Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....
we might very well find ourselves in a situation where the Government will be willing to make far-reaching concessions to our neighbors not because they believe them to be in the broader national interest, but rather because they serve their own narrow political self-interest.
Ehud Olmert is in trouble. Big trouble.
Between the findings of the Winograd Commission, and the slew of criminal investigations being conducted against him, the Prime Minister's popularity has sunk to all-time lows. His governing coalition appears increasingly fragile, and calls for him to resign grow louder with each passing day.
And this should have us all very, very worried - because in his hopelessly weakened state, the premier may very well decide to take rash or desperate steps in the diplomatic sphere in an attempt to stave off the possibility of being forced from office.
And the spurt of diplomatic activity over the past few days may just point in such a direction. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and agreed to a visit by an Arab League delegation in Israel. King Abdullah of Jordan will be meeting soon with PA Chairman Abu Mazen, and the Lebanese Prime Minister published an op-ed in the New York Times calling on Israel to accept the Saudi peace plan.
And so, we might very well find ourselves in a situation where the Government will be willing to make far-reaching concessions to our neighbors not because they believe them to be in the broader national interest, but rather because they serve their own narrow political self-interest.
Sound cynical? Perhaps. But it wouldn't be the first time that a prime minister made fateful decisions based on political, rather than strategic, calculations. So brace yourselves for a possible diplomatic surprise - one that is likely to be detrimental, rather than advantageous, to Israel and its interests.
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