Friday, May 11, 2018

Israel: The people vs. the "experts" - by Jonathan Tobin

Unlike Americans, who may consider that reading The New York Times makes them experts about the Middle East, average Israelis live the conflict and follow what happens in their country. Most have served in the military. More to the point, Israelis have paid the price for the folly of experts before—those who advised trading land for peace with the Palestinians, but then wound up having to explain why they got more terror in return.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
10 May '18..

The polls of Israeli public opinion aren’t ambiguous. About two-thirds of Israelis say they’re pleased with U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Nor is there much criticism from Israel’s political leadership, either in the government or in the center-left opposition. As was the case with Israel’s view of the pact in the first place, a consensus that stretches from the moderate left all the way to the right believes that former President Barack Obama’s effort to appease Iran was a terrible idea.

But not everyone outside of the far left or anti-Zionist Arab parties agrees. Many of Israel’s retired generals and former intelligence chiefs oppose Trump’s decision. Echoing the views of the Western foreign-policy establishment, they were satisfied with what the pact had achieved and now remain skeptical about Trump’s ability to follow up on his move. As JNS reported, the latest to weigh in on this matter is Amos Gilead, a retired major general and former high-ranking figure in the Ministry of Defense. Gilead opposes Trump’s decision and wonders why so many Israelis are pleased with it—and he can’t come up with an answer.

The gap between the views of many of the retired military elites and the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people is not isolated to discussions of Iran. The same is true about the conflict with the Palestinians. Most Israelis may think that a two-state solution is a good idea in theory, but the overwhelming majority believes it’s not possible for the foreseeable future because of the lack of a credible Palestinian peace partner. Nevertheless, most of the retired generals and spymasters who have made their views known feel that Israel must find a way to withdraw from the West Bank, regardless of the consequences.

(Continue to Full Column)

See also: Truth Be Told, Leaders Are Not Obliged to Obey Their Advisors - by Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

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