This is an editorial from the Wall Street Journal on March 23, 2010
Without adequate skills in international relations Obama could lead the world into a situation that puts nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists. Israel will not allow this to happen. They will not sit by and leave their security in the hands of Obama. Benjamin Netanyahu will protect the citizens of his Israel like a national leader should do.
The Netanyahu Diaries
What Israel’s prime minister really thinks.
By BRET STEPHENS
The following note was discovered aboard the plane that brought Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington yesterday. It appears to be the Israeli prime minister’s personal talking points—with deletions in brackets—for his meeting today with President Obama. Handwriting experts are unable to confirm the note’s authenticity.
Good to see you again, Mr. President. [And thanks for not having me skulk out the side door like the last time I was here].
And congratulations on your big health care victory! Well done, Mr. President, on your historic achievement. As you probably know, we Israelis have a similar system, and it has worked out pretty well for decades [though our doctors don’t labor under ruinous medmal premiums and the constant threat of tort bar annihilation and also we’re a tiny country with a huge tax burden that drives one in nine people, including many doctors, to live abroad.]
Point is, we’re a nice little liberal democracy, with women’s rights and gay rights, and Arab Israelis and black Israelis in parliament, and welfare and universal health care. Even when we go to war we don’t just carpet bomb our enemies, [like your hero Franklin Roosevelt did to the innocent civilians of Dresden and Tokyo]. I don’t get why we rate most-hated-nation status from all those so-called progressives [wearing your face on their tee-shirts].
[Question to self: Why are the same people who erupt at the thought of prayer in school so often more in sympathy with Hamas in Gaza than with us?]
But on to more pressing matters. We’ve had a bad few weeks, your administration and mine. I’m glad we can talk them over face-to-face. As Hillary told me the other day [isn’t she a charmer?], it takes a true friend to tell the hard truth. I’m sure you’ll agree that in our friendship that works both ways.
I know that, from your part, you think the hard truth is that we’ve got to get out of the settlements. You don’t have to sell me on that score. I’ve said repeatedly that we don’t want to rule over the Palestinians; I’m all for a two-state solution in theory. It’s the practice of it that’s got me concerned. In fact, it’s what got me elected.
So here’s the first hard truth: Just as you’ve got your Ben Nelsons and Bart Stupaks, I’ve got my Avigdor Lieberman ultra-nationalists and Eli Yishai ultra-Orthodox. Some of them have ideological red lines; some of them just want stuff. That’s how politics works. So what’s my Cornhusker kickback, or my executive order on abortion funding? I’d welcome your ideas; [you’re obviously good at this].
This brings me to the second hard truth, Mr. President: Most Israelis don’t trust you, the way they trusted George W. Bush or [even] Bill Clinton. And let me tell you why that’s a problem.
When my predecessor Arik Sharon pulled out of Gaza, he didn’t do so through negotiations with the Palestinians. Those negotiations fail time and again, in part because the Palestinians figure they can hold out for more, in part because they’re cutting their own deals with Hamas.
So what Sharon did was negotiate with you, the United States. And what he got was a promise, in writing, that the U.S. would not insist on a full withdrawal to the 1967 lines in any final settlement agreement.
My problem is that Hillary disavowed that promise last year, and you did so again by treating a neighborhood in Jerusalem as a “settlement.” So when you pledge your commitment to Israel’s everlasting security, how can we take your word for it, or know that your successor won’t also renege? We don’t want to wind up like Belgium before World War I, relying on phony guarantees of neutrality.
Mr. President, you need to start building some serious trust with Israelis if you mean to give me the political tools to negotiate with the Palestinians. Honestly, you didn’t help yourself by ratcheting up the rhetoric against us the way you did. If your purpose was to show the Palestinians that you’re going to play hardball with us, all you did was give them a reason to be even more uncompromising than before. And if your purpose was to try to drive me from office, it didn’t work either: To Israelis, you came across not as anti-Bibi, but as anti-Israel.
But the hardest truth is that Israelis are losing faith that you’ll do whatever it takes to stop Iran’s nuclear bid. The sanctions you promise keep getting delayed and watered down. Hillary gave a fine speech at AIPAC yesterday, but we all know that you’re already planning on containing a nuclear Iran. That’s not acceptable to me.
Let’s make a deal, Mr. President: Our settlements for your bombers. We can’t fully destroy Iran’s nuclear sites—but you can. You can’t dismantle our settlements—but we can. We’ll all come out the better for it, including the Palestinians. Think about it, Barack.
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