Looking at emerging patterns and trend, this could happen in Israel this coming year:
- 2017 is promising to be a better year for Israel: A friendlier American administration, who makes it a priority to show its allies and the world that it stands by its allies, is likely to provide better international support, closer military coordination, and better alignment with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations. A strong pro-Israeli US support on one hand, and US demands from Israel to show flexibility where is needed on the other hand, combined with a potentially new government in Israel, and the realization by the Palestinians that there is no other choice; that the longer the Palestinians wait, the more Jewish settlements will pop up next to their towns, may finally get the peace process out of the mud and an agreement could be made.
- For the past eight years, both Obama and Netanyahu, wished for the day when the other leader is not in power anymore. 2017 may be the year when both of them are out of power: Just as Obama leaves office and it seems that Netanyahu is finally getting his wish, Netanyahu’s political future becomes unclear: 2017 may not only be the year when Obama presidency ends. It may also be the year when Netanyahu loses his position as a prime minister. We learned yesterday (12-29-16) that the Israeli justice system is investigating two separate cases in which the prime minister is suspected of accepting large sums of money illegally. If this turns out to be the case, Netanyahu will be forced to resign and may end up in jail.
- With President Trump promising to put pressure on Iran to ensure its compliance with its nuclear agreement, the Iranians may decide to shift the attention from them by warming up the Israeli-Lebanese border through Iran’s proxy terror organization Hezbollah. Israel has been preparing for such a war since the end of the 2nd Lebanon war in 2006. The Israeli policy of zero tolerance may lead to an unintentional war along the Israeli-Lebanese, and the Israeli-Syrian, borders. The instability in Syrian may force Israel to invade Syria in attempt to stop attacks form this area on Israeli towns. Once in Syria, Israel may get caught in the Syrian mess without easy way out.
- Things can get out of control if Assad is forced by Iran to come to the aid of Hezbollah. Russia, who supports Assad may finds itself caught between its wish to preserve the Assad regime, and its wish to avoid a military confrontation with Israel. The airspace over Syria is just not large enough to allow the uninterrupted operation of the Israeli air force, with its modern American made combat aircrafts, and the Russian made attack aircrafts. Israel will not allow any other air force to dominate the sky in the region. It will shoot down Russian aircrafts if they are in its way. This may bring the newest US made F-35 combat aircraft into action much faster than anyone has anticipated. The sky over Syrian could become the place where American best combat aircraft is tested for the first time against Russia’s best combat aircrafts.
- Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is likely intensify: With the Obama administration gone, the strong US pressure on Israel to freeze construction in the settlements is likely to fade away. The right wing Israeli government is likely to seize the opportunity and expand the settlements despite international objections.
- The US embassy will be relocated to Jerusalem – So many promises were made by Trump about the relocation of the embassy that it is unlikely that he’ll go back on his words.
- 2017 may be the year when ISIS is no longer a major threat to Israel and the rest of the world: With Trump’s making ISIS the number one enemy of the United States, the anti-ISIS offensive in Iraq, the heavy loses that ISIS is suffering by the Russians in Syria, and the growing coordination between Israel and Egypt in the war against ISIS in the Sinai peninsula, will make a difference. ISIS will be pushed into the remote corners of the world where this terror organization is limited in the amount of harm it can do. Its attempts to shift its activity to Europe are facing stronger opposition as the European nations improve their ability to intercept and stop terror attacks in their territories.
- With its pro-Israeli prime minister Theresa May, and with Great Britain’s exit of the European Union, where GB was forced to adhere to the EU foreign policy, the diplomatic relations between Israel and Great Britain are likely to improve in 2017. The first indication of it was May’s surprising criticism yesterday (12-30-16) of the John Kerry’s one sided anti-Israeli speech.
- With the growing anti-immigrant sentiments across Europe and the upcoming election in Germany, Israel may lose one of its most loyal and supportive great friend, the current Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, who is facing growing opposition due to her liberal approach to resettlement of Syrian refugees in Germany. Without Merkel’s strong pro-Israeli leadership, the behind-the-scene cooperation between Germany and Israel may lose its effectiveness, at least until the political situation in Germany is settled down.
- With Israel putting its foot down after the anti-Israeli vote in the UN, demanding returns on the goodwill investments it is making in 3rd world countries, and anti-terror and military cooperation with developed countries, Israel is likely to receive more international diplomatic support than it did in 2016. With Trump and the US congress promising to force a change of attitude toward Israel in the UN, the poor UN anti-Israeli resolution 2334 may be overturned or made irrelevant. 2017 may be the year when Israel is no longer internationally isolated.
Happy New Year