As has been the case so often since President Donald J. Trump took office, some of his more radical policy moves, which are criticized every single day by the mainstream media, are almost unimaginably favorable to the Israeli right, especially to the settlement enterprise.
It’s difficult to understand, for instance, why the president, on the eve of his promised direct negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, appointed John R. Bolton as his new National Security Advisor. in 2003, Bolton described Kim Jong-il as a “tyrannical dictator” and suggested life under Kim’s rule “is a hellish nightmare.” In response, the North Koreans said “such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks.”
But maybe that’s Trump’s instinct, to surround himself with blunt, undiplomatic advisers in order to not just “drain the swamp” in every aspect of Washington’s politics, but to nuke it out of existence. And so, to negotiate with North Korea bring an NSA they loathe, and to negotiate peace in the Middle East bring a pro-settlers Ambassador and now an NSA who believes in dismantling the Palestinian Authority.
Clearly, the US never had a more radical commander-in-chief, and, equally clearly, the Netanyahu government must grab every opportunity the latest Trump appointment has yielded for Israel’s right, before the swamp pushes back.
President Trump is replacing NSA H. R. McMaster, who has been affiliated with General John Allen’s peace plan that included replacing the IDF along the Jordan Valley with US and/or international troops, and building a new airport in the new Palestinian State, and who labored tirelessly to reverse Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – with John Bolton, who sees both the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority as failed states and the best argument for why there should not be a Palestinian State.
Here are a few highlights from a 2009 Washington Post op-ed by Bolton, titled “The Three-State Option.” We urge you to read the whole piece in order to realize that if the Netanyahu government does not use the next few months to establish facts on the ground in Judea and Samaria, most urgently in the E1 stretch between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem – it would be its biggest and most shameful failure.
Bolton writes: “War in the Gaza Strip demonstrates yet again that the current governance paradigm for the Palestinian people has failed. Terrorists financed and supplied by Iran control Gaza; the Palestinian Authority is broken, probably irretrievably; and economic development is stalled in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinians are suffering the consequences of regional power struggles played out through them as surrogates.”
He proposes handing civilian control over Gaza back to the Egyptians and what is today the PA to the Jordanians, admitting that “this idea would be decidedly unpopular in Egypt and Jordan, which have long sought to wash their hands of the Palestinian problem.” Which is why “they should receive financial and political support from the Arab League and the West, as they both have for years from the United States.”
Writing almost ten years ago, Bolton already understood that “for Palestinians, admitting the obvious failure of the PA, and the consequences of their selection of Hamas, means accepting reality, however unpleasant. But it is precisely Palestinians who would most benefit from stability. The PA – weakened, corrupt and discredited – is not a state by any realistic assessment, nor will it become one accepted by Israel as long as Hamas or terrorism generally remains a major political force among Palestinians.”
It’s as if the 2009 Bolton is channeling the 2018 MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), whose plan for the future of the disputed territories do not include Egyptian and Jordanian control, but they do stress the need to rid the Arabs between the river and sea of their failed political systems.
The Bolton appointment presents the Israeli right with a window of opportunity for swift changes in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – a window which may be as narrow as a mere few months before shifts in Washington bring the swamp back to rule the White House. If nothing else, this is the time to build, build, build in Judea and Samaria.