Netanyahu, In Political Bind, Comes Bearing Gift

By Caitlin Taylor

May 18, 2009 9:14am

Even if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu were inclined to support a two-state solution to his country’s conflict with the Palestinians — a matter  President Obama will push today, with likely Netanyahu pushback — his hands may be tied.

The Jerusalem Post reports today that a wide majority of parliament members in Netanyahu’s Likud party oppose such a move.

At least seven Likud ministers are on record against a Palestinian state, the newspaper reports, including Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Minister without Portfolio Bennie Begin, Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein, Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan, Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz and Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon.

Members of the Israeli parliament, or K’nesset, "might be afraid now to say that Bibi doesn’t have a majority for two states in the faction or other Likud bodies, but later on they will make their voice heard," said Likud K’nesset member Danny Danon. "In any public campaign against a Palestinian state, Begin and Ya’alon would be at the top."

Netanyahu is bearing more than this news, however. Ha’aretz reports that Netanyahu is bringing a gift for President Obama: a copy of "Pleasure Excursion to the Holy Land," from Mark Twain’s book "The Innocents Abroad."

The book describes Twain’s 1867 trip to what was then called Palestine, which you can read HERE.

"The population of Jerusalem is compose of Moslems, Jews, Greeks, Latins, Armenians, Syrians, Copts, Abyssinians, Greek Catholics, and a handful of Protestants…" Twain wrote. "It seems to me that all the races and colors and tongues of the earth must be represented among the fourteen thousand souls that dwell in Jerusalem. Rags, wretchedness, poverty and dirt, those signs and symbols that indicate the presence of Moslem rule more surely than the crescent-flag itself, abound. Lepers, cripples, the blind, and the idiotic, assail you on every hand, and they know but one word of but one language apparently — the eternal ‘bucksheesh.’ To see the numbers of maimed, malformed and diseased humanity that throng the holy places and obstruct the gates, one might suppose that the ancient days had come again, and that the angel of the was expected to descend at any moment to stir the waters of Bethesda. Jerusalem is mournful, and dreary, and lifeless. I would not desire to live here."

- jpt

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus