Sunday, September 29, 2019 8:17 am
By Owei Lakemfa.
Three hippie-like and unconventional leaders of the world; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, American President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are occupying the centre stage of world politics. While Netanyahu, staring electoral defeat, is too dazed to leave Jerusalem for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) his two allies made it to the UNGA only to receive not too palatable news of possible impeachment. Johnson particularly is floating in the air with his coup against the British Parliament reversed by the Supreme Court and running out of tricks and theatricals.
Netanyahu, a consummate warmonger and unscrupulous politician had partly ridden to prominence on the back of his brother, Yonatan who was killed on July 4, 1976 while commanding the Israeli Entebbe Raid to free hostages. He rose higher espousing extremist views with disregard for the lives of Palestinians and non-Jewish Israelis. Promoting wars including recent clashes with the Lebanese Hezbollah forces, he had strived hard to work up the Israeli voters and feed them on a diet of fear. When such antics seem to be wearing out, he dramatically moved the Israeli capital to Jerusalem claiming Palestinian lands in the process. He upped the ante by announcing the annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights. When even these did not seem to fetch him more supporters, he announced that if re-elected he would seize – the better word is steal – more Palestinian lands and give them to Jews.
Despite these desperate and warmongering measures and endorsement by Trump, Netanyahu’s Likud Party in official results released Tuesday night managed to win only 32 of 120 Knesset (parliament) seats including a controversial one retrieved from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party, which now has seven seats. Despite this, Netanyahu is one seat behind his main rival Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan. Gantz was Israeli Defence Forces Chief of General Staff for four years from 2011.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Wednesday invited Netanyahu to form the next government given the fact that he has recommendations from 55 parliamentarians against Gantz’s 54. Currently, he has the backing of nine lawmakers from the Sha, and seven each from the United Torah Judaism and Yamina lawmakers. On the other hand, Gantz has endorsement from 10 Joint List lawmakers, six Labor-Gesher and five Democratic Union lawmakers.
Africans say a man with burning coal in his hand will not tarry for any discussion; Nethanyahu has live coals on his palm, he has no time to entertain the UNGA with his dramatic speeches some of which proved to be false claims. Twice he had mounted the UN stage to make claims of Iran ticking bomb which turned out to be false. At his last UNGA on September 27, 2018 he stood before the world with photographs allegedly revealing: “Iran’s secret atomic warehouse” which would have been in breach of the 2015 nuclear deal with the West. Even his ally, the Trump Presidency had to own up that Netanyahu was telling a lie as the warehouse photograph he showed was merely a place records and archives from Iran’s nuclear programme was kept. American intelligence said the warehouse was: “ full of file cabinets and paper, not aluminium tubes for centrifuges.” Subsequent enquiries revealed the area is used for washing carpets!
The choices Israel faces are, going for a third round of elections in one year, a return of Netanyahu’s Right Wing Government, the rise of a Centre-Right government led by Gantz or a mixture of parties. Whatever the case, even Natanyahu must know he has lost his shine.
Boris Johnson was at the UNGA when news came that the Supreme Court had reversed his coup suspending the parliament and that the parliamentarians had decided to resume seating this Wednesday. He returned home to face angry parliamentarians whom he challenged to move a vote of no confidence against him.
He is audacious in his ways and mannerisms. He is a Prime Minister who boldly declared in parliament that he would disobey the law requiring a negotiated exit from the European Union (EU) It also required him to seek more time for BREXIT beyond the October 31 date he had set. In September he expelled 21 Tory parliamentarians who disagreed with him on BREXIT and two ministers joined the rebels.
Johnson lost the attempt to call general elections before his planned October exit from the EU. With his options greatly narrowed, he is like a cornered rat. I composed a song for my favourite politician: “Great Boris Johnson leads the Tories. Expelling party faithful. The Tories are in tatters. Great Boris Johnson proclaims in parliament. I am Prime Minister, in vain you make BREXIT laws. I will not obey your laws! Great Boris Johnson came to Parliament. He prorogued parliament. Turning Britain into a democracy without parliament.”
In his scheme to suspend parliament, Johnson had dragged in QUEEN Elizabeth II. This reminds me of an old British rhyme: “Pussycat, pussycat Where have you been? I’ve been up to London To visit the Queen. Pussycat, pussycat What did you there?
I frightened a little mouse Under her chair.”
Was Boris Johnson that little mouse that was frightened and must be chased out? I am not sure Margaret Thatcher in all her glory would have been so magisterial dealing with parliament and the British people.
President Trump at the UN made his usual declarations and accusations against various countries like Iran. He was not upbeat as usual; he seemed worried. Then came the announcement by American House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this same Tuesday that the House of Representatives will launch a formal inquiry into whether President Donald Trump should be impeached for soliciting the aid of a foreign country, Ukraine, to smear former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. She said: “The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
The Trump administration had withheld $400 million military aid from Ukrainian. Then in July, Trump called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy requesting him to help investigate Biden and his son, Hunter who runs a business in that country and Zelenskiy obliged. On September 11, Trump released the withheld funds. Even if the funds were not tied with his request, it would still be an impeachable offence. At UNGA, he clowned with Zelenskiy.
Netanyahu, Johnson and Trump remind me of another old British rhyme, a 1609 tale about three mischievous and adventurous mice whom a farmer’s wife chased, blinding them. It runs: “Three blind mice. Three blind mice. See how they run. See how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife, Who cut off their tails with a carving knife, Did you ever see such a sight in your life, As three blind mice?”