17 Feb 2020

The Meddlers

Jimmy Carter (a Jew-hater, by the way) is famous for his post-presidency endeavors, including Habitat-for-Humanity. I think Carter is an odious person, going back to his mishandling of Iran in 1979, but one of his most infuriating traits was meddling in foreign policy.

Imagine being George W. Bush, or even Bill Clinton, and learning that Carter was meeting with and hugging the North Koreans, or Hamas, or Castro. Carter never met a blood-thirsty dictator he didn’t like.

Carter has betrayed his country many times but unfortunately, he’s not unique. One wonders why former heads-of-state continue behaving as if they are still in office years after they leave office.

A few days ago, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with the dastardly Mahmoud Abbas, and the two made news by criticizing the now-famous Trump Peace Deal.

I met Olmert twice, once when he was mayor of Jerusalem and later when he was deputy prime minister under Sharon. The second time he was shopping around a book manuscript titled, Running Jerusalem (still a great title!). I regretted at the time we did not land the deal. This was of course a couple years before Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered his place as Israeli premier.

There is no doubt that Olmert and Netanyahu dislike each other. In this way, they are like most other politicians, for whom competition is a way of life.

This week Olmert penned an op-ed for the Jerusalem Post, in which he criticized Netanyahu’ approach to Trump’s plan. Olmert’s words dripped with loathing. He supports the creation of a Palestinian state.

“Netanyahu never really planned to implement Trump’s peace plan. This was just another one of his famous stunts. From his point of view, why should we make peace with the Palestinians if instead we can just unilaterally annex the Jordan Valley and thereafter be able to apply Israeli law to all of the settlements in Judea and Samaria – and take control of the rest of the land that theoretically belonged to the PA. According to Bibi, this should put a stop to terrorist attacks and would bring about a period calm. The Palestinian problem would just disappear from our lives.

“It turns out, however, that an administration that feels a deep responsibility to Israel is not willing to get carried away with the prime minister’s antics. Netanyahu and his posse still hold out hope that the American president will tear up his ‘Deal of the Century’ and accept Israel’s unilateral annexation, which is likely to fan the flames of terror and even undermine the shaky peace we have with Jordan and Egypt.”

Olmert is correct that all this comes at a delicate time for Netanyahu. If he fully endorses Trump’s plan, which calls for a Palestinian state, he risks losing his base. I have no doubt that Netanyahu is a skilled politician and he acts thusly. However, I knew his father and I can’t imagine that the old man’s fierce Zionism isn’t also embedded in his son.

I do not believe Netanyahu will agree to anything that threatens Israel long-term. I do believe he’d love to unilaterally annex Judea and Samaria. This would include the Jordan Valley.

Olmert is not wrong that such an action would anger countries like Jordan. The Hashemite Kingdom is led by a guy I don’t like. King Abdullah has a complex situation to deal with vis a vis the Palestinians, but some of his public comments aren’t helpful to Israel.

Those of us who love Bible prophecy know there will be a trigger in the future that will cause the nations to attack Israel and Jerusalem.

But where I disagree with Olmert is in the short-term benefits of annexing territory. Whenever Israel has an historic opportunity to do so, it should bring in more of its ancient land. Not doing it will not gain them any points with the international community that hates them. Better to tend to your own security and let the chips fall where they may.

Unfortunately, former premiers forget that they are no longer in charge. In this way, they weaken their own country.