Netanyahu The Moderate?

Suddenly Netanyahu looks like a moderate politician.

He could have invaded Gaza, but he didn’t. This is despite the fact that he was under pressure from elements within his own Likud party and other right-wing political parties who are his political rivals.

And now it seems that his government is not going to dismantle Oslo if the Palestinians go through with their UN bid.

The fact that ultra right-wing politicians in his party such as Danny Danon and Moshe Feiglin have gained prominence in the recent Likud primaries will mean that next to them and Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu will look like Henry Kissinger. What not to like about that Mr Prime Minister?

This is all well and good for him, but for Israel the rise of the ultra-right is damaging and dangerous. After last night’s primaries, Likud looks increasingly like the US tea party.

If his party heads the  next government after the elections, that means that we in Israel will be living in a tea party state.

And how did all this come about? How did people like Feiglin and Danon who are anti-two state solution and pro invasion of Gaza secure such high places in Likud? The answer in my opinion: the pro-settlement figures like them have seen their constituency grow in numbers, with government support. Netanyahu has expanded settlements and created an atmosphere where extremists like them look like the ones who are good at getting things done, not the moderates.

So while Netanyahu may suddenly look like a moderate, in reality he has done much to create an atmosphere where the extremists in Israeli politics can grow in strength and numbers.