Livni’s loyalties

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Last week opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni published a very odd op-ed in The New York Times. She regurgitated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s position that there is a difference between democratic processes – like elections – and democratic forces, which are dedicated to liberty and freedom. The latter need democratic processes to rise to power and secure their freedom. But both democrats and tyrants can and do make good use of democratic processes, like elections, to gain power.



Livni’s article was strange for two reasons. First, throughout her tenure as a senior minister in both the Sharon and Olmert governments, she never distinguished herself as a champion of democratic forces, either in Israel or in the Arab world. As justice minister under Ariel Sharon in the lead up to the mass expulsions of the Jews from their homes and communities in Gaza and Samaria in August 2005, Livni oversaw the enactment of draconian, patently unconstitutional restrictions on the rights of her political opponents to demonstrate their opposition to the government’s policies. She approved moves that prohibited lawful protests, arrested without charge and held without bail thousands of lawful citizens simply on the basis of their political convictions and curtailed the freedom of movement and property rights of tens of thousands on the basis of their political views by interdicting private buses and cars on highways and expropriating property.



As for the Arabs, in 2005, Livni had nothing to say in favor of the Lebanese March 14 movement which successfully forced the Syrian military to withdraw from Lebanon. Far from supporting these champions of democracy and freedom, Livni held her tongue and was identified with the Israeli view that we were better off with Syria in charge than with the instability wrought by freedom. By the same token, she also had nothing to say about Syrian dissidents rotting in Syrian prisons for advocating freedom.



Throughout her tenure as foreign minister, Livni never had a word to say about the democratization of Iraq. She never took the time to defend Mithal Alousi, the Iraqi liberal democrat whose sons were assassinated in retribution for his visit to Israel and his outspoken championing of peace between Iraq and Israel.



She never said a word to encourage Egypt’s democracy forces or to distinguish between Egyptian liberal opponents of President-for-life Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.



Finally, and most importantly, Livni never discussed or evinced the slightest interest in democracy among the Palestinians. She did not oppose the Bush administration’s decision to permit Hamas to participate in the 2006 Palestinian elections. She never seriously objected to Fatah repression of liberal forces in Palestinian society. She never even credibly objected to the rampant anti-Jewish propaganda put out by Fatah-controlled media, mosques, schools or universities.



LIVNI’S DECISION to pen an article for a major American newspaper about an issue she has never championed was all the more bizarre given the current focus of US-Israel relations. As her article was hitting the presses, the Obama administration had already begun openly denying the existence of one of her self-proclaimed great achievements in office. In recent years, Livni has repeatedly claimed that as justice minister in Sharon’s government, she played a central role in convincing the Bush administration to agree to support the permanent retention of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as part of an eventual peace deal with the Palestinians.



The agreement with the administration was publicly announced in May 2004 by then president George W. Bush at the White House following his meeting with Sharon and published in a public letter from Bush to Sharon. Bush’s letter recognized that Israel would not return to the 1949 armistice lines and that major communities and blocs of settlements in areas within its domestic consensus like the Adumim bloc, the Ariel bloc and the Etzion bloc would remain under Israeli control in perpetuity. The same is true for areas like the Jordan Valley which are essential for ensuring that our borders are defensible.



Sharon upheld the Bush letter as an “unprecedented achievement” in a speech before the Knesset. And he, his chief of staff Dov Weisglass, Livni, and Ehud Olmert all presented it as the payoff for leaving Gaza.



IN RECENT MONTHS, Elliot Abrams, Bush’s deputy national security adviser has published several articles making public the fact that Bush’s letter formed the basis of a detailed agreement between the administration and Israel relating to construction within the settlement blocs. None of Abrams’ colleagues have gone on record to dispute his disclosures.



It was on the basis of both Bush’s letter and this more detailed agreement that both the Sharon and Olmert governments agreed to permit the US to act as an arbiter of Israel’s implementation the so-called road map peace plan. Based on these side agreements, which were undertaken as formal US commitments, both the Sharon and Olmert governments believed they had secured US backing for further building in Judea and Samaria and the permanent presence of Israeli communities there, even in the event that a Palestinian state is established.



At the time, commentators like myself, and Likud leaders like Netanyahu criticized Sharon, Livni and Olmert as naïve for believing Israel could trust a foreign government – no matter how friendly – to act as a guarantor for its national security. While the Bush administration may have been a trustworthy ally, given the fact that the US is a democracy, there was no way to know that obligations undertaken by the Bush White House would survive Bush’s tenure in office. Livni’s blindness at the time to the nature of shifting national interests and to the perils of placing our national security in the hands of others bespoke her foolishness.



BUT FAR WORSE than her earlier naïve bravado about her supposed diplomatic acumen is her current silence in the face of the Obama administration’s dishonest denials of the existence of the agreements she and her colleagues concluded. Today, in the face of repeated and patently false statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserting that no agreements on this issue were ever reached, Livni has opted to say nothing. And here she is not being foolish. She is demonstrating a pernicious opportunism that is frankly dangerous for the well-being of the country.



By refusing to insist on the existence of agreements that just months ago she trumpeted as her great claim to fame, Livni is lining up behind the Obama administration as it seeks to blame the absence of peace in the region on the Netanyahu government’s refusal to accept obligations that she herself never accepted. In her bid to destabilize the Netanyahu government in the hopes that by doing so she will advance her own fortunes, Livni is collaborating with an American assault on the democratically elected government of her country in spite of the fact that this assault is predicated on false allegations against her own policies in office.



No less significant than what Livni’s perfidious collaboration with the administration against her own government tells us about her character is what the nature of the Obama administration’s assault on the Netanyahu government tells us about Livni’s central strategic platform.



Both today and during her tenure in power, she has advocated a national security strategy based on subcontracting vital national security interests to outside forces. Just as the US was supposed to act as a guarantor for the settlement blocs, so, from Livni’s perspective, Fatah forces and an international force comprised of European and perhaps US military units were supposed to protect Israel from Gaza in the aftermath of withdrawal from the area. This was also her vision for a post-withdrawal Judea and Samaria.It was also her position on how the c
ountry should secure its interests regarding Lebanon and Hizbullah. And it is also her position that we should trust the international community to protect us from the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran. As far as Livni is concerned, there is no vital interest that Israel cannot trust outside forces to secure for it.



Both today and during the time she was in office, we have been witness to instance after instance where Livni’s strategic rationale was proven wrong. From Hizbullah’s postwar emergence not as an international pariah but as a legitimate force in Lebanese politics, recognized by the likes of Britain even as it works to transform Lebanon into an Iranian colony and overthrow the regimes in Egypt and Morocco, to the Obama administration’s decision not to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, her view is exposed as folly.



From the administration’s acceptance of the Hamas regime in Gaza as manifested by its $900 million pledge of humanitarian assistance to Gaza and Obama’s demand that Israel open its borders with the Iranian proxy terror enclave, Livni’s position has been a demonstrated failure.



From the US’s commitment to building a Palestinian army to its patently mendacious denial of the Bush administration’s formal commitments to Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria, Livni’s strategic framework has been shown to be not simply foolish, but dangerous to the country.



All of this is important for both the public and the Netanyahu government to bear in mind in the coming days, weeks and months. Today the local print and broadcast media are putting massive, unrelenting pressure on the government to bow to US pressure and come to some sort of an agreement with the Obama White House. Yet what the administration’s denial of previous US commitments and the crisis these denials have provoked show is that such deals and accommodations are completely worthless.



Then too, Livni’s own behavior towards both the government and the Obama administration tells both the public and the government something very important about her willingness to behave as the loyal opposition. Very bluntly, Livni’s silence in the face of the administration’s lies about her own record shows that she is more loyal to her parochial political interests than to national interests.



During his visit to Dresden, Obama remarked that with Jerusalem’s current governing coalition, it will be difficult for Netanyahu to bow to his will and stop allowing Jewish building beyond the indefensible 1949 armistice lines.



In making this point, Obama was clearly signaling that the White House would be happy to see Kadima join the government and compel Netanyahu to adopt its strategic view that Israel is better off empowering outsiders to secure its national interests. But what Livni has shown – both through her political behavior and her strategic outlook – is that the country and the Netanyahu government are better off without an agreement with the Americans and without Kadima and its leader in the government.



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.



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  • Marcel 06/08/2009 at 17:43

    When it comes to learning from past mistakes Livni is a perfect expample of Israel.
    You don’t learn.
    The problem started back in 1993 and Likud and Labor have refused to deal with this reality since then.
    It’s only festered and become a bigger stinking sore.
    Remember, Livni is the product of the Likud Day Care Academy as were the treacherous betrayers Sharon and Olmert.
    They each failed the test every Jew has taken since Abraham and sold their souls to please their masters in Washington.
    Sommething Netanyahu has had experience in doing.
    There seems to be a sort of fantasy,delusional malaise which has taken over the leadership in Israel,the left and right.
    Even Netanyahu spends his time working out ways to appease the latest devil in Washington.
    The nation is neutered and no one can stand up to the evil Empire.
    It’s not just Livni. Look how silent Netanyahu has been on so many of hte same issues.
    We have a weak Livni versus a weak Netanyahu, theyt’re both losers and bad for Israel because they desire to placate evil instead of resisting it. It’s only degree which seperate the ex-Likud lady from the fake Likud Netanyahu whose compromise tells me he’s already sold his soul as Sharon did for lies and worthless side agreements.
    There is only talk of limiting how much to surrender to the will of Israel’s golden calf.
    There is a complete denial and ignoring of the will of Israel’s God in all of this and this is why it will go bad for Israel,for Likud,for Kadima,for Labor,for everyone.
    You can’t ignore His will and run like pre-pubescent little girls to please Obama and have a good outcome.

  • Marc Handelsman, USA 06/08/2009 at 18:46

    Former foreign minister Livni believes that the Likud government will fall soon. Ms. Livini’s strategy is to plan for a comeback, and it’s in her best interest to remain above the fray, and appear like a statesman. That might explain why she wrote her article for the “New York Times.” Israelis need to remember that the disgraced Kadima party allowed Israel to be at strategic disadvantage when Likud took over the premiership. With the Obama administration unfairly pressuring Israel to surrender Yesha, the country needs competent leaders, not career politicians.

  • Ted Moran 06/08/2009 at 20:21

    To call Livni a whore would be an insult to honest whores who only sell their bodies. Livni is not only selling her soul, but is selling the soul of Israel.
    With Livni, the Left in general and Kadima in particular falling all over Obama and the governments of the EU I am reminded of what G-d told Ezekiel to write, ‘They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols.’

  • JAVittorio 06/09/2009 at 5:06

    … A belated congratulations regarding the Guardian of Zion Award, Caroline. An interesting pattern it’s been to watch, (although no joy in it, understandably) innit—notwithstanding the plans of (ahem) mice, the same. I liked your Livni – Obama coupling btw. And with that, just to keep matters shorter than longer unto ending here, glad you’re on the watch, as they say. Again, congratulations.

  • Ron Grandinetti 06/09/2009 at 6:18

    Caroline thanks for the analysis of Livni’s exploits.
    Israel’s enemies see this division as a weakness prompting them to widen the division in an attempt to create chaos in the leadership.
    Israel has many enemies and they would love to see the government collapse
    For the survival of Israel during these trouble times unity is a must not a myth.
    Its time to put personal and petty differences aside and unite in support of the new government.
    I certainly did not coin it “United we stand, divided we fall”.

  • Tomer Elias 06/09/2009 at 15:24

    Livni is completely delusional also, she still believes that the majority of the country sees things her way and refuses to accept that most of us voted against her views.
    A few things I don’t understand right now is how Netanyahu is going deal with all the false pressure she and the Israeli media is putting on him with all the recent statements by the world leaders that completely forget there are two sides for to conflict and insist on focusing on Israel. Even though the majority of Israeli’s support what our current government is trying to do you don’t hear about it and there is a feeling like what the people voted for doesn’t count and the only thing that matters is what the world says we should do.
    What are we going to do if Netanyahu decides on his speech next sunday to accept the ways of Obama and go against what he was voted for?
    For once we need a strong leader that cares more about Israel and less about what the world has to say about him and I believe that the current events will be Netanyahu’s true test.

  • Marcel 06/10/2009 at 8:29

    “The president of the United States (Barack Obama) and Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) have made our policy clear – the only viable resolution to this conflict is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states,” Mitchell told reporters after the meeting in Ramallah.
    “As President Obama said last week, America will not turn… (its) back on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own,” he said, referring to Obama’s address to the Muslim world.
    The U.S. is the perfect example of a two timing whore.
    The slut likes many partners and is faithful to none.
    Israel is too faithless and stupid to dump the whore and dirties herself in this sick, perverted relationship wich will only bring great suffering and misery.
    There is no peace coming out of this sick marriage.

  • Philippe Ohlund 06/10/2009 at 12:39

    Great post, Caroline!
    I read in today’s Jerusalem Post that Tzipi Livni voiced her backing for a two-state solution.
    Livni said: “I fully believe this is in the interest of Israel – the idea and implementation of two states for two peoples – and this is something we can show the United States of America”.
    Tzipi Livni is wrong in doing and saying this.
    She should fight for every inch of Israel!
    You are correct in your criticizm of Livni in your excellent article, Caroline!
    Keep up the good work and you will soon be in the government teaching the others what is right.
    You know what is right, just keep pushing!
    The outcome will be crazy, but it will be good.

  • beniyyar 06/10/2009 at 13:53

    Tzipi Livni is still piqued over losing the last election, and her inability to “get over it” is what is most disturbing to me as an Israeli. Even her faulty judgement, her ebullient praise for her non accomplishments, and her shallow pubescent view of world affairs don’t bother me as much as her lack self control and personal dignity.
    Even though Ehud Olmert was a crook and a thug, he did behave with a certain noblesse oblige. There is nothing particularly noble about Tzipi Livni.

  • Toni 06/10/2009 at 13:57

    I always get confused whenever she makes the news. Is her last name really Livni or Abbas like her “husband” in Damascus. I honestly can’t tell the difference.

  • DaveP 06/10/2009 at 18:48

    Israel is far too concerned about it relationship with the USA, believing that its very existence depends on the good will of America.
    It is however worth noting that there many countries in the world that do not care a whit about America, and survive quite well. Even North Korea, down on its knees, or Cuba, can take an independent stance. Israel is far from the weak postion of the last two. Moreover, Israel needs to address the people of America, that a strong Israel is the only way for America to have influence over Arab countries.
    America is also a country, very similar to the UK, that cares more for its enemies then its allies. In someways, it is better to be a stated enemy of the USA, and see the strings-free Jizya pouring in, then a loyal ally.

  • DaveP 06/10/2009 at 19:06

    Indeed many of the latter day leaders of Israel have been too weak, and caved in to US pressure. However, in the final analysis, it is the people of Israel who have judged that weak and accomodating leaders are the best way to achieve peace with the Arabs.
    I find this attitude surprising, considering that Jews were the the very first ethnic/religious group to face the Islamic Jihad, and should really know better. But there you go.
    In related news, Jewish leaders condemn the gains made by parties such as that of Geert Wilders. These Jewish leaders in Europe know full well, that the increasing population of Muslims in Europe, is the main cause of the rise of anti-semitism. And yet while Geert Wilders party is explicitly pro-Israel, it is his party that comes in for attack, rather then Leftist parties that have enabled the rise of Islam in Europe.

  • Marcel 06/11/2009 at 7:07

    Dave ,
    You got it. The insane and twisted leadership is only a reflection of the people as we see with decadent,perverted,wicked,delusional,blind,
    cursed America.
    It’s amazing how much sickly Israel seeks to emulate the image of their desire and devotion.
    Faithless,idol serving and idol chasing Israel is being led into a corner from which there is only one escape.
    The only hope which Israel has ignored and replaced with the U.S.
    For all practical purposes,the god of Israel is America.
    We can see that Israel’s idolatry has enslaved them to a new Egyptian taskmaster.
    I’ve often asked the idol worshipers in Israel; ‘What will they do when their god America is no more?’
    I’ve never gotten an answer.
    They are vertically challenged and can’t imagine life without their great big false god on the Potomac.
    I can tell you for sure that the U.S. yoke around Israel’s neck will be removed.
    It could be sooner than we think,I’m watching the N.Korea,Iran,Russia,BChina axis closely.
    History repeats
    The destruction of the new Egypt is closer than you think.
    ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Ass Obama: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
    For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction….
    And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
    Isaiah 10:27

  • Baruch 06/11/2009 at 11:54

    The handwriting is on the wall. The honeymoon between Israel and America is over. If Netanyahu wanted to step up to the plate and hit a grand slam in his speech on Sunday, then he would send a message to America to that effect.
    Undoubtedly, not all Jews in America believe that the territories are an integral part of Israel – whether for security or historical reasons and they may disagree with Israel’s policies. But now Israel’s sovereignty is being threatened not by its Arab neighbors so much as by its friend and ally, America, whose government is for all intents and purposes putting forth the notion that Israel is the problem, which you have done a good job of describing as “linkage”.
    Clearly, Obama has bought into this unfounded concept, which asserts that the root of terrorism is linked to the “plight” of the Arabs in the territories. As has been well documented, this theory is also employed by anti-Semites, and history has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that appeasing such individuals almost always leads to disaster. Tzipi Livni should have learned this, but it would appear that she has not.
    The bottom line is that Israel now has to stand up and take charge and make bold moves. The Likud must actively reach out to American Jews who support its policies and win their support as this will be crucial in terms of Israel’s survival. This was done once before in the 1970’s when Jimmy Carter pulled the same “land for peace” stunts as Obama, and the Likud under the leadership of Menachem Begin led the charge. At that time there was a threat from Iraq, and like Iran it too was developing nuclear capabilities under the guise of peaceful civilian use. However, Begin took the lead and took out the reactor in Osirak.
    History is now repeating itself a generation later, and it should be made plainly clear to those willing to listen that appeasement did not work then and it will not work now. Your articles come very close to making this point, and hopefully a consensus is reached soon as to a plan of action on how best to confront the clear dangers that lie ahead if this matter is allowed to continue to drift. If history is any indication, and if lessons of errors in the past have been learned, then the handwriting is truly on the wall.
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to express my point of view.

  • Ron Grandinetti 06/11/2009 at 14:47

    Baruch you’re right on.
    “But now Israel’s sovereignty is being threatened not by its Arab neighbors so much as by its friend and ally, America”
    “The Likud must actively reach out to American Jews who support its policies and win their support as this will be crucial in terms of Israel’s survival.”
    I have been saying for some time American Jews need to step up to the plate and be counted.
    There are certainly plenty of Jewish organizations in the US and I can’t for the love of me understand why they can’t get their act together with one voice and let this administration know they support Israel and the rights to her sovereignty in all of Israel including Judea, Samaria, Golan Heights, Gaza and the Sinai.
    I am sure they will gather support from non-Jews as well as I believe a majority of Americans support Israel.
    You are also correct in Netanyahu has to step up and hit grand slam.
    “Obama No We Won’t”

  • Bradford Stephen Kyle 06/11/2009 at 22:02

    All other countries should have known this by now: The US President negotiates treaties, but the congress approves them. Without the official approval of the Senate, presidential agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Once approved, they assume constitutional status.

  • Marcel 06/12/2009 at 10:29

    All other countries should have known this by now:
    The U.S. President’s are defacto Caesar’s who issue their Executive Order’s with totalarian disregard for the Constitution.
    The idiot’s who worshiped Bush forget the he called the Constitution a g–damn piece of paper which he trampled with gusto just as his cousin, the pervert Clinton did.
    A good example of the fakery was Congress voting to move the U.S.Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 1995.
    Every Globalist president since then as defied the will of the people without any trouble from the neutered right and left voters.
    This is how Hussein O can fire the head of G.M. without any protest or censure.
    The people have already lost their country.
    The rubber stamp Congress ,both parties are so corrupt that they put on a show of a no longer existent two party system to fool the fools.
    And the loyal zombies,the voters keep lapping it up.
    The U.S. political process,the corrupt left and the corrupt right will not save anyone or anything from what is coming to this nation which has rejected the One who bless’es and gone after the curse.


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