On Tuesday, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who is campaigning for a third time to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from the Israeli premiership, announced that if elected he will seek to annex the Jordan Valley. He added the important caveat that he wants to do so “in coordination with the international community”—a promise that, as many have pointed out, is nearly impossible to fulfill. While it is easy to speculate about the political calculations behind this pledge, Jonathan Tobin suggests that it is also intended as a message to American liberals:
Listen to any of the Democratic candidates for president talk about the Middle East, and all you hear are promises to pressure Israel to do exactly what both Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert tried to do: trade land for peace. . . . The only significant difference among them is whether that pressure would come in the form of gentle urging or of a brutal push in which U.S. aid to the Jewish state would be withheld as part of a diplomatic quid pro quo.
The same sort of sentiments can be heard from many of those who purport to represent the interests of the American Jewish community. . . . Gantz’s continued efforts to tilt to the right reveal how out of touch Americans are when it comes to the conflict with the Palestinians. It also shows how out of touch Jewish Americans are with the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Israelis. Their critiques of Benjamin Netanyahu and his government not only ring hollow; it’s just as likely that the only alternative to the Likud will also disappoint them, since Gantz’s views on security issues are fairly close to those of the [current] prime minister.
If they were not so blind to the reality of Palestinian intransigence, Donald Trump’s would-be opponents might be listening to Gantz and his talk about the Jordan Valley. If they did, they’d realize that their plans to pressure Israel are based on magical thinking about peace that sensible Israelis from left to right abandoned years ago. Sensible Americans should do the same.
Read more on JNS: https://www.jns.org/opinion/gantz-sends-a-message-to-american-liberals-but-are-they-listening/