Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Revisiting the Extraordinary Obstacles that Stopped Politicians Forcing a Retreat from Judea-Samaria

I believe, as we all do in your and my circles, that things happen for reasons that HaKadosh Barukh Hu understands better than we. As we say in the Haftorah for the fast day, His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Every single time, since June 1967, that an Israeli Prime Minister has tried to give up any part of Yesha, or that an American president has pushed the Israelis to cede part of Yesha, something unnatural has happened. Highlights: Shamir, after Madrid, rapidly lost control of Government. After Rabin was assassinated, Peres had some 80-90% popularity, so called early elections with a goal to have a strong Knesset to support massive Yesha concessions. Yet, a few months later, he had lost all support in the face of an absolutely unprecedented wave of bus bombings, and Netanyahu was elected. Netanyahu went to Wye Plantation, conceded on Hebron, and almost immediately ran into a complete turn-around from heavy popularity to a nose-dive. Ehud Barak came to Washington, offering to give up so much, and he returned to Intifada II and a landslide loss to Sharon. Sharon initially pursued targeted assassinations of terrorists and was fantastically successful and popular. Then he turned to giving up land, and he was given a potch. He proceeded to give up Gaza and announced that his next focus was kadimah – to give up land in the east. He has been in a coma ever since. Olmert had initial popularity and success, then turned to giving up Yesha, and he was hit with the war in Lebanon, which destroyed the rationale for giving up land. He persisted, so was brought down remarkably.

Meanwhile, Ford turned on Israel with the Kissinger reassessment. Soon after, Ford’s popularity declined, unrelated to the Middle East, culminating with his slipping, falling, and then saying that eastern Europe was not under Soviet hegemony. Carter came in, was immensely popular. He turned anti-Israel, brutally pressed Begin. And soon the Iranians were holding hostages while inflation hit 20%, and he was out. Reagan was mostly pro-Israel and made it through eight years with his name mostly intact. But he did press Begin on Lebanon during the 1982 War, leading to the events that caused the worst security debacle in Reagan’s Presidency – the 241 Marines blown up in South Lebanon. Bush I pressed Israel, with James Baker. There were horrible words spoken. And a strange thing happened: in the midst of an election campaign, he was in Japan at a banquet, and he was televised suddenly vomiting on the Japanese Premier. He went from 80+ popularity overnight to a nothing. The Clinton White House pressed Israel and ended up with its own crises. Bush II was the best friend Israel ever had, for most of his first 4-5 years, and he was blessed at home with great popularity. He then began pressing Sharon to give up Gaza, recognizing a “Palestinian State” and pushing a “Road Map,” and suddenly he nose-dived with huge losses two years ago. He did not learn from his potch, started talking about pursuing the Road map with Olmert, and further was reduced.

I am not sure that all this is coincidence. The past 40 years do not show that Hashem disturbed the momentum of giving up the Sinai, as He seems absolutely to have changed the course of nature to prevent every effort to give up parts of Yehuda and Shomron. But, even there, Begin went from glory and a Nobel Prize to an incalculable mental breakdown that left him spending his last years as a mentally distraught recluse in his apartment.

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