come back to government.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/1.646390

  5. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    March 11, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I just read that Guardian article, the Tom Friedman piece in the NYTimes this morning putting Sheldon Adelson in the spotlight, and I totally disagree with MDM. Netanyahu is a megalomaniac whose ideology contributed to the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, brought us the Iraq War, would lead us to war – nuclear war – with Iran, etc., etc. The Israeli electorate has grown tired of Netanyahu’s leadership, and he is in a panic about that. What does a panicked megalomaniac with nuclear weapons do in the face of an “existential threat” to his leadership, which the megalomaniac equates with his country? His rhetoric makes clear that he continuously doubles down on his “existential threat” mantra, his only-Likud-only-Netanyahu mantra. The coming week remains a very dangerous time, because if this megalomaniac would waste Israel’s relationship with the US to re-secure his precious “leadership,” what else would he do?

    In Herzog’s hands, the Israeli body politic can begin a new direction. What exactly, MDM, do you REALLY hope to see as the result of Israel’s continuing to follow Netanyahu’s path? Because it all looks terrible to me, for Israelis, Palestinians, the world generally. Nuclear-armed megalomaniacs can do a lot of harm. It’s irresponsible to hope for continuation in order to prove by catastrophe that past political theories were flawed, when they can be corrected by an election.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      March 11, 2015, 2:04 pm

      ”whose ideology contributed to the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, ”

      Yitzak ‘break their bones’ Rabin? Sorry, but I’ll shed no tears.

      ”brought us the Iraq War”

      Netanyahu was not in power then.

      ”would lead us to war – nuclear war – with Iran,”

      That’s what he wants you to believe. The man whose army shat themselves in Gaza isn’t as macho as you think. There will be no war with Iran.

      ”The Israeli electorate has grown tired of Netanyahu’s leadership, and he is in a panic about that.”

      He’s still the favourite to be PM this time next week. And the Israeli electorate only care about themselves, and the fact that cartoon Bibi makes them look bad. The suffering of the Palestinians, which as the enthusiastic support of most Israelis, didn’t even figure in the elections.

      ”In Herzog’s hands, the Israeli body politic can begin a new direction.”

      Do you ACTUALLY believe that? Do you seriously think that Herzog, who complained that Bibi wasn’t being ‘tough’ enough during the Gaza massacre, is going to lead us to a kinder, gentler Israel? Or is he just going to put a ‘reasonable’ face on massacres, sieges and ethnic cleansing? I strongly suspect the latter.

      What in Herzog’s record makes you think he will be a change for the better, in substance rather than style?

      ”It’s irresponsible to hope for continuation in order to prove by catastrophe that past political theories were flawed, when they can be corrected by an election.”

      I don’ t even know what that means, but I do know that the systemic and inherent evil of Zionism cannot be changed by electing one racial supremacist rather than another.

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        March 11, 2015, 3:29 pm

        I fully agree MDM!

      • CloakAndDagger
        CloakAndDagger
        March 11, 2015, 5:17 pm

        @ Maximus Decimus Meridius

        You nailed it! I completely agree on all counts.

    • bryan
      bryan
      March 12, 2015, 4:35 am

      I completely agree, David. Would the ‘MDM’ camp have been cheering on a certain German politician in the 1933 Reichstag elections because “it might as well be one who antagonises the world and makes the ugly face of [Germany] impossible to ignore”? Were they cheering for a George Dubya victory because his neocon backers would move American foreign policy in directions that would discredit American militarism and his economic advisers would so mismanage the economy and international banking that the Republican party would be utterly discredited? Was their partisanship such that they were indifferent to the impact on the German and American peoples? If we disapprove of militarism, authoritarianism, colonialism and racism why be cheer-leaders for militarists, authoritarians, colonialists and racists? Because it will bring hardship and suffering to Israelis and Palestinians and then everything will change? Because they are all nearly as bad as each other we must plump for the very worst one?

      Let me also say MDM that I have enormous respect for your contributions to this site, but I think on this subject you are misguided.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        March 12, 2015, 9:38 am

        ”If we disapprove of militarism, authoritarianism, colonialism and racism why be cheer-leaders for militarists, authoritarians, colonialists and racists?”

        That is about as willfull a misreading of my post as is humanly possible.

        You seriously think that Herzog – who in his long political career has supported the conquest of Palestine in every way, and who complained this summer that Bibi was not being hard enough on Gaza – is NOT a ‘militarist, authoritarian, colonialist and racist’? Are you telling me that Tzipi ‘Cast Lead’ Livni – is NOT a ‘militarist, authoritarian, colonialist and racist’?

        I repeat my question: In what way will a Labour victory improve the lot of the Palestinians one tiny fraction? Could you please tell me, based on your knowedge of Livni and Herzog’s political careers, how they will work to end the siege of Gaza, stop the conquest of the West Bank – which Herzog, in his time as Housing Minister, actively encouraged, or cease the daily humiliations, privations and murders ordinary Palestinians have to endure?

        If a ‘moderate’ leader is elected, libzios the world over will rejoice. Not becuase anything will improve for Palestinians – that has never been a priority for them – but because it will once again allow them to feel good about loving a racist, colonial state with an appalling human rights record. With Bibi, Zionism inches further and further along the road to self destruction.

        Again, if you feel I’m wrong and that Livni or Herzog’s record indicates that they are genuine about justice for the Palestinians, please provide details.

      • bryan
        bryan
        March 12, 2015, 3:05 pm

        That is a huge over-reaction to what I was saying. I used the shorthand of referring to the ‘MDM camp’ not because of any personal animosity to yourself, or even disagreement with your slant on the conflict in general, but because on this one issue you seem to be the most vociferous advocate for a Netanyahu victory, and frequently are followed by others who applaud your perspective. I think this is mistaken, and I clearly acknowledged in my post that Israeli political leaders are “nearly as bad as each other”. But I think two factors need to be taken into account. (1) in the crazy world of Israeli politics every politician seeking election is scared shitless of appearing soft on terrorism, security issues, or appearing to concede an inch to Israel’s “enemies”, and every leader has served in the IDF and is complicit or agitate for Israel to commit war crimes as Livni clearly did in Cast Lead, which was yet another of Israel’s election wars, in which every political leader has to demonstrate their machismo credentials. However I would prefer to focus not on the electioneering statements of Israeli politicians but on their political constituencies – and I think it is incontrovertible that those Israelis who are more inclined to make compromises to resolve the conflict, and are also more progressive on other issues, back the Zionist Union (and of course Meretz) rather than Likud. Livni and Herzog, imperfect as they are, are closer to moderates like Sharett, Eshkol. Rabin, and Olmert, imperfect though they were, than to hardliners like Meir, Begin, Shamir and Sharon. (2) Israelis of course do not vote for a government but merely for leaders who will represent them in the inevitable coalition horse-trading, but Livni-Herzog will look to a centre-left coalition and Netanyahu for a centre-right coalition. I appreciate your argument that the more oppressive and dysfunctional the government the more likely the revolution, but numerous revolutionaries have died waiting to reach the promised land. The UN has achieved little in decades, and BDS may equally take decades to achieve traction. Both would benefit from a centre-left government which will not relish international isolation and not be so ready to retreat into a laager (or a ghetto) as the right-wing will be.

  6. Walid
    Walid
    March 11, 2015, 1:20 pm

    “… The video asserts that only Netanyahu has the gall to fight off Islamic extremism. Moreover it suggests that ISIS has a stake in the outcome of the election where it presumes they see a Zionist Camp win as a red carpet rolled out for its fighters.” (Allison)

    So far, Israel and ISIS have been great pals working on common goals. ISIS even admitted a few months back that Israel was not on its agenda, but as true pals of Israel and Netanyahu, ISIS has come to the rescue with its first execution of an alleged Mossad spy, an Israeli Palestinian from East Jerusalem. This should help Netanyahu.

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    March 11, 2015, 4:39 pm

    Netanyahu and Israel’s illegal actions help cultivate extremism.

    Netanyahu “a better agreement must be sought” That would mean no agreement. Israel should sign the Non Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. Start being part of the nations who have signed these international treaties instead of threatening constantly

  8. amigo
    amigo
    March 11, 2015, 4:48 pm

    Would someone get a very large chain saw and cut The zionist entity off (at the 48 borders) and push it out to sea.

    But first give the Palestinians in Israel a choice to leave if they wish or join the new Palestine.Also give all the illegal squatters all the help they need to take the trip .You are given permission to use “press gangs” to help them make their decision.

    Maybe if they are lucky , they will get to a “friendly shore”—somehow, somewhere, sometime.

    One upside would be the view from the west coast of the New Palestine.Imagine that new fishing ground .It is beautiful , not a squatter or Zionist to be seen .

  9. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    March 11, 2015, 5:49 pm

    The truth will set you free….or make you cry……

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n06/yonatan-mendel/diary

  10. bevkrell
    bevkrell
    March 11, 2015, 7:09 pm

    Radical element: is he talking about the settlers or referring to himself?

  11. bryan
    bryan
    March 12, 2015, 4:46 am

    Netanyahu publicizes the ugly face of Apartheid by campaigning in a region where the inbound expropriators can vote for continued expropriation, but the local expropriated long-time residents have no political rights to influence their situation. The only Jewish [pseudo]-democracy in the Middle East.

  12. Boomer
    Boomer
    March 12, 2015, 8:00 am

    NPR’s morning news program is doing a series on Israel/Palestine this week. Carefully edited, of course, but more than I recall hearing from them. This morning they even mentioned and explained “Area C.” I wondered if Mr. Obama has gotten sufficiently irritated/bold, after Nutanyahoo’s visit to Congress, to pass the word that a little (very little) pre-election coverage would be okay . . . in hopes of getting a “moderate” PM. If so, I fear it merely demonstrates and compounds our complicity, while perpetuating injustice for Palestinians.

  13. amigo
    amigo
    March 12, 2015, 2:23 pm

    On first campaign stop in West Bank, Netanyahu warns that ‘radical elements’ want to take over Israel “.

    Seems to me , radical elements have already taken over Israel.

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