To demonstrate that a new chapter is about to be written in US-Israeli relations – a chapter different from the one written by the Barack Obama administration. President Trump might not feel obliged to deliver on all of his promises towards Israel (see his recent remarks on moving the US embassy to Jerusalem), but he does want to signal to Israel and to the world that the days of friction are over. At least for now.
Time and understanding. No surprises, no taking for granted Trump’s support for every move, no taking advantage of the early days of an administration that doesn’t yet know what it is doing. He also wants to know what’s really important for Israel (and why) and what issues can be negotiated.
The list is long, but it begins with something that both leaders want: a signal that the US and Israel are once again on the same page, and a signal that the US intends to go back to a no-daylight policy towards Israel. That is, to coordinate as many moves as possible and prevent a situation in which differences are aired in public. On principle, Trump is going to agree to this. But his character might be an obstacle to implementing it.
Geostrategic matters, starting with Iran. Israel would like to ensure that Iran does not get an opportunity to strengthen its hand further because of America’s lack of interest, commitment, or understanding of the situation. A delicate matter that needs to be discussed between the two leaders is Russia’s involvement in Syria and what it means for the US and Israel’s wish to see Iran contained. Netanyahu would like to present to Trump the opportunity that exists in bolstering the cooperation between Israel and the Sunni Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan) and the importance of this unofficial makeshift coalition for the containment, or even rolling back, of Iran.
Netanyahu is under no illusion that the agreement will be promptly abandoned by the US. So his hope is to see two possible developments: 1. A more robust policy by the US concerning issues that were not covered by the agreement (Iran’s support for terrorism, Iran’s missile program), 2. An intention to see the agreement extended beyond the 15 year period it currently covers, after which Iran is pretty much free to become a military nuclear power.
The peace process – or the relations with the Palestinians – is not high on Netanyahu’s agenda. But it will surely be discussed. Netanyahu is going to argue that a better approach to this issue is looking at it from a regional perspective – namely, as one of the things that a more robust alliance involving Israel and the Arab states, and supported by the US, can deal with. The Palestinians need Arab support, without which they are not likely to make any significant move towards peace. Israel needs to see a benefit in negotiation beyond being nice to the Palestinians. If the Palestinian issue is one item of a broader Middle East peace agenda, that might work.
On settlements, and President and the Prime Minister can easily agree. If one carefully reads Trump’s language on this issue, one realizes that this President is ready to go back to an arrangement similar to the one agreed on in the Bush-Sharon letter. That is: Israel can build and develop the main settlement blocs, but can’t build new settlements. Such an understanding would benefit Netanyahu in two ways: 1. It will give him something tangible with which to demonstrate to Israelis that he achieved something. 2. It will give him a way of demonstrating that his more adult-like approach to dealing with the settlement issue bears more fruit than the confrontational approach advised by his critics on the right, especially by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennet. For the president, this could be an easy way to demonstrate that 1. Trump is no Obama (whose administration did not accept that Bush-Sharon understanding as valid) and 2. That he takes a middle-of-the-road, pro-peace, and pro-Israel stance on this issue.
Sure. You might remember that the first Obama-Netanyahu meeting was quite contentious. So for Trump to have a positive first meeting with the Prime Minister is the easiest path to showing that things have indeed changed in US-Israel relations. For Netanyahu, it is essential to have a positive first meeting, as one thing is clear: getting on Trump’s wrong side is not a recommended policy.
This is Donald Trump. Surprises are no longer surprising.
Published in the LA Jewish Journal
The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
For the second time in recent history, a Dutch Christian organization dedicated to supporting Israel has gone head-to-head with the government. With their family tradition of belief in Israel that preceded the state of Israel by almost one hundred years, it seems unlikely that the van Oordts are about to back down, no matter what the odds.
Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.