Oct 9, 2012

Netanyahu Orders Early Elections

Joel C. RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

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Several days ago, as rumors of early elections were swirling in Israel, I emailed an advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu and asked these two questions: “As a practical matter, can the PM legally take the country to war if the government has been dissolved and preparing for elections? If so, is there a scenario in which Netanyahu calls for new elections in Feb, but launches a war in Nov, Dec or Jan?”

The advisor’s reply to both was short and to the point: “Yes.”

Benjamin Netanyahu

How Does This Fit into the PM’s War Planning?

There is no question in my mind that Netanyahu is getting ready for war with Iran. The question is: How? Is he using early elections to shore up his political support and divide his opposition at an opportune time? His Likud Party is riding high in the polls right now, while the Kadima party is plunging in the polls? Or is Netanyahu using the elections to cause Iran to think he is putting off his decision to go to war, when really it is imminent? Both? Neither? Netanyahu is certainly keeping things interesting. But one thing is clearer today: the rumors of early elections are not rumors any more. It’s a fact—Israel is going to the polls, and soon.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu announced Tuesday evening that he will be bringing forward the next general elections to early 2013,” reports the Times of Israel. “He did not specify a date, but said he would go to the polls ‘as soon as possible’ and spoke of a ‘three month campaign’—which could mean as soon as January 2013. ‘I seek a renewed mandate from the people to continue to lead the state of Israel,’ he said. He said his government, which was about to mark four years in office, had been ‘the most stable in decades.’ It had made impressive achievements in the fields of security—including deployment of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and progress on the Israel-Egypt border fence—and on the economy, even in the midst of global financial crisis. But there was still much work to be done—including thwarting Iran’s nuclear drive, defending Israel’s borders from terror and infiltration, maintaining Israel’s regional peace accords, protecting Israel’s interests in peace efforts with the Palestinians, and nurturing the economy, Netanyahu said.”