US Trip Bolsters Netanyahu's Popularity - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article called Netanyahu's government Israel's worst ever, accessed through the following link:
Allied with Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu and ultra-Orthodox Shas, extremist partners, their coalition Knesset is hardline, racist and lawless, co-opting weak opposition members to go along most often to get along.
As a result, Israelis, Palestinians and regional Arabs suffer from policies endorsing belligerence, occupation and repression, a combination spurning democratic values and peace, let alone a viable independent Palestine.
Yet following his US trip, Netanyahu's perhaps more popular than ever according to a new Haaretz/Dialog poll. It found:
-- 47% of Israelis called his visit successful compared to 10% saying he failed;
-- around half of Israelis felt "pride," compared to 5% calling his congressional address a "missed opportunity;" and
-- most Israelis don't think he hurt ties with America; 27% said they improved, only 13% saw them weaker, and around half see no change.
According to Haaretz writer Yossi Verter, weeks earlier "Netanyahu seemed to be in hot water (with) 38 percent expressing satisfaction with his performance and 53 percent disappointed with it...."
New poll results reversed the numbers, his bump exceeding Obama's after staging bin Laden's alleged killing, one now largely eroded, suggesting Netanyahu's gain may also be short-lived. Voters always want to know what officials have done for them lately, especially on pocket book issues, Verter saying:
"It would be worthwhile for Netanyahu to savor this week and enjoy the weekend. These numbers are exceptional, and it's unlikely they will hold up over time." Middle East uprisings, in fact, don't "give its leaders (much) to celebrate," nor should Netanyahu crow after harsh criticism, including in Haaretz op-eds.
Ari Shavit said his "peace stance is running Israel into a wall, (offering) no gesture, no generosity, (and) no peace plan."
Gideon Levy believes he's "relegated himself to the footnotes of history," calling the "speech of his life," his "political demise," revealing him to be a "man of yesterday, frozen and rigid, uncompromising, deaf to the sounds of his surroundings and blind to the changing times."
Carlo Strenger called his "win" Israel's "loss," saying the only winners were the media, getting lots to write about, and Netanyahu buying more time.
In contrast, Palestinians got "further evidence that there is no use in negotiating with (his) right-wing government," dictating unacceptable terms. As a result, "Israelis will have to pay the price." So will Palestinians and peace advocates.