Netanyahu the Palestinian

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will probably win another term – a loathsome prospect to the US, the Israeli left, most European leaders, and especially Palestinians. Unlike previous Israeli prime ministers, Netanyahu has emulated the Palestinian political strategy, consolidating his power in the process.

PHILADELPHIA – In January, Israeli voters will go to the polls for an election that promises to hand Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a renewed mandate. Few prospects are more loathsome to the Israeli left, US President Barack Obama’s administration, most European leaders, or many American Jews.

But no one regards the prospect of another Netanyahu government with more anguish than the Palestinians. In the Arab-Israeli conflict’s long, tortured history, they have reviled no Israeli prime minister – with the possible exception of Ariel Sharon – more than Netanyahu. The reason is simple: he is one of them.

Literally, of course, he is not. But, unlike previous Israeli prime ministers (again, with the possible exception of Sharon), Netanyahu has emulated the Palestinian political strategy of sumud, or steadfastness.

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