Mar 19, 2017

Same Old, Same Old

News came this week that U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt would travel to Israel to meet with Israeli officials. It is supposed to represent the friendliest air both sides have breathed together in a decade.

With Donald Trump now in the White House, and many Israel-sympathetic aids like Jared Kushner (the President’s son-in-law), pro Israel folks are giddy at the prospect of what two pro Israel governments can accomplish when they put their minds to it.

But, not so fast.

A bill has been introduced in the Knesset that would allow the Jewish state to annex a “controversial” “settlement,” Ma’ale Adumim, which is located just east of Jerusalem. The community (which is gorgeous, by the way) is controversial in part because it would cut off Arab communities from Jerusalem in the event a Palestinian state is ever birthed.

According to a report in the Times of Israel:

“A vote on a contentious bill annexing a large West Bank settlement was delayed at the last minute Tuesday, as the Jewish Home party agreed to push off the move to avoid friction with the Trump administration.

“The vote on annexing the Ma’ale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem will now take place Sunday, possibly avoiding clashing with a visit by US official Jason Greenblatt, dispatched to the region this week to help formulate Washington’s policy on settlements and possibly look to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”

As it has for decades, Israel must defer to the international community and the insane and evil land-for-peace deal.

If Israel’s own government cannot conduct business because it’s feared that a U.S. friend would be offended or politically “embarrassed,” how does anyone think Trump’s campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will come through?

Since the American billionaire improbably won the election against the Establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, pro Israel supporters have salivated at the prospect that the long-awaited embassy move would take place.

But Greenblatt can’t be embarrassed.

The request for the delay came after a meeting between Greenblatt and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Diplomats and politicians are concerned (of course they are) that annexing the 40,000 population will cut off the southern and northern parts of Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank as it’s known these days.

What seems clear is that the failed Oslo process is going to be with us until Jesus comes back, and I’m only half-facetious.

I don’t believe for a minute that the aids around Trump, such as senior advisor Steve Bannon, are anti-Semitic, as has been reported by the left-wing Press.

But I do believe that most if not all of the Trump Team is mainstream political, which means that the “Palestinian-Israeli negotiations” for “peace” still resonates. It makes sense to politicians.

After all, we can’t expect them to embrace a Bible most have never opened or been introduced to. This is still Washington, after all.

And not to sound depressing, but those who thought Trump might radically redraw the American political landscape might end up being disappointed. Can Obamacare be repealed? Will Trump get a handle on the fiendish press? Will Establishment operatives like John McCain be neutralized politically?

No one knows yet how all this will play out.

When it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, we do know already that humanistic peace schemes are still the order of the day.

At least Mr. Greenblatt was spared the unthinkable: Israel seeing to its own dignity.