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Thu Nov 13, 2014, 07:11 PM

Encountering peace: If we had a real leader ( Opinion- JPost )

Talk backs are interesting too.

*The author is the co-chairman of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Schalit. His new book Freeing Gilad: the Secret Back Channel has been published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan in Hebrew and The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas from The Toby Press.

It is doubtful that Netanyahu ever really supported the two-state solution that he spoke of in his Bar-Ilan speeches.

Israel is facing some very dangerous times. Crucial decisions must be made that will shape the present and the future of the nation and the Jewish people for a long time ahead. Israel is often at a crossroads, but now it seems that both the opportunities and the risks are greater and more profound than usual. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to many of the people closest to him, is a very bad decision maker. He hesitates, mostly considering local small politics, taking the easy path above larger more consequential and more difficult choices. It often seems that his own political survival and that of his coalition is his foremost concern.

Netanyahu deflects criticism of his tactical approach to leading by constantly sowing fear through the continual emphasis of the threats, real and perceived, that he articulates so well in his dramatic oral presentations. Israel is truly facing enormous threats, both regionally and globally, yet the lack of Israeli initiative and direction heightens those threats, increasing risks and as such jeopardizes the lives of both Israelis and Israel’s neighbors alike.

Netanyahu, instead of demonstrating bold leadership and vision, has chosen to verbally escalate the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Rather than reaching out to the leaders of Israel’s neighbors, who also face serious threats from within and from around the region, has taken on a course of actions and words that not only alienate them, but also raise the rage of the Arab streets throughout the region and within Israel’s own borders. Netanyahu’s failure of leadership has led members of his own coalition to compete with each other on who can present the most inciting rhetoric against the Palestinian leaders and even against Israel’s Palestinian citizens.

It is doubtful that Netanyahu ever really supported the two-state solution that he spoke of in his Bar-Ilan speeches. Since becoming prime minister he has done little if anything to advance the possibility of resolving the conflict on that basis. Netanyahu has never presented a genuine peace initiative. Even his own so-called “economic peace” was blocked by his own policies of continuing to place so many restrictions on the Palestinian economy that it never had any chance of succeeding.

in full:http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Encountering-peace-If-we-had-a-real-leader-381649

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