Benjamin Netanyahu might very well not have become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister if not for the support of Rabbi Joseph Gutnick. But after wholeheartedly embracing President Trump’s “deal of the century,” Bibi’s no longer feeling the love.
Back in 1996, during his first run for prime minister, Netanyahu was trailing incumbent Shimon Peres with just days to go before the election. It was a last-minute campaign push under the slogan “Netanyahu is good for the Jews” that put Bibi over the top. That effort was financed by Gutnick, a Chabad rabbi who made a fortune mining diamonds in his native Australia.
Gutnick has remained a staunch backer of Netanyahu throughout the subsequent decades, but is now leveling heavy criticism at both the Israeli leader and Trump over their apparent naïveté.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Gutnick thanked Trump for his genuine support of Israel and the Jewish people, but accused him of having been “misled” in his belief that a demilitarized Palestinian state is either possible or acceptable.
Even with all the concessions it would receive as part of Trump’s plan, for Israel to accept a sovereign Palestinian state in any form “would be catastrophic for the security of Israel. …The prime minister must realize that he is leading Israel into a dangerous trap if he continues talking about a Palestinian state in any form,” continued Gutnick.
Indeed, nearly every previous agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinians obligated the latter to maintain nothing more than a police force, while disarming all independent militias.
Those promises have been systematically violated. Worse, Palestinian groups, including those connected with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, have been caught importing offensive heavy weaponry that could have only one purpose: attacking Israel.
And then there is the example of the Gaza Strip, which Israel evacuated on the understanding that the international community wouldn’t allow it to become a terrorist haven hosting a heavily-armed and belligerent militia.
Even if the Palestinians were to initially implement the conditions contained in Trump’s plan, there is simply no guarantee that a future Palestinian regime wouldn’t militarize and resume the armed conflict.
It’s not enough to assume pragmatism, as demonstrated by Hamas’ willingness to utterly ruin Gaza for the sake of the holy jihad against the infidel Jews.