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Netanyahu's legacy will haunt Israel

In his many years as Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to destroy relations between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, and the right and left.
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event by his Likud Party to show support for its leader in Tel Aviv, Israel August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RTS1B3GU
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“We have to preserve [late Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon as we would an etrog. To keep him in a sealed box, padded with sponge, cotton wool and plastic wrap, at least until the end of the withdrawal. … He must be protected not only from the political banners, but also from the legal ones.” Veteran journalist Amnon Abramovich's iconic statement, made at a February 2005 seminar held at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, was a response to claims that the press was handling Sharon with kid gloves despite the mounting criminal investigation out of support for his controversial plans to withdraw Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip. This attitude of whitewashing corruption in return for promoting peace has come to be known as “itrug,” and it was also relevant in 2008, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was facing corruption allegations.

Unlike those two politictians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has burned every bridge on the road to peace. No one has invoked the term “itrug” in reference to the torrent of criminal suspicions raining down on him and his associates. Netanyahu set ablaze the one to the Palestinians, without which a solution based on the principle of two states for two people is not possible. During his many years in power, he missed no opportunity to miss an opportunity — an accusation generally leveled at the Palestinians — for dialogue with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Instead he took advantage of every chance to punish the Palestinians by expanding construction in Israeli settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank's Area C, designated as land for a future Palestinian state.

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