The “speech of his life” must now quickly become the speech of Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political demise. The hour is pressing, there is no time and nothing is going to come of Netanyahu any more. Even the snake oil peddlers who proffered masses of expectations in advance of the speech, who told us that Netanyahu 2 is different from Netanyahu 1, that the man had “matured,” “internalized,” “grown wiser” and “become more moderate,” that he has learned the lessons of his previous term in office and that we can expect “sensational surprises” from him – they, too, must now admit the bitter truth. The Israeli Leonid Brezhnev is occupying the Prime Minister’s Bureau. A man of yesterday, frozen and rigid, uncompromising, deaf to the sounds of his surroundings and blind to the changing times. His term in office, heaven forbid, must not drag on for nearly 20 years, the way Brezhnev’s did.
In the coming days, he might still be able bask in the warmth of the American legislators’ hollow ovations. But once this foam on the surface of the water disperses, the question will arise in full force: What now? Then it will become clear that this prime minister has got us in trouble. Big trouble. We lost the Palestinians a long time ago, and now also the White House’s America. Once the speech ended, the chances ended. Before it, we didn’t know (ostensibly ) where the prime minister was heading. After it, we know the crystal clear answer: nowhere. To some more gained time after which there is nothing, except for increasing dangers and a chance missed once again.
To Netanyahu’s credit it must be said he is not the first. Quite a number of his predecessors wallowed in the belief that empty and lost time will heal all ills. For way too much time here, the belief in time has been the only belief. But the times they are a-changing, there’s a battle outside and it’s raging and Netanyahu isn’t budging from the old road. No and no and no. No to the 1967 borders, no to Jerusalem for two nations, no to the right of return, no to the Palestinians’ justified demand to be free, like all peoples.
Now it is certain: Netanyahu will go down in the history of Israel and of the world as a forgotten footnote.