Beyond the Cusp

March 12, 2017

Israel and the Netanyahu-Trump Effect

 

There was hope across the growing Zionist public spanning Israel when Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the United States elections. There was hope that finally the Israeli government would be freed to act as they had promised. The end of President Obama and his opposition to Israel claiming dominion over land legally theirs under International Law was seen as the dream of a promise realized. The “settlers” would finally be permitted to be brought under Israeli law and the end of Jordanian rule in Judea and Samaria and most definitely the Temple Mount. Finally Israel would be freed from the opposition and constraints imposed by President Obama, the United States State Department and could finally ignore the European Union and its venomous spitefulness. Prime Minister Netanyahu could finally make good on all his promises to extend Israeli law to Judea and Samaria allowing Arabs to sell land to Jews and ending the dictatorial oppressive rule by Mahmoud Abbas. Israel could bring the remainder of our land under public rule ending the military occupation of our own lands granting full civil, property and economic freedoms and liberate these areas from military rule. Civilian police would soon be empowered and there could be real election under Israeli and international supervision which would guarantee the end of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority death grip over the Arab populations. The end of the Palestinian Authority and the empowerment and economic development which would follow such an extending of civil rule replacing military rule and would soon change the entire emotional realities as the graft and theft of resources by their governance would be reduced hopefully soon to negligible to completely nonexistent. This was the dream viewed by many once Donald Trump assumed the Presidency and the Israeli government would be free to act on its Zionist imperatives.

 

Something went horrifically wrong and the signs were strong and immediate. What was terrifying is that none of these horrific events originated in the United States. From the Administration of President Donald Trump we received the best announcement with which to launch such as the expected Zionist actions from the Israeli leadership. President Trump stated his immediate intent to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem. Here it was, the opportunity of their lifetimes and they dropped the ball, almost every last one dropped the ball and then kicked the ball out into the Mediterranean and back into Trump’s face. The immediate hemming and hawing if not outright rejection, as one Minister of the government reacted, of the announcement of the intent to move the embassy was outright embarrassing. What should have had people out in the streets celebrating with our leaders out in front of the parades instead had our government leadership hanging their heads slowly shaking them mumbling things like, “I don’t know about this embassy move” or “we had better check with the Arabs and see what they think” and “well, this is kind of sudden and we need time to think” or finally, “we should not take this as an indication that Trump will be helpful or do anything that might be risky.”

 

There would be no parades or street celebrations because our leadership is suffering a terminal case of Stockholm Syndrome. They have yet to recover from their shell-shocked barraged existence not only for the past eight years but since 1967 when the government did not act and declare our return to our rightful homelands and annex all of Judea and Samaria right after the Six Day War. International Law backed our doing so then and still applies as these are our lands, have always been our lands even when Jordan illegally occupied and militarily held them, and especially now that we had liberated them from that occupation. Had Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister acted in such a manner, or even Golda Meir after him, then Israel would not have faced the ever growing demands from the rest of the world to sign away our rights to our ancient homelands. We should have understood that the world was going to fight to steal our lands and deny us that on which our history played out. The problem the world has faced has been one simply truth, it is land which rightfully belongs to Israel and only to Israel with the only exception being if Israel can be forced to sign these lands away. We will watch as George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice are lionized going down in history as amongst the greatest of world leaders as they dazzled Israel with promises of grand support and baffled us with promissory notes supporting our rights getting Ariel Sharon to rearrange his entire government forming a new coalition and sliding, nay, breaking every rule of forming a coalition in the middle of a term without holding elections and finished the deal with the Prince of Crawford giving away the Gaza Strip. We all have witnessed how well that has turned out and learned the exact worth of all the promissory notes, letters, words and smooth talking of Condoleezza cooing in Ariel’s ear a pleasant song of misdirection. Now we have taken the approach of mowing the Hamas sawgrass every few years and now we are actually thinking of repeating this mistake.

 

With great effort Netanyahu, with a huge assist from Lieberman and the not so loyal opposition, forced President Trump to now be rethinking moving the embassy and has spoken the words “two state solution” and all this after taking his first step towards allowing Israel to realize every Zionist dream. We have turned an American President from a Zionist supporting friend into a puzzled and retreating American President rubbing a bruise over his offer to move the embassy to Jerusalem delivered not from Abbas but from Netanyahu and Lieberman and fellow travelers. The most right wing government in Israeli history, or at least that has been the accusation, has become the government which turned the tide of victory back into defeat. In a single month they turned a pro-Zionist Washington into a repeat of any normative Washington reserved and wary of pushing anything which might be too pro-Israel because taking such a road appears to upset the Israeli government. We bet Mahmoud Abbas is laughing and was Trump’s best friend during their phone call during which resulted in Trump inviting Abbas “to visit the White House soon to discuss ways to resume the (Palestinian-Israeli) political process,” according to official Arab-Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas’s spokesman. This turn around forced not by trickery or smooth talking and threats from the Arab world but by buffoonery and rejectionism of the best offer of friendliness Israeli leadership was ever going to receive from Washington. We took promises of freedom to act and perform that which we felt necessary with the greatest leeway imaginable and threw it back in President Trump’s face screaming how dare you make us so vulnerable to the hatred of Europeans and the Arabs and maybe even infuriating Iran making things dangerous. News flash, this rejection of a hand extended in sincerity offering to assist us in building a single nation with a Jewish majority and possibly having a large number of legal resident aliens who may have been offered Jordanian citizenship or resident aliens without a country at worst. Why worry about the rest of the world as with the full support of Washington for the next four years minimally we could have outlasted the ire of the world which would have died down within two or three years at the longest. Now we will take those same two or three years even to get to the point where President Trump will feel comfortable with moving the embassy to Jerusalem but apparently he will be doing so against the will of any Netanyahu governance as now Netanyahu has discovered that Iran does not like Israel and until that is settled he cannot be bothered with any Judea and Samaria talk.

 

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

 

Yes, you read that correctly, Iran might not love Israel. This is something that has just taken seat one on the Prime Minister’s mind. Nothing else can be countenanced for discussion until this problem is resolved. Don’t talk crazy about embassies and moving them to Jerusalem, worry that Iran might target Jerusalem some day. Annexing Judea and Samaria or even just Area C which Oslo Accords awarded to Israel and do not even bother mentioning annexing the largest and closest settlement blocs as right now we must all think Iran, Iran and only Iran. That is the message the Prime Minister’s Security Cabinet was given. When one member began to mention “Judea” he never got the following words out, they might have been “and Samaria” but we will never know because he was met with the glare from the eyes before the head even turned which froze his lips right there. That was the end of discussions of Judea, Samaria, Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump as our best friend, Trump as our best opportunity, even discussing the plans for developing the Galilee which is already presumably in the works and it had best continue on its own as Netanyahu has Iran Fixation!

 

Iran Fixation is a rare disease brought on by the opportunity to do whatever we desire within our Internationally legal borders which allows for the head of the government to continue enjoying traveling to any nation in Europe and enjoying the high society soirees with his wife while never hearing the mention in Europe or at home of Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem. Iran Fixation allows one to have a ready excuse for any and everything which anybody might want to raise as an issue as under Iran Fixation the answer to every question is, “Iran is the number one threat and has our entire attention right now as it should be and ‘whatever the questioner asked’ cannot take the government away from the Iranian threat.” This Iran Fixation would necessarily end all discussion of anything other than Iran and how to ready the military to face this Iranian Fixation, theirs and the Prime Minister’s as they keep chanting “Death to Israel” and he keeps chanting, “Iran threat.” So, our fellow Zionists, we have bad news and it begins with the words, “Iran Fixation” and ends with the words, “Prime Minister Netanyahu.” Somewhere in there is the plea that we manage to survive this bout of Iran Fixation which is plaguing our Prime Minister and his government. Iran Fixation is paralyzing our government from taking actions which would have been proudly and gladly backed by the United States under President Donald Trump. The unfortunate thing was when President Trump entered office and exclaimed his intent for moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, not just to Peta Tikva, but all the way through Peta Tikva onto Jerusalem, he was met by the Israeli Defense Minister declaring that Israel must take great care not to push Washington too far” which he could only have meant that Israel hold back Washington from being too much an unhindered friend for Israel and guard Washington from itself by keeping the present restraints in place and the Prime Minister screaming that first we need to talk about Iran. We can only imagine the conversation between President Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu when they met in the White House for their first face-to-face. Trump asked, “How soon can we move the embassy to Jerusalem?” and Netanyahu answered, “As soon as we solve Iran.” So Trump queried, “How soon can we advance the settlements?” and Netanyahu answered, “As soon as we solve Iran.” Starting to worry, Trump cautiously advanced, “How soon should the United States make Abbas hold real elections?” and Netanyahu answered, “As soon as we solve Iran.” Finally, in complete exasperation after over an hour of Netanyahu answering, “As soon as we solve Iran,” Trump asked, “Should we go and meet the media waiting outside?” and Netanyahu answered, “As soon as we solve Iran.” Somehow Trump wrestled Netanyahu out of the Oval Office and demanded he stop saying, “As soon as we solve Iran;” so they could hold their photo op and press meet. Fortunately Netanyahu managed to say more than, “As soon as we solve Iran.” Unfortunately he has returned to stating as an answer to everything, “As soon as we solve Iran.” And his Iran Fixation simply will have to pass with time and hopefully he will recover before Trump leaves office or Netanyahu may find himself leaving office.

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

February 14, 2013

Obama Administration Rumored to be Pushing for Restart of Israel/Palestinian Peace Talks

The rumblings began with President Obama’s new Secretary of State John Kerry after he had spoken with Israeli President Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Palestinian President Abbas, and Jordanian King Abdullah II. Secretary Kerry was simply exuberant when relating how both President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu from Israel had assured him during their discussion that they were willing to restart peace talks. Secretary Kerry was equally effusive about hearing from both Palestinian President Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II that they were optimistic about resuming the peace talks provided the Israelis proved willing to meet their hopes by showing a willingness to meet with them with respect for their position and would treat them with fairness. To listen to these responses one might find it difficult to understand why talks have not simply been held all along. President Obama during his State of the Union speech alluded to the peace talks being resumed between Israel and the Palestinians placing some urgency on that desire but he did not enter any in depth comments. Despite Secretary Kerry’s exuberance, it appeared that President Obama might have detected some language that caused him lower expectations. So, which one is correct, a cautious President or an overly anxious new Secretary of State? The answer comes once one translates the responses Secretary of State Kerry received and what they really mean.

Let us begin with the Israeli responses. Secretary of State Kerry spoke initially with Israeli President Peres who was one of the initiators of the Oslo Accords and has always proven to be more optimistic than practical when the subject is the prospect for reaching a peace accord. President Peres’s entire legacy is wrapped and intertwined with the Oslo Accords and the success of the peace initiatives. President Peres has been the go-to Israeli even when not holding any office when Europeans or the media need a pro-peace statement regardless of the actual situation, which explains his stating that he has high expectations that a peace agreement is close and can be attained easily once the peace process resumes. The more down to Earth Prime Minister Netanyahu also is extremely willing to resume the peace process even if his expectations are that there are some difficulties which make doing so complicated. The answer that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave Secretary of State Kerry is very likely the same answer he has been giving since he returned to the office of Prime Minister, namely that he is ready to restart negotiations and meet with Mahmoud Abbas with no preconditions immediately if Abbas is willing. So, so far it appears that the negotiations are but maybe a photo-op and a press conference away, but are they?

So, what could possibly stand between the parties and resuming the peace talks? There is one other person who is not standing in the way of resumption of the talks, and that is Jordanian King Abdullah II. Unfortunately, though he has no objections, the talks can go or not go completely independent from his desires. That brings us to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He too has expressed a go signal for talks but within his affirmative answer he has couched language which signifies that he also imposes conditional requirements on the restating of the peace process. He never states these preconditions to any other parties other than Israel; he just adds some coded language about the Israelis needing to prove willing to meet their hopes by showing a willingness to meet with them with respect for their position and would treat them with fairness. Then when the time comes, if Palestinian President Abbas remains true to form, he will gladly meet for the press conference and photo-op and sit through the initial session during which much of the program is simply formalities and done as a show of promises to come. Then Abbas will make his move and demand an initial precondition that Israel must meet before he can continue any further with the peace talks. Ever since President Obama placed the demand on Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel implement a building freeze on all areas beyond the 1967 Lines, aka Green Line or 1949 Armistice Lines, President Abbas has made that his opening demand with the added proviso that the freeze be permanent until the talks have been completed. When President Obama made that demand, Prime Minister Netanyahu reluctantly complied by imposing a ten month freeze during which Abbas claimed that Israel was not really committed to the freeze or they would make it permanent. Then, with just under three weeks left in the imposed freeze Abbas met once more for another photo-op and then demanded another freeze before he would sit with Netanyahu. Should it appear that the Israelis might meet any preconditions, Abbas has a whole list which he picks other almost randomly just to keep new excuses, or at least ones which sound fresh, in the mix making it impossible for any talks to be resumed. Some of his other preconditions have included, and this is not a complete list, allow the import by the Palestinians of weapons to upgrade their security forces, removal of all roadblocks and security checkpoints, prisoner releases, peace talks utilize borders from before the 1967 war as the starting point for border negotiations with any changes completely depend upon Palestinian consent allowing no recourse for Israel to implement changes, and if all preconditions fail Abbas will demand the ‘Right of Return’ of at a minimum five million Palestinians into Israeli final borders with complete citizenship with all rights including voting immediately upon their arrival. There is one last action which President Mahmoud Abbas has utilized to place talks on hold, he simply holds reconciliation talks with Hamas and agrees to reunite the two factions and plays along on that front long enough to get past any serious threat of talks being forced upon him.

The reality is that there is a moderate possibility for a press conference complete with photo-op and possibly one meeting without any progress followed by preconditions being demanded by President Abbas placing any further talks in jeopardy. There is always the possibility that the United States could stand behind the Palestinians and fully back their demands on Israel. That would soon produce yet another question; how far would President Obama be willing to go in backing Mahmoud Abbas and his litany of preconditions? Where would President Obama back away? Would he only back the demand for another building freeze? Would he allow for the pre-1967 War lines to be the starting position for border negotiations? Both of these preconditions were first initiated by President Obama so he just might back both of these demands. But would he demand open borders, open military weapons trade rights for the Palestinian Authority, allow entry into treaties with other nations including mutual military training operations within the Palestinian Territories, the release of all, or at a minimum some, of the Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, the end of the Gaza blockade, or would he pull out all the stops and grant even the wildest of Abbas’s dreams with the full force of the United States. This is only one of the questions which will be answered over the next few months or possibly the rest of the Obama Presidency. Sometimes I fear the questions almost as much as the answers as either one can ruin an otherwise good day.

Beyond the Cusp

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