This Is All It Took For Donald Trump To Slink Backwards

This makes for the smile of the day in the news.

A day after being criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his comments about Muslims, Donald Trump abruptly announced that he is “postponing” a planned trip to Israel and rescheduling a meeting with the country’s leader until “after I become President of the U.S,” NBC News reports.

Israeli Spying Shows ‘Staunch Ally’ Spitting In America’s Face

A front page damming story today in The Wall Street Journal on Israeli spying of United States negotiations over curtailing Iran’s nuclear program should open eyes concerning the divisive nature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

It should be noted–for all those who care about how we have to use taxpayer dollars to remain safe–that the U.S. expends more counterintelligence resources fending off Israeli spy operations than any other close ally.     How many of these types of ‘allies’ can we afford?

I have never regarded Israel for anything other than what it is, and what it continually proves itself to be.  That being a nation no more morally grounded or ethical or prone to higher ideals than any other nation.  Selfish interests are its only guiding force and for anyone to portray the Jewish state as somehow more worthy of special treatment or greater latitude simply misses the reality of the situation.

That was made perfectly clear in today’s article in a conservative American newspaper.

How the informational material was amassed, and then how the bastards shared the information gathered from the talks during partisan congressional briefings in an effort to build political opposition to a deal should alert all to the false notion that Israel can be called a ‘staunch ally’.

There is no lack of spying among nations, nor do I mean to lead readers to think my concern deals solely with the use of spycraft.  Rather it is the underhanded and despicable manner in which Israel manipulated the data and worked to destroy international attempts to alleviate a major source of concern in the Middle East.  And to so totally spit in the face of the American government is totally out of bounds.

It is offensive.

American Resolve For Middle East Peace Must Be On President Obama’s Agenda

There has never been a time since the creation of Israel that the United States did not have a stake in the Middle East.  Beyond the economic need for oil, or the larger international power plays during the Cold War there has always been the close bond between the two countries.

It is hard to say if there is any more reason this week than last for hope at gaining at securing a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.  The just concluded election in Israel might have opened a door, as slim as that might be, given the limited views of  Yair Lapid regarding international politics, and his seeming frustration with Arabs.

Lapid was the star of this election cycle, and while he is moderate on social and economic issues has all but stated that peace with Arabs is mostly a concern so that Israel can look good in the eyes of the West.  Not exactly the high-minded thinking one hopes from a politician, but one takes what one can get.

The new coalition government will be formed, but the key will be in the details as to how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can fashion the slim numbers he can play with into something that can actually govern.

Which leads me to President Obama.

While his administration has spent time and energy on Asia, and can correctly make a strong case as to why our future economic and military ties are essential in that region of the world there is no getting around the fact that nothing matches the needs of the Middle East.  While it is true that decades of Middle East diplomatic activity does not seem to add up to diplomatic piles of success there is another truth about the region.  If the United States does not pay attention to the needs of the region, the headlines created in our absence will draw us back again.

The only thing that works in the Middle East is international pressure, led by the United States.  Without some strong guidance, leverage, and arm-twisting no one thinks that Netanyahu will be able to see his way to a negotiating table.   The essential ingredient in the always heated and fragile mix of Middle East politics and diplomacy is an American president willing to roll up his sleeves, spend some political capital, and get down to business.

It is easy to be frustrated with the Middle East, angry at Israel, and confused by the needs of the Palestinians,  But that thinking can only be allowed in coffee shops where newspaper readers gather to solve the world’s problems.  In the places of power there needs to be a re-commitment to the a two state solution, and perhaps now with Netanyahu in a less comfortable political position he might be more willing to play ball.

If Israel really wants to look good for the West lets give them another opportunity.

President Obama needs to place Middle East peace near the top of his agenda.

Benjamin Netanyahu Will Need To Find A Moderate Face Following Election Results

Between Benjamin Netanyahu overplaying his hand with Mitt Romney in America’s election, he also missed the best hand when dealing with his own nation’s electorate.

I am very pleased at the results starting to come in from the just concluded Israeli election.  Not only do the results lift my hopes for the region, but also allow me assurance that the people of Israel will not all be lumped into the right-wing definition that often gets used when talking about their politics. Even though there is a very deep moderate element to Israeli politics, there are too many times when the hard-edged element of the Israeli government makes headlines that shame the whole nation.

Therefore the election returns are not only surprising, but hopeful.

While there were rumblings for weeks in the election coverage that something powerful might happen, no one truly predicted the moderate face that Benjamin Netanyahu must now show the world.

As polls closed at 10 p.m., Israeli news channels reported that Mr. Netanyahu’s rightist Likud-Beiteinu list would win 30 or 31 of Parliament’s 120 seats, and the new centrist party, There is a Future, would take 18, followed by left-leaning Labor, with 17. More important, the polls showed a significant tightening between the bloc of right-wing and religious parties, with a razor-thin majority of 61, and 59 for the center-left factions.       

“Israelis are asking for a moderate coalition,” said Marcus Sheff, executive director of The Israel Project, an advocacy group. “Israel’s middle class wasn’t asleep as people assumed. The embers of the social protest are still strong.”       

The exit polls, which are preliminary, suggested that Mr. Netanyahu’s challengers had a far stronger showing than the prime minister and his aides had anticipated. Two hours before the polls closed, Mr. Netanyahu made an urgent appeal for support from Israelis who had not yet voted.       

“The Likud leadership is in danger,” Mr. Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page around 8 p.m. “I ask you to leave everything and go out now to vote,” he added. “This is very important to guarantee the future of the state of Israel.”       

While Mr. Netanyahu’s joint campaign list with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu faction was still expected to win more of Parliament’s seats than the next-largest party, making him the likeliest candidate to lead the next government, a relatively weak showing and a surge for centrist and left-leaning parties could force him to moderate his policies and leave him with a fragile coalition of competing interests.

What Will Benjamin Netanyahu Do?

Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion.  But what will history say about this man?

“But to be a historic figure, one must make history. Now we will find out what the king really believes. Is he a statesman or a pol, a builder or a general, the Israeli leader who can finally make peace with the Palestinians or the one who launches a potentially disastrous unilateral attack on Iran?” “Can he keep Israel a distinctive Jewish state and preserve it as a democratic one? As a historian of the Zionist movement, Bibi knows these choices ­better than anyone else. As a soldier, he also understands the dark history that lies behind the creation of Israel. The question is whether he is a prisoner of that history or can write a new narrative….

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu And September 26, 2010

CP has eyes set on September 26, 2010.

Cutting to the core of the matter is the ever-problematic and always illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank.  A partial moratorium on those construction projects expires next month.  In the first week of September direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are set to begin in Washington. 

No one needs to be reminded why the talks are extremely important.  The Palestinians have said they won’t engage in talks if an extension isn’t granted.  Who can blame them for that position, given the track record of Israel encroaching with more and more people and structures on land they do not rightfully own.

Therefore it is vital that Washington and the world players apply pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to continue the moratorium.  Without the  moratorium these talks are never going to get past the photo-op stage.  That would be a dreadful outcome. 

While conservatives in the Likud Party are blustering about all sorts of political reprisals should Netanyahu continue the moratorium he might ask them where else can they go?  Are those foaming in Israel for more building willing to destroy Netanyahu’s coalition government?  I suspect they are not.

If these settlements were not such an important policy question it would be just interesting to see the political back-and-forth from Tel Aviv.  But the world needs more than just cheap theatre from Israel.  We need some real dialogue from the main players in the Middle East on some of the thorniest issues yet to be resolved in the peace talks.  But nothing can happen if Israel sticks a pole into the eyes of the Palestinians by building more illegal homes.

Leadership will either come on September 26th from Netanyahu, or history will note another failure.

CP has eyes set on September 26, 2010.