A Yorkshireman's Advice to Netanyahu

"Owt for Now't"

There is an old Yorkshire expression (where I was born)  "if ever tha does owt for now't, allus do it for thisen" – which for those with limited knowledge of the Yorkshire dialect means "if you ever do something for nothing, always do it for yourself."

Yorkshiremen are a pretty dour and ungiving lot – but many of us can associate with the feeling that giving away an asset, for nothing, and with no apparent side-benefits to us, is a bad deal.

Israel made this fundemental error in the Oslo Peace Negotiations – where Israel handed over substantive assets (land, weapons, autonomy) to the PLO, in exchange for nothing (a piece of paper with some promises which the PLO had already broken by the time the signatures were written and the peace prizes distributed) – and to no apparent benefit for Israel (over a thousand victims of terror,a shot prime minister, internal political upheaval).

The same deal was hoisted upon Israel by Ariel Sharon. Sharon gave "owt for nowt", which he called "Disengagement". Forcefully evacuating Gush Katif's 9000 residents, the destruction of  22 bustling villages and the closure of billions of dollars of thriving businesses – was not even claimed by Sharon to be in return for anything. In Yorkshire terms, he was very upfront it was for Nowt, but mumbled it was "fer thisen" – in our interests anyway. A Hamas Coup in Gaza City, and thousands of missiles on Israel's population later, it's impossible to see anything which was to our benefit in that.

Benjamin (Bibi)  Netanyahu had a consistent message, throughout the Oslo "Peace" Process, and against Ariel Sharon's "Disengagement" from Gaza, which Bibi called "Reciprocity". You deliver, we'll deliver. But no more "Owt for Nowt" with Bibi Netanyahu.

It is therefore discouraging that Netanyahu's first major policy implementation is to freeze all new Jewish building in Yehuda and Shomron.

This is not for any quid-pro-quo with the Palestinians. Nor does it seem to be to Israel's benefit in any other way. It sets a precedent that everything the 'other side' of the 1949 borders, except for Jerusalem, is on the table. No "settlement blocks" (a central pillar of all Israeli negotiations till now regarding the West Bank). No movement towards Israel's positions by the Palestinians. No apparent "rewards" from Obama's administration (who dismissed it as "too little"). Nothing. Gornisht. Nada. Nowt.

After 20 years of preaching 'reciprocity' (however we might feel about that) – what the-bloomin'-'eck has happened to Bibi Netanyahu?


  1. He doesn't have a choice I don't think. He needs to be seen to be trying, so he needs to acquiesce to Obama's demands. But I happen to know he WANTS everyone to protest. It is Barak who is being the mamzer.


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