For the past eight years, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to retain power with a shrinking and ever-more extremist coalition of settlers, religious parties and his own Likud by fending off critics.  Hardline critics in his own fragile coalition have pressed for even more extreme territorial grabs in the West Bank and Jerusalem and have in some cases demanded mass expulsions of Palestinians from inside the Green Line.  And Netanyahu has been able to explain to them that, while his heart is with them, he cannot go to such extremes because of pressure from the Obama Administration in Washington.  Never mind that the Obama Administration never really put any serious pressure on Israel, and poured more money than any previous administration into Israeli security.  Bibi cultivated his personal animus towards Obama and Obama's personal animus towards him into a balancing act that kept him in power, even as a growing number of Israelis, including within the powerful security establishment, became more and more disillusioned with him.

Well now, at least as of January 20, 2017, even that feeble excuse is gone.  With the appointment of David Friedman as the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Netanyahu has an ally, not a critic, coming to town.  Donald Trump has contributed to Israeli settlement schools through his charities, and he vows that he will actually implement what every Presidential candidate promises and then drops once in office: to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

This apparent "blessing" could come at a very high price for Netanyahu.  No longer able to blame the United States for his "moderation" of his coalition radicals, Netanyahu now must defend his position upfront.  And the Attorney General of Israel is expected to soon decide whether to follow National Police investigators recommendations and indict Netanyahu on corruption and graft charges.  The last time he was ousted from power, it was on similar corruption charges.

With or without Netanyahu, Israeli is facing an existential decision: to accept a two-state solution and retain a Jewish majority state of Israel, or to go for annexation and repression of a growing Palestinian Arab majority (former President Jimmy Carter called it "apartheid").  Faced with the same dilemma, Netanyahu's rival Ariel Sharon had decided on the core tenet of Zionism: a Jewish majority.  He unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and even sent in Israeli Defense Force units to clear out the Gaza settlers who refused to accept relocation.  In a speech in Washington a few years back, a retired IDF General told the audience that Israel has similar plans for removing West Bank settlers from areas to be turned over to the Palestinians.  If Israel were to repeat the Sharon example and unilaterally pull out of significant portions of the West Bank–without negotiations or UN intervention–who would object?

The UN Security Council resolution passed this month should serve as a warning: it is becoming less and less feasible to maintain the status quo of creeping settlement expansion and territorial grabs for much longer.  Netanyahu should not count on a President Donald Trump covering his back at the UN.  It's just not on Trump's list of priorities.  If he could throw Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie under the bus, he could do the same with Bibi. 

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  1. BraveNewWorld says:

    “6.58 million each: Palestinians claim they’ll be as numerous as Jews in ‘historic Palestine’ in 2017”
    The point of posting that is that is to point out why there will never be a 1 state solution.
    “Survey claims 31% of Israelis support annexing settlement blocs”
    There is a long list of Israeli ministers spitting blood about annexing any thing from the 2 big settlement blocks to the entire West Bank. Bibi has them on a leash until Trump is sworn in. After that you can bet all the money you have that there will be a vote on annexing some thing in the Knesset and it will pass.
    The problem for the Palestinians is that ever since 1967 people have been selling the Palestinians lives for favours. Usually it is some thing like an arms shipment or a trade arrangement in exchange for a UNSC vote. If an annexation resolution passes I strongly believe Trump vetos any condemnation at the UNSC because ‘A’ it is just so easy to do. ‘B’ he can demand soooo much from both the House and the Senate in exchange for that veto. ‘C’ he gets to give the finger to the Obama administration. The American people have moved considerably in their opinion on this matter, but the politicians on both sides of the isle are still stuck in 1945.
    Now having said that if the Israelis do annex and Trump does veto does that mean the Israelis are out of the woods? Not even close. Fatou Bensouda the chief prosecutor at the ICC would be under immense pressure to stop dragging her feet and move on an investigation that the US can’t block for more than 2 years. The EU would definitely move from just labelling products to full on sanctions against Israel and Israel is dependant on the EU for both money and as the top trade partner for civilian goods. Merkel has been the D line in the EU for the Israelis but is already more than a little miffed with their recent moves. If the Israelis vote to annex J’lem, then Israel has real problems because they would have just told a 1/4 of the worlds population (including all their neighbours) we are taking away your holy sites and we are going to tear down the third holiest site in Islam and put up a Jewish temple in it’s place.
    If the Israelis make their move Americans are going to pay a huge price for the “No daylight” policy.

  2. Lemur says:

    “For the past eight years, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to retain power with a shrinking and ever-more extremist coalition of settlers, religious parties and his own Likud by fending off critics.”
    Are they shrinking? The Israeli left has collapsed and/or moved right over the years:
    “With the exception of a small blip in the 17th Knesset, when a centrist alliance led by the Left stole a number of Likudniks, the Israeli Left has been in freefall since the 1950s. The dominant Israeli Left parties were up to 7.5x larger than the Right party in the state’s infancy, yet haven’t surpassed the Right since the dawn of the new millennium.”
    Trump has to be be a hardline Zionist. No amount of money can buy your way around liberal AND Zionist Jewish lobby groups and media. The GOP grassroots is genuinely enthused with Israel. I went on a Breibart article yesterday about the whole UN resolution thing and suggested ‘America First’ was inconsistent with the ‘special relationship’. Got called a Nazi straight away (I reckon some of these pro-Israel accounts are JIDF shills). Political correctness does indeed stalk both sides of the aisle.
    Trump’s best move is to play liberal Jews and Zionists against one another. As I’ve said before, Trump has traded a pro-Israel agenda on the Palestinian issue for a covert anti-(((neocon))) agenda in the wider ME. There’s also the distinct possibility (to which the OP alluded) Trump will buck Zionist dictates once he assumes power.
    Long term, Russian and Chinese power is growing in the ME. Eventually, Israel will be forced to supplicate them for its ‘security’, and they will take a line which serves their own interests. No more blank political cheques.
    “If the Israelis make their move Americans are going to pay a huge price for the “No daylight” policy.”
    What exactly will this quarter of the world’s population do?
    Oil embargo? No, they need the moolah. Saudi finances are already creaking. If the GCC stops producing, African states and Russia will hog their market share too. Plus Trump wants energy self-sufficiency.
    Terrorist attacks? Our elites don’t give a damn about ordinary folks being blown up by terrorists. A significant uptick in attacks would lead to the election of hard right wing parties who would resolve this problem “human rights” be damned. Millions of Germans were thrown out of Eastern Europe after WWII to ensure peace by the allies…Japs in the USA were rounded up and put in camps during WWII…no reason it can’t happen again.
    Conventional military action? They buy their weapons from us, the firepower disparity is enormous…

  3. Jack says:

    IMO, Israel is well on its way to annex remaining Palestinian territory. Life in the Palestinian bantustans will get so oppressive that many will choose to emigrate.

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It matters not if some or all Palestinians emigrate; the war will continue as long as Israelis try to maintain any type of control over the Al Haram al Sharif. They need to surrender that, in my opinion, for peace to have any chance.

  5. different clue says:

    Just as Israeli authorities and their supporters have been manipulating the American political system, now Trump has reached-in-reverse back through the same window to manipulate the Israeli political system. He has overtly stated his total support for Netanyahu and for Likudist settlerism. He has heartened the Likudists by telling them that help is on the way. He has disheartened what residual Rabinists still survive by telling them that there will be no pressure on the Greater Israel Likudists and no hope or support or even rescue for the Lesser Israel Rabinists.
    I don’t know what Trump’s game is, or what his thinking is. Is he secretly anti-Israel and has decided to give Likud enough rope to hang itself and the Rabinists and Lesser Israel as well? Somehow I don’t think so
    but maybe the possibility should be considered.
    Is he boldly setting out the extreme opening position which begins the Let’s Make A Deal process? That is more likely. It shows the idiot limitations of his narrow idiot-savant skill set. If he thinks the Middle East is s field of deals, the rest of us will discover that it truly is not. He will be too dumm to realize it and will merely think he is being somehow insulted.
    Is he thinking like a Mafia Chieftain? Does he trust his family consigliere Mr. Kushner and that bankruptcy lawyer he knows so well ( Friedman) to be his Thinking Brain Dogs on Israel-Palestine affairs? It could be that simple.
    The result for Trump Term One will probably be enough despair among the residual Rabinists still just barely hanging on in Israel that a sizable migration will begin. If the Likudists, Liebermoids, and Beteinists reform the Israeli political and legal system the way they would really totally like to, then all the Rabinists will admit their defeat and leave Israel the way millions of Liberal Germans fled the Germanies after the Revolutions of 1848 failed. It will be a major Trumpian decomplishment of historic dimensions.
    And then what will happen? My best vague guess is that after Israel has turned into Likudistan, the Likudistanis will spend the next several to many years behaving so badly that some governments will downgrade and limit their economic and political contacts with Likudistan. The “strictly bussiness” Communo-Fascist regime in China will increase involvement with Israel as long as the Chinagov feels it gains more than it loses.
    In the longest run, the Palestinians will count on their higher birthrate to outpopulate the Jewisraelis everywhere in Historic Palestine. If they can finally degrade and attrit the will-to-persist of most of the Likudistanis, then a major Likudistani outflow will also begin to those countries which will let them in. It could be such a total outflow that almost the only Jews remaining will be the Satmar-allied anti-zionist Ultra-Hyperdox Mea Sharim types . . . whom the Palestinians will keep as pets. The Palestinian birthrate will stay just as high as ever, because “keep doing what worked”. The Palestinians will populate enough to replace all the “missing” Jewisraelis, and then keep right on populating. Eventually the Palestinians will so outpopulate the food-and-water resource base as to make the State of Palestine as poor as Yemen in a 100 or 150 years from now.
    And as man made Global Warming bites deeper and hotter and droughtier, the State of Palestine will endure food-famine and water-famine interludes of poverty even deeper than the poverty of Yemen today.
    That is the long-range Israel-Palestine future which Trump has just opened the Royal Road to.

  6. Macgupta123 says:

    Israel might survive, even thrive, for generations as an apartheid state, so it is not clear to me why people set that as the end of the endgame, when it is only the beginning. What will the world do if Israel turns into an apartheid state? My guess is, nothing. The world that cares about things like apartheid will have their hands full with bigger problems from Russia and China.

  7. BraveNewWorld says:

    There are two different scenarios with different levels of repercussions. The night mare is Israel annexes area ‘C’ (Jerusalem and surroundings) in which case the dominos start to fall fast. The holy sites of Jerusalem belong to Jordan not Israel or the Palestinians. Annexing Jerusalem means annexing the Temple Mount which houses both the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome on the Rock. The rock under the dome is where the Prophet Muhammad left Earth to visit heaven on a winged horse during his Night Journey in the 7th Century. ( I am no way denying Jewish attachment to “The Wall” with this)
    First, all the American embassies in the Middle East would have to close as they would be just to vulnerable to leave open. There absolutely would be riots in the streets of every Muslim country (50) and American interests would be the target of those riots/attacks. The peace treaty with Jordan would be over. Sisi might if encouraged enough be able to keep the treaty going by sicking the military on the protesters but it’s doubtful with out the backing of the religious establishment. But Abdullah would for sure be done. Turkey? Lets just say things don’t get better between NATO and Turkey.
    The Palestinains have been very close to tearing up the Oslo accords, Wye River and other agreements already as Israel has never honoured their commitments under them. If they annex area ‘C’ that is the end of the 2 state solution. The PA along with Abbas the best hope we have ever had for a deal would fall and Hamas would be in charge in both Gaza and the West Bank. That would also mean the end of the security arrangements with the PA which is why things are as quiet as they are now. The next intifada would start as would Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others starting to attack Israel. The settlers would absolutely be attacked.
    With out the PA to suppress the Palestinian people the IDF would have to fully reoccupy the West Bank while fighting a war with at least Hamas. This is where it starts to become fun for Americans. First the US would end up paying for the Israelis to reoccupy which is a very expensive undertaking second the US would start mobilizing and forward deploying troops to the ME because of the risk of things getting farther and farther out of control and if they don’t then for sure Hezbollah will get in the game. Terror attacks increase around the world targeting Israelis, Americans and Europeans. That’s round one.
    Round two is where the EU and others slaps sanctions on the Israelis. The other permanent members along with most of the world are thrilled that Israel gave them the finger and massively violated the UN charter just shortly after they were warned to back off by the UNSC. Fatwas are issued left right and center and the new Jihad is on.
    Congress then goes all knee jerk and blows it’s brains out by slapping sanctions on any one or any thing that doesn’t give full unqualified, undying support for Israel. The reaction from the EU and other countries drives a large wedge between the EU and the US. Popularity of Israel in the US and else where craters. Anti-semitism sky rockets. Trump then spends the rest of his term putting out fires that the Israelis started rather than making America great again.
    Fortunately the more likely scenario is the Israelis vote to annex one or both of the the existing settlements or the large settlement blocks. That still signals the end of the 2SS, the end of the PA and the re-occupation of Palestine by the IDF. But it wouldn’t spread nearly as far or as fast as area ‘C’ would. Jordan and Egypt might be able to get away with just suspending the peace treaties rather than cancelling them out right. The EU would still launch sanctions, Congress would still over react but the damage wouldn’t get as far out of control. But the blood will flow like you have never seen before in Israel and Palestine. VBIEDs become the new tool of choice for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. With Hamas in control of the West Bank they become VERY effective.

  8. BraveNewWorld says:

    The Palestinians can’t emigrate even if they wanted to. None of them have citizenship papers or passports. With out those they can’ apply for citizenship any where. Further most of them can’t leave Palestine to apply because the Israelis control the borders and won’t let them out and if they were to get out risk not being let back in while their application is processed. That is if they had the money to pay for the application which most of them don’t.

  9. pirate laddie says:

    Freud reigns supreme!!
    “Isle”? Given the Zionist proclivities, my guess it that the one in play would be “Samoa,” since that’s what the elder spawn of Abraham seem to be bleating for, lo these past few generations.

  10. Warpig says:

    Buddy. Is that website a joke?

  11. Bandit says:

    Many people give Trump far too much credit for planning ahead. Everything here is pure conjecture based on current or historical circumstances. I have zero expectation that Trump has any fixed idea what the hell he is doing, or the ramifications it will have for the rest of us. He reminds me of a bear in the woods who doesn’t know where he is going from one moment to the next.

  12. Poul says:

    Let’s not forget the water question.
    Chuck Spinney has a good post on that issue which more or less shuts down the chance of a survivable Palestinian state. No water, no life.

  13. LeaNder says:

    and put up a Jewish temple in it’s place.
    Well yes. Building the Third Temple. The necessary Kohen Gadol, the high priest, an expert in Temple service has already been appointed. A specialist in Temple service.
    A couple of years ago I watched some videos showing preparations part of the Third Temple priest training program, I suppose. It’s pretty hard to believe what surfaces when you dive into the larger historical context. But these people are real. Never mind how crazy they feel to us. And somewhat preparations seem pick up steam.

  14. LeaNder says:

    EU sanctions on Israel? I will believe it when I see it.
    full support from over the big ocean, James.
    It also feels that your last argument above this one makes a lot of sense. Never mind I first encountered a variation of it in the arguments of someone that felt like a more or less innocent parrot of standard Hasbarah talking points at the time.

  15. Laguerre says:

    You’re right of course about the water question, but in fact it doesn’t touch the question of two-state or one-state peace. The Israeli settlements are stealing the water, and will continue as long as they are there. In fact the two-state solution would be better in this issue, as the settlers would be more likely to depart, and in any case would be less free to do what they want, if they stayed.

  16. John Merryman says:

    Eventually deeper issues will come into play
    The basic fallacy of monotheism is the absolute, as universal state, is basis, not ideal. So a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience from which consciousness rises, not an ideal of knowledge and judgement from which we fell. The new born babe, not the wise old man. Monotheism is a political construct, to give validity to top down authority.
    Reality is not even monolithic. It is a dichotomy of energy pushing out and order consolidating in. From galaxies as cycles of energy radiating out and mass falling in, to societies, as organic energy pushing forward, while civil and cultural norms consolidate in. Resulting in an infinite panorama.
    Those who insist their cultural beliefs are absolute will fall into the abyss, as the noose of purity is drawn ever tighter.
    Good and bad are not some cosmic duel between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary code of attraction to the beneficial and repulsion of the detrimental. What is good for the fox, is bad for the chicken.
    After a few thousand years, we need a bottom up review.
    Happy New Year.

  17. robt willmann says:

    Although you cannot take at face value anything that Trump says, the matter of Palestine and Israel may develop into a more difficult situation when he becomes president. According to the New York Post newspaper, some of his advisers, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, want him to invite Netanyahu to the inauguration–
    His quick appointment of David Freidman to be the ambassador to Israel is also not a positive sign.
    Trump’s daughter Ivanka is influential person as to him. Here is the Esquire magazine article about Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner–
    Trump has appointed two ambassadors, to Israel and to China (Terry Branstad). The UN ambassador selection is Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina; it is good that she will be leaving the governorship. A useful resource to watch the status of Trump’s appointments has been put together by the Partnership for Public Service and the Washington Post–
    Trump’s behavior patterns remain. He had author Harry Hurt III removed from his golf course property the other day (30 December), and Hurt’s golfing companions, including one of the wealthy Koch brothers, left with him. Harry Hurt wrote one of the two detailed biographies of Trump published in 1992-93: his, called “Lost Tycoon, the Many Lives of Donald J. Trump”; and the one by Wayne Barrett, entitled “Trump, the Deals and the Downfall”–

  18. Sam Peralta says:

    The Palestinians are screwed. They are going to be the constant scapegoats in apartheid Israel as their lands get progressively taken. Only a matter of time before the Arabs are expelled from current Israel. The world will have so many other issues to worry about that this will go down as unresolvable which means Israel can do pretty much whatever they want.

  19. kooshy says:

    Sorry for OT, but it’s related to region’
    Mike FYI,
    IMO this is more important to Kurds then any political autonomy/Independence that is not agreed by any of Kurdistan’ neighbors, specially Iran’.
    “Iran oil minister to visit Baghdad to discuss KRG-Iran pipeline”

  20. Poul says:

    The question will arise if the Israeli unilaterally redraw but keep the key areas for water supply. Then a Palestinian state will end up as Gaza. No long term self-sufficiency and no possibility for agriculture as desalinated water is to expensive.
    What else do the Palestinians have to base an economy on if the Israeli take the water?

  21. charly says:

    EU will sanction Israel(or more specific the West Bank) not because of Israel but to create a fight (and distance) with the US. In my opinion this is actual likely to happen.

  22. pirate laddie says:

    Pretty much by definition, a nation determines who it allows in. Given recent events in the ME, I cannot dismiss a Russian initiative to liberate at least a portion of the Palestinian people. It’s been a century since the Sovs set up an oblast in far eastern Siberia as a Jewish homeland, what’s to stop a similar action on behalf of true Semites — the Palestinians?
    Under such a scenario, the only limit to Palestinian emigration would be Israeli recalcitrance. If the GOI sought to keep enslaved Palestinians who want to leave, I’m sure the Russians could find a way (on an escalating scale) to facilitate their departure. One could only marvel at the likely purgative effect this undertaking would have on the Zionists and related elements of the Borg.

  23. LeaNder says:

    doubtful. Sanction Israel? Seriously? Against America? …
    Europe will be more busy with its own problems … Will it survive at all?
    I admittedly have my own fears too. In my case related to the US. To go back to a 2012 contribution by Harper, ok vaguely related to this:
    There would be one issue, I would personally welcome, if Europe showed backbone concerning the treaty with Iran. …

  24. LeaNder says:

    Except that BNW’s argument about Palestinians having no passports is not quite correct. The issue is more complex even if we leave out Palestinian-Israelis or Israeli Arabs.
    Concerning the “Semite” used in the coinage Antisemites as political fighting slogan and a related party that failed, it was not alluding to the Semites at large at his time, but a specific group considered the inner Semites post German unification.
    The author who coined it in 1879, eight years after Germany was united with the help of the Prussian sword, later in his life somewhat regretted. He had earlier been involved in the March Revolution, the German variant of revolt in 1848:

  25. Laura says:

    Bandit, I think you are correct. “there is no `there’ there”…Trump has no plan which is why he is so dangerous. It all hinges on who he spoke to last or who flattered him the most. Policy by mirror.

  26. Phil Cattar says:

    Certainly what you right has a plausible “feel” to it.There is a lot of pent up rage in the Fertile Crescent already and some not so pent up.

  27. turcopolier says:

    I have asked you before not to engage in invective that is merely name calling. pl

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