President, Recordbreaker, Criminal…?

Photo: New York Post

Photo: New York Post

Oilver Fisk, Staff Writer

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            If I were to tell you that last week, citizens went to the polls somewhere in the world to voice their opinion on a populist, arch-nationalist leader under pending indictment upon charges of collusion and corruption, one could certainly be excused for checking the date of the calendar and paying unenthusiastic mind to the President of the United States of America,  Donald “Dump Water on Notre Dame” Trump. However, there actually exists another democracy led by a different man who also finds himself presently embroiled in a legal maelstrom of controversy.

I am of course referring to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. On the 9th of April, the people of Israel were tasked with chartering their country’s political course for the next four years. The choice was relatively simple – elect the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu for his record fifth term in office, or back an opposition coalition party whose rhetoric was comparably devoid of any anti-Arab prejudice.

With the final counting of the vote, uncertainty was the principal victor. Netanyahu, leader of Likud, claimed a resounding victory for his right-wing alliance, while Benny Gantz, the head of the much more moderate Blue and White Party, declared it too early to concede defeat. Likud only garnered 36 seats out of a total of 120, but in true Israeli tradition seeing as no party has ever won an outright majority, was able to work with Haredis – extremely conservative and orthodox Jews – to form a nationalistic and right-wing block of 65 to take control of the Knesset, the Israeli legislature.

            Netanyahu essentially won by doing an even more exquisite impression of Donald Trump than Alec Baldwin. Upon being indicted by his own attorney general for brazenly doling out media and tax favors, Netanyahu responded with Trumpian propriety and self-accountability. He labeled the investigation a “witch-hunt”, before proceeding to characterize it further as a ploy on the part of the ‘establishment’ – the maleficent media, the nefarious academia, and the pernicious judiciary- to drag down a man of the people. If all emanating from Netanyahu was to be taken for fact, then the aforementioned basic institutions of democracy would be transmuted into ‘safeguards bastions of privilege’, Leftist NGOs would be bussing in Arabs to illegally vote in the election, and the opposition party would be agreeable with the immediate construction of a new state for Palestinians. These are obvious falsehoods, but in a country wherein the fastest growing population is also the worst-educated group as well as the most religiously conservative, the ground is quite fertile for any mendaciously endeavoring, power-hungry politician – like Netanyahu – to sow rhetorical seeds of discord and disunity to prompt the general citizenry to fearfully cower into the politician’s own corner.

            Netanyahu’s victory might have its origins in the impalpable, but the effects will undoubtedly be tangible. In a final attempt to solidify his reputation prior to the election taking place, Netanyahu made a rather perturbing promise. He promised to annex the Israeli settlements within the West Bank, illegal under international law by the way, much to the roaring approval of his loyal base and those who are eager to purge the Palestinian people of the land commended to them in 1967 by the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords. Such a move is, of course, so popular as the removal of rightfully Palestinian land would also, by extension, rid the Palestinians of their ability to establish their own state and corresponding government. Obviously, there can be no discussion of a ‘two state solution’ between Israel and Palestine, if the former state has taken all the latter state’s land. Netanyahu, owing to his despicable pandering, now has the popular mandate to create a de facto one-state solution and to effectively curtail the possibility of the Palestinians ever realizing their dreams of independent self-governance.

President Obama might have held Netanyahu to a higher standard and would have likely been hesitant to see his Middle-Eastern ally deafen his ears to the voice of reason, but Trump seems to apparently have no qualms with such a potentially jeopardizing move. Contrarily, Trump, himself, did his own imprudent part to get Netanyahu elected, by spurring the United States to become the first country in the world to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

In 2016, Trump claimed to have “earth-shaking” ideas for a ‘Deal of the Century’ that would revolutionize the status quo of the Middle-East and procure an unabating, perpetual peace. Since arriving in office, Trump has not spoken softly once, and has gone about engendering instability by essentially prodding regional leaders with Roosevelt’s Big Stick of old. Our President’s blind, unwavering support of Netanyahu may yet prove, for lack of a more geographically appropriate metaphor, to be straw that breaks the Middle Eastern camel’s back.

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