Benjamin Netanyahu, who many expect will become the next Israeli prime minister, tried to steer a path that expressed complete support for the Gaza war which his political rivals are leading while reminding everyone that he has a firm grasp of world affairs and recognizes the importance of restoring Israel’s reputation in the world. He argued Israel is not targeting Palestinian civilian while in the next breath emphasized the importance of placing the safety of Israeli soldiers before the lives of Palestinians. He restated the Israel claim that Hamas has placed weapons amidst civilians and used that to justify indiscriminate bombing of areas in which the Israel military knew civilians were clustered.
Netanyahu has been the most strident voice in Israel politics for a hard line against Hamas and the ongoing attacks and bombing merely support what he has been insisting must be done. When asked about his ideas concerning a vote by a Knesset committee that would ban participation of two Arab political parties in the upcoming election, he supported the recommendation on ground no one should be allowed the “freedom to destroy democracy.” This is a shocking statement given that Israel for decades has argued it is the only true democracy in the region, but this mad war in Gaza has now put to rest Israeli respect for democratic institutions.
It is not surprising that Israel leaders cite George Bush as their hero who stands up to terrorism. Sadly, they have now adopted Bush’s disrespect for democracy in the pursuit of security at any price. Security can be attained, just check with any dictatorship and one finds how voices of opposition are stifled. Netenyahu does admit Israel must regain its moral standing in the world, but how can that be achieved by placing in office a man who has no respect for democracy in his own nation?
The only good news in the Middle East is that America will soon be led by a man who respects the Constitution and civil liberties.