ISRAEL NEEDS UNITY TO WIN
By Schmoel Yitzhak
In 1940, prior to the Nazi lightning blitzkrieg that enveloped France, many military analysts believed that the French army was well-positioned, militarily and strategically, to halt any Germany offensive.
The French Army boasted modern equipment -- tanks in particular -- and had completed the Maginot Line which appeared to protect much of the Franco-German border. What's more the government in Paris anticipated Adolf Hitler's vengeful designs.
There was, however, a distinctly weak underbelly that, in the end, would speed a remarkably hasty defeat -- acute disunity among French leaders in the face of a crisis which paralyzed the government and, in turn, its armed forces.
This should not -- make that can not -- happen in Israel if the Middle East's only democracy is to survive, yet the seeds of disharmony not only have been planted; they have been flowering at a time when all hands must unite behind Benjamin Netanyahu in the face of innumerable threats on such diverse fronts as Turkey, Egypt, the United Nations and even, strangely enough, Jordan.
In times such as these, Israel cannot afford the high-level nitpicking that eventually brought down the French government so quickly that even Hitler was surprised by his speedy victory.
And yet Tziipi Livni seems more interested in assailing Bibi at every turn for the most selfish reasons rather than support him in a critical battle with Mahmoud Abbas that could turn down and dirty in a very short time.
Livni's fatuous suggestions that Netanyanu is not doing enough to engage the Arabs in peace talks is ridiculous in the extreme. If she's campaigning to depose her rival as prime minister at this time, it only reveals that her desperation as a politician has erased any sense of patriotism that may have existed in the past.
Not that Tzipi is the only culprit; only the most egregious sinner when it comes to disunity.
During the past year Netanyahu has made as many concessions as one could expect only to be rebuffed over and over again by Abbas whose pre-conditions to talks could never be accepted by a rational Israeli leader.
Livni knows this; her Kadima associates know it as well as, I assume, new Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich who -- if she is as wise as some believe she is -- will quickly align herself with Bibi in this blood feud with the Arabs.
This hardly is the time for political nitpiking in Jerusalem; not when the Arab-contaminated UN will shoot down any Israeli initiative no matter how pure while, at the same time, the world body will support a Palestinian state that would be judenrein and, thereby, more of an apartheid country than South Africa at its worst.
We all know that Israeli politics has been rife with in-fighting from the country's birth but we've also seen how patriotic leaders have supported the opposition when the nation was in crisis. Netanyahu, himself, earned bi-partisan plaudits during Operation Cast Lead did just that very thing rather than incessantly attack the party in power as Livni has done.
Some observers believe that Yacimovich will move toward some form of patriotic support for Bibi & Co. as his administration confronts some of the most serious challenges that nation has faced in years. I'll reserve judgement on Shelly for now, secure in the knowledge that she has to be more dependable than Livni who has proven herself most interested In Tzipi's ascent to power than her country's good and welfare.
It is foolish for leaders of Meretz and Labor to urge Netanyahu to go back to the peace table; he has offered to do so many times before the most recent UN meetings and has since expressed his wllingness to meet with the Arabs at any place; any time.
The Livnis of Israel must know in their hearts by now that it's futile dealing with the likes of Abbas. Anyone who criticizes Bibi for his handling of the Palistinian Authority should digest the wisdom of columnist Barry Rubin who puts the issue in perspective.
"The world," says Rubin, "is groveling before Abbas, a ruler of a mere one million people who is in partnership with an explicitly genocidal group, is dependent on Western hand-out, refuses to negotiate or compromise, and has cancelled elections at a time when democracy is supposedly the big thing in the Middle East."
If Livni still believes that her Prime Minister should go out of his way to make further concessions to Abbas then she is doing no more service to her nation than those French leaders in 1940 who brought disgrace and defeat to their country.