My tour of Israel continues with the Young Jewish Conservatives. Today we had the opportunity to meet with Gil Hoffman — the Chief Political Correspondent of the Jerusalem Post. He told us that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Israel in a few days is because the “Palestinians are afraid of Mitt” and understand that he has a good chance of winning the election. The Palestinians are worried that a potential President Romney, who is scheduled to visit Israel soon, as well, will be much harder on them, and therefore believe that now is the time to draw as many concessions out of Israel as they can while the equivocating Obama is still in office. Apparently the Palestinians made a gesture to Clinton to get the ball rolling.
However, the Palestinians should not hold their breath. Mr. Hoffman explained to us that Israel only makes concessions (which usually takes the form of giving up land) under three different circumstances. First, is if there is a charismatic American president that Israel trusts and reveres (for example, Bill Clinton when Netanyahu gave up Hebron during his first stint as Prime Minister); next is if there is a trustworthy Arab leader (such as Egyptian Leader Sadat, when Israel gave up the Sinai); and lastly, a unilateral withdrawal that Israel thinks is in their best interest (such as the pull out from Gaza).
According to Mr. Hoffman, none of these circumstances apply now as Israel does not trust Obama or the Palestinian leadership, and are in no mood to give up land after the Gaza disengagement led to a Hamas take over and rockets pouring onto its southern border.
Stay tuned for more updates.