Middle East Peace?

By Joel Rosenberg

Netanyahu is playing the “peace process game” to build U.S. and Western support for a coming strike on Iran. Rather than being semi-delusional, Netanyahu could be crazy like a fox. He could very well be telling his cabinet the following: Look, guys, we all know Abbas is too weak to make a peace deal. But the U.S. and the Western powers are pressing hard for a peace deal. So why should we be the ones that look intransigent? Let’s be pro-active. Let’s tell the world that we want a peace deal, that we want direct talks, that we want a Palestinian state, so long as it’s demilitarized and the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish State.” We all know Abbas can’t deliver. But by being forward-leaning on this, we can try to convince President Obama and the U.N./E.U. crowd that we’re doing our best. Meanwhile, we’ll be finalizing our war plans to attack Iran. If by December or January the sanctions on Iran aren’t working, and we’ve strengthened our strategic relationship with the U.S. vis-a-vis being cooperative in the peace process, hopefully the White House will give us the green light (or at least won’t oppose, or oppose harshly) our decision to launch a preemptive strike against Iran in the spring or summer of next year (or whenever we’re ready). I believe such a case would be persuasive to Netanyahu’s cabinet.

That said, if Netanyahu is simply “playing the game,” he is taking a huge risks.  The peace talks could consume an enormous amount of his and his government’s time and energy, drawing away critical time that should be focused on Iran war planning.  President Obama could become deeply invested in the peace talks, and put increasing pressure on Netanyahu to make unwise and dangerous concessions, against Netanyahu’s will. How would Netanyahu exit from such a process without alienating the U.S. government?  Worst yet, Abbas could call Netanyahu’s bluff and give Netanyahu everything he’s asking for in return for an historic peace treaty, only to renege on key elements of the deal after a Palestinian state has been created (i.e., build alliances with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah; import rockets and other arms, despite written guarantees of being demilitarized; buying aircraft that could endanger Israeli cities; etc.)

Netanyahu is a smart guy and a shrewd player, but we must keep in mind that in his first term in office (1996-1999), he vowed never to make a deal with Arafat, yet ended up shaking the terrorist’s hand and giving him the Biblically important city of Hebron, when no one believed he would ever capitulate like that.  Netanyahu genuinely sees something almost no one else sees. Maybe a season of true peace, security and prosperity is coming, if only briefly. Ezekiel 38-39 certainly indicates such a time is coming prior to the War of Gog and Magog. I wouldn’t rule it out. But I don’t see it being sincere or lasting long, if it should happen at all.

"Peace, peace but . . ."

Epicenter - Favored book by IOM E-Community, click here