Ever since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from his trip to the United States on Oct. 3, which ended in another media conflict with the White House, he has been totally immersed in plans for advancing the primaries for Likud Party chief.
Anyone who hoped to see a post-Operation Protective Edge Netanyahu make an effort to lead the regional diplomatic initiative he had alluded to, now discovers that the prime minister is mainly preoccupied with rehabilitating his political position within the Likud and the right. Netanyahu’s recovery plan includes confidence-building measures vis-a-vis his right-wing electorate in the form of promoting construction projects in Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood and land expropriation in the Etzion settlement bloc. As expected, these plans led to unprecedented, harsh reprimands from the Barack Obama administration. However, this is Netanyahu’s way to strengthen his grip on the right, in the struggle vis-a-vis HaBayit HaYehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and against elements in the Likud’s hard-core right.