Israel's Next Step

There is a growing consensus that Benjamin Netanyahu will be returned to the Prime Minister’s office as a result of the next Israeli general election (scheduled for February). This signals a change in Israeli public opinion. For the past several years, land for peace was viewed as the most likely way to secure Israel’s future. That tactic no longer seems to be a viable option for the long term security of Israel.

As Netanyahu points out, “we do not have a viable partner with whom to negotiate peace.” The Palestinian Authority does not represent the Palestinian people and Hamas (which won the last Palestinian election) does not want to engage in negotiations for peace. This is evident by the facts that Hamas’ stated goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and, in the territory currently controlled by Hamas, it does nothing to stop daily rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

The question for us becomes “how will the Obama administration react to the new Israeli government?” Will the new President be supportive of a Netanyahu government or will he use his influence to try to force more land for peace concessions? Based upon those advising Mr. Obama during his campaign and during the transition (UN Ambassador designate Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, et al…), my bet is that he will try to force the path of land for peace. If my assumption about the incoming administration is correct and Mr. Netanyahu bows to this pressure, the only logical conclusion of this approach will be increased attacks on Israeli civilians. There will be no lasting (or even short term) peace. The only things that we will see will be more dead Israelis and the usual circus of the “international community” at the UN urging Israeli restraint, followed by their condemnation when Israel decides to defend herself.

Of course, there is the very likely chance that Mr. Netanyahu will not be influenced by this pressure from the Obama administration. In that case, the new Israeli government will act aggressively to defeat the Palestinian terrorists that are an impediment to a lasting peace in the Middle East. After all, I do not think that we would we accept daily rocket attacks by terrorists into Minnesota from Canada. Concurrently, a Netanyahu government would work to strengthen Palestinian civil institutions in order to create a viable partner for peace.

Additionally, a Netanyahu government will take a harder line against Iran. In particular, it will act to end the Iranian nuclear program and to reduce Iranian influence in Lebanon, Judea and Samaria. I have little doubt that under Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel will use military force to end, or significantly delay, the Iranian nuclear program. I would also not be surprised if there would be an Israeli military incursion into Lebanon to remove the Hezbollah terrorists once and for all. A Netanyahu government would act aggressively and in such a way as to complete both of these tasks, unlike what we saw under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A division between two democratic allies such as the United States and Israel does not benefit the civilized world in general and it is not good for the War on Terror in particular. As we all know, nations act in their own self interests. There are no permanent allies, only interests that align. However, the United States owes its support to a democratic ally under siege. Let’s hope that the Obama administration takes the moral high road and supports Israel in its fight to stop the terrorists that surround her.

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