Bannon and the Anti-Israel Establishment – Part 2

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(Continued from last week)

This is the guaranteed outcome of any plan that is supported by the State Department because any plan that the State Department and its allies support will be based upon the core assumption regarding the Arab-Israel conflict that the State Department embraced in 1993.

In 1993, Israel and the PLO concluded a peace deal in Oslo based on the European assumption that Israel is to blame for the Arab-Israel conflict.

According to the European narrative, the Arab conflict with Israel – and indeed, all the pathologies of the Arab world – are rooted in the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

The Palestinian conflict, in turn, owes to the absence of a Palestinian state. And there is no Palestinian state because Israel refuses to surrender sufficient land to the PLO to appease it.

Until 1993, this was not the US’s position.

From 1967 through 1993, the US position was that the Palestinian conflict with Israel was a function of the Arab conflict with Israel. The Arab conflict was rooted in the Arab world’s rejection of Israel’s right to exist in secure and recognized borders – or really, in any borders. So long as this remained the position of the Arab world, there would be no peace between Israel and its neighbors.

Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan are based on this pre-Oslo process assumption.

But when it assumed leadership of the Oslo process, the US also embraced the European narrative it was predicated on: Everything is Israel’s fault.

The US’s continued funding of the PA , despite its support for terrorism, owes to the State Department’s adherence to the European narrative. The US’s refusal to treat Israel with the respect due an ally by, among other things, locating its embassy in its capital, owes to the State Department’s power to dictate US policy.

We saw that power brought to bear in 2003 with the drafting of the Roadmap.

In 2002, Bush said he would not support Palestinian statehood unless new Palestinian leaders who didn’t support terrorism took over the PA from Yasser Arafat.

Rather than take Bush’s position seriously, the State Department emptied it of all meaning.

US officials crowned Arafat’s deputy of 40 years, Mahmoud Abbas, as a reformer and peacemaker, despite the utter absence of any evidence pointing to this conclusion.

Having done so, the State Department declared that reform had been achieved. In support of that reform, they expanded US support for the PA and intensified US pressure on Israel.

Bush’s State Department was able to subvert Bush’s position because neither then secretary of state Colin Powell nor then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice supported it. Both were more than happy to pretend that the US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians had shifted toward Israel, when the opposite was the case.

We see a similar situation unfolding today with Trump.

While Trump has not called for new leadership, he has called for an end to Palestinian financing of terrorism. This demand will clearly not be met now that the PLO has reached a power-sharing agreement with the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza. Every cent transferred to Gaza is a cent that supports terrorism.

And yet, according to the Times account, and judging by Netanyahu’s behavior, the Trump administration is preparing a “peace plan” that will bring no peace but will harm Israel and empower the PLO .

The thing of it is that it is hard to imagine that Trump is engaged sufficiently in discussions of the issue to be aware of what is likely taking place. Bush certainly was not aware that his positions were being undermined by his advisers.

This brings us to Greenblatt and Kushner.

Whereas Rice and Powell were consummate Washington insiders whose careers were made in the bosom of the foreign-policy establishment, Greenblatt, Kushner and Friedman are all consummate outsiders. They owe the establishment nothing. Dina Powell is the only member of Trump’s team who is an establishment figure.

Trump brought in his team of outsiders to run his Middle East policy because he understood – and repeatedly remarked on the fact – that Washington’s foreign policy establishment has failed for decades to develop successful Middle East policies.

If we are to believe the Times story and heed the signals Netanyahu has sent, Kushner and Greenblatt have surrendered to the establishment and are poised to conclude a peace plan that will be substantively identical to those of the past three administrations.

And, as a consequence, it will fail just as badly as the policies of the past three administrations.

Bannon is right that pro-Israel forces should fight to diminish the power of the Washington foreign- policy establishment – first and foremost the State Department – to empty the term pro-Israel of substance. The question is whether that fight needs to be directed at the White House or whether Trump’s team of outsiders is willing and able to stand up to that establishment and adopt a policy not based on hostility toward Israel and support for Palestinian terrorists and, therefore, not guaranteed to fail.

By: Caroline Glick