Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries is excited to see Benjamin Netanyahu back as Prime Minister of Israel:

“Basically Israel now has to go at it alone, which is actually fulfillment of scripture. Zechariah 12 through 14 prophesies that to happen. They have to go at it alone in this world. America is going to be tougher and tougher on them under this new administration, which will be more pro-Islam than it will be pro-Israel,” she contends. “And they want a leader who will not cave. And the only one that Israel could see that would not cave is Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Which is scarier — Netanyahu’s advocacy of violence against Palestinians and a free-market approach to the Middle East peace process; or this End Times craziness? Obviously, they tend to work hand-in-hand. The only consolation I can derive from this depressing development is that Netanyahu, like most Israeli and American conservative politicians, strings these blinkered souls along to maintain political clout while pursuing their imperialist objectives.

Some consolation.

It is notable, albeit predictable that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be using Senator Joe Lieberman as his messenger boy with President Obama, who likely commuted the Senator’s political punishment by his Democratic colleagues in order to play such a role. Phyllis Bennis offers more small consolation on the likely relationship the ObamAdmin will have with Netanyahu’s coalition government:

But from the vantage point of justice rather than diplomatic convenience, a return of Netanyahu as prime minister, even with a visible role for [Avigdor] Lieberman, may not be such a bad option. Netanyahu’s abrasive rhetoric is far more honest in depicting actual Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

Er…I guess. I am still puzzling the logic on that one. Because he’s more “honest” or less “dissembling”? Right now Netanyahu is playing hardball with Kadima, despite President Simon Peres’ anointing him to create a unity government, over the issue of the peace process. Perhaps Markell is right that Netanyahu will give the ObamAdmin a hard time, but only insofar as the Israeli coalition government is held together with twine and chewing gum. As Massimo Calabresi observes:

The biggest danger now is that Washington expends too much diplomatic activity at a time when it is least likely to have an effect. The U.S., as it continues to engage, faces the danger of becoming part of the furniture if George Mitchell begins making monthly visits during a period of minimal possibility for progress. “One or two listening tours will do,” says Rob Malley of the International Crisis Group, “But at a certain point it will become better not to go than to go.” Indeed, it may be better to hope a resting Middle East peace process can be resurrected in the future than to insist on creating the appearance of life when there is none.

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