Yediot’s Gvirtz: ‘Ayalon has outdone even Lieberman in recklessness, no mean feat’
As reported here yesterday (February 21 2010) condemnation of Deputy FM Danny Ayalon’s snubbing of the J Street sponsored US congressional delegation has been nearly universal. The only exception was a Kahanist MK. Now joined only by neoconservative apologist Shmuel Rosner (Maariv Hebrew.) Indeed, even a mainline conservative like Yehuda Ben Meir penned a blistering op-ed in this morning’s Haaretz (February 22 2010.)
Yediot’s editorial page is also an ongoing venue for critical commentary. This morning, columnist Yael Gvirtz further elaborated on the “foreign policy gone wild” theme of Sunday’s op-ed by Uri Misgav.
Op-ed, Yael Gvirtz, Yediot, February 22 2010 [Hebrew original here]
It is hard to keep track: the damage with Turkey has not been fixed yet, the weekly damage with the Palestinians and the Arabs of Israel has not been assessed yet, and now we have opened a new front of confrontation with the Congress in Washington. Danny Ayalon is managing to outdo even Lieberman with his diplomatic recklessness, and that is no mean feat.The government of Israel may have countless ministers, but none of them have a deputy minister the likes of the Foreign Minister’s. The damage is too great, too daily. It must stop immediately. Ayalon has to go. If Netanyahu is unable to exercise his responsibility and get Lieberman out of the Foreign Ministry, the least he can do is remove Ayalon immediately.
Without the Israeli government having a political agenda, in the vacuum where the deputy foreign minister is almost the only one (except for his minister) creating “political headlines” abroad, the assassination in Dubai and the diplomatic embarrassment over the illegal use of passports suddenly emphasize the obvious: that Israel needs a functioning Foreign Ministry, professional Israeli diplomacy and diplomatic credit with the rest of the world. It needs every drop of milk that Lieberman and Ayalon spilled down the drain in the last year. Everything built over years of steadfast work was wildly smashed in one year and is gone.
Until now it was a disaster, but now it is a calamity. Until now Netanyahu and Barak tried to put out the daily fires by issuing explanations that “it is not us.” Now we are talking directly about the state of Israel, the need to handle the Dubai mess, the embarrassment and the damage to our intelligence colleagues in Europe. This fire is too big for the last standing icon we have in the international scene, Shimon Peres, to put it out. Now it is plain to see that Israel does not have a Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry has burned down and our credit in the world was destroyed.It is bad enough that Ayalon treats the Foreign Ministry as if he were the boss, but his declarations and actions now show that the boss has gone crazy, that the deputy minister has shot Israel’s already beaten up image to hell. Even if when he was appointed he could have been given credit for having elementary diplomatic experience, one year later it is clear that his was a radical casting error that made Israel’s foreign policy a bizarre parody. It is clear that Israel’s image and foreign relations are in the hands of a pyromaniac, just like we can be sure that the next diplomatic catastrophe of his doing is around the next corner.
When eyebrows were raised over the appointment of Lieberman and Ayalon, Netanyahu intimated that the appointment doesn’t really matter because he would be managing foreign policy himself. But as opposed to Rabin and Sharon, Netanyahu has not led any diplomatic program in the last year, so he cannot enjoy the defense claim that he served as the acting foreign minister. In fact, he abandoned the Foreign Ministry and its staff to the two bandits from Yisrael Beiteinu and let them do with it as they pleased.
The problem is that even a supposedly magician does not have a big enough magic trick to blur and cover a destructive reality. Reality always shows itself in the end and now it’s time has come. The luxury of escaping it has ended. In the present mess Netanyahu cannot allow himself to wait any longer. He has to preempt Ayalon’s next blow by pulling this thorn out of the Foreign Ministry as the first step in repairing the damage.