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Saturday, October 08, 2016

'Senior Israeli official' told Clinton campaign they fear Clinton Presidency would be '4-year Saban forum'

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

Wikileaks dumped another 2,000+ Hillary Clinton emails on Friday night, one of which contains what might be the Netanyahu government's view of a possible Clinton administration. The email is based on a discussion with a 'senior Israeli official,' who may be Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer. The email was written by Stuart Eizenstadt on December 7, 2015 to Dan Schwerin.

This is from the first link.
Dear Dan, Jake and Laura, 
I had a breakfast meeting with a senior Israeli official who is very close to the Prime Minister, and knows his thinking. He had the following insights: 
1. The Prime Minister always had a “surprising good relationship” with Hillary; she is “easy to work with”, and that she is more instinctively sympathetic to Israel than the White House. Even during their “famous 43 minute phone call, when he felt like slamming down the phone, he felt she was simply heavily scripted and reading from points prepared by the White House.
2. While the Prime Minister favors a two state solution, neither a majority of the Likud Party nor Bennett’s party does. Indeed, a two state solution has never been in the government guidelines in any Likud-led government.
3. The Prime Minister hoped during his most recent meeting with the President that the new MOU would be announced, but the White House only wanted to announce the intention to negotiate it. He hopes it will be concluded in the next few months. When I asked if Bunker Busting Bombs or the new deep ordinance bomb was on the Israeli request list, he only indicated that “there is no dispute on platforms” between the Administration and Israel. He said the biggest issue is the amount of money, in a lean budget situation. The Israeli Embassy is not going around the Administration to lobby for a higher figure, although they could probably get it. But if the figure is too low, they will wait until the next President.
4. Missile defense funds are also critical, but they come out of the Pentagon budget, while many of the items on the MOU list are in the FMF/Foreign Ops budget.
5. He attended part of the Saban Forum and felt that most of the emphasis was on the Palestinian issue, and wonders if a Clinton Administration “will be a Saban Forum for four years”, due to “the people around her, but not her”. Her own speech was “95% good, although there was some moral equivalence language.”
6. We discussed possible economic initiatives to help the Palestinians, like more Palestinian investment in Zone C, and/or an agreement to limit settlement expansion to the established blocs that under the Clinton parameters would be in Israel after any negotiation. He said the Prime Minister is genuinely interested in doing positive things on the ground. He said that they know it would have to be unilateral, and that they can expect nothing from the Palestinian Authority. But, he said there are the following complications:
(1) It is difficult to do while the knifings are occurring, and while Abu Mazan is fomenting violence; (2) So that it does not appear they are bending to violence they need the “support” of the USG. This could include:
(a) Opposition to a new UN Resolution, which Secretary Kerry continues to seek;
(b) Support for settlement activity in the established blocs. But the Obama Administration will not agree to any settlement activity, even in areas like Gilo.
(c ) It is little appreciated that despite great pressure to stop any Palestinians from the West Bank from coming into Israel to work, the Prime Minister had kept the flow of tens of thousands coming in every day, recognizing how important this is to the economy of the West Bank and to stability.
(d) The Prime Minister has also kept the VAT refund money flowing to the PA, despite the provocative statements. But he reiterated there is a deal to be made with the next Administration, looking for positive steps at the outset; “it would be easy to do”. 
7. American Jews are focused on issues like BDS and Israeli legitimacy, while Israelis are focused only on security, with the stabbings.
8. There are some in the Israeli coalition that want to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and take over full control. But the Prime Minister and the Defense Minster, and “certainly the military and intelligence community”, want to keep the PA. There is still intelligence sharing on radicals, but when Israel asks them to arrest the radicals they identify, they refuse, and ask the Israelis to do it, and then protest the arrests. But this is all part of a scenario of cooperation. However, if the PA takes Israel to the International Criminal Court, this would be a “huge problem” and a potential game changer in terms of their relationship with the PA.
9. Abu Mazan continues to talk about retiring, as he has done for years, but seems more serious now. There is no obvious successor if he leaves, “other than the guy in jail” [Barghouti. CiJ].
10. Only about 2% to 4% of Israeli civilians have guns, and certainly not the kind of assault rifles used in the US.
11. Israel Arabs are a “real problem.” The government had to dismantle the northern branch of the Islamic Association because they were radicalizing the Israeli Arabs, who are 20% of the population.
Best wishes, Stu Eizenstat
I am not able to access the Haaretz columns by Barak Ravid analyzing this story (usually you can access his columns through his Twitter feed even if - like me - you refuse to pay for access to Haaretz), however the Hebrew version has a more detailed summary than the English one.  That summary claims that Israel 'fears' that a Clinton administration will adopt the spirit of the Saban Forum and blame Israel for the frozen 'peace process.'

I don't quite see that in item 5 above (and yes, I'm #NeverHillary and therefore voting for Trump), although I have little doubt that Clinton will push the 'Palestinian' issue.

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At 4:23 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

A Hillary regime will break most of the official ties between the US and Israel. The era of 'this unbreakable relationship' has been over for a while. The only people who care are American Jews who hate Israel and only want that relationship to continue in order to destroy Israel. That is about half of the entire American Jewish population. I can see both the US and Israel walking away from the aid package or bribe or whatever Obama thinks it is. With a few exceptions around the cutting edge of some very expensive technologies, there's almost nothing keeping the two parties together. The pace of technological advance will render that a moot point sooner rather than later. And then.....Israel gets to walk off the rez.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger NancyB said...

This is a most interesting email and I thank-you for posting it. I strongly believe that a Hillary presidency would be as negative to Israel as Obama's. I long for the day that Israel retakes its sovereignty. Do you believe that Bibi truly supports the 2-State nightmare? That he does in his heart and bones believe this? I don't. But I don't live in Israel, so I really do want to know what a 'dialed-in' very informed Israeli believes about this.


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