Today it is known that the splurge of champagne by the Israeli extreme right (West Bank settlers, Bennet proselytes and Likud ideological comrades), for the triumph of Trump was a waste of money and a celebration ahead of time.

This column stated three months ago: “What the Israeli Prime Minister understands, and probably the desperation and impatience of the settlers prevents them from paying attention, is that the precipitous race to colonize and impose Israeli sovereignty throughout the West Bank may cause a boomerang effect that throw to the ground all historical aspirations and dreams from them. As much as it may seem ridiculous, Netanyahu’s main challenge with Trump’s new government is to get him on the same path that Obama has gone through. Let him behave like a roaring paper tiger, but he does not give Israel a nibble, even though he literally fulfills his absolute subservience behind the interests of the Jewish state in its most important strategic aspects. Netanyahu should inject formalities into the peace process with the Palestinians in order to keep him in a bottle with the appearance of life, although everyone knows he was shot years ago. At the same time, moderate steps should be taken to colonize the West Bank, on the one hand, not to exasperate too much the external front, and on the other hand on the internal front, to keep the parliamentary coalition as quiet and united as possible supporting him in power and continues with the dream of Greater Israel. “

Netanyahu, like very few Israeli statesmen and politicians, is very clear that the only two opposite alternatives to a “definitive solution” to the conflict with the Palestinians are virtually unattainable for a long time.

The institution of an independent Palestinian State, under any minimum territorial environment accepted by the Palestinians, implies the assignment of land actually under Israeli control that the vast majority of this society, securely and before any parliamentary constellation, is not willing to support it.

At the other extreme, if you leave aside the Israeli government’s tactic of criticizing any UN position against Israel, it must be borne in mind that the recent UN Security Council resolution showed Netanyahu that any attempt of imposing Israeli sovereignty on West Bank territory, as demanded by the Israeli extreme right, necessarily means facing the whole world. As much as the support of an extravagant character such as Trump can be mobilized, these times are not the most appropriate for a battle on all fronts.

Not coincidentally, during the last 8 years of continuous cadences as Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu did not provide the minimal global initiative to reach a serious agreement or solution with the Palestinians. On the contrary, his whole strategy was based on consecrating, boasting and eternalizing the status quo.

Undoubtedly, the next personal meeting between Trump and Netanyahu, scheduled for the next few days in Washington, will be essential to set the framework in which relations between the US administration and Jerusalem will develop.

The opposition to Bibi, who theoretically should be the stronghold that moves heaven and earth in pursuit of negotiations that can quickly reach an agreement with the Palestinians, is totally disintegrated, helpless and barely survives.

On the contrary, the extreme right does not rest in its attacks and permanently threats Netanyahu. Following his achievement, at the expense of Netanyahu’s opposition to the promulgation of the racist law known under the name of land regulation in the West Bank, he mobilized all his forces these days to try to press Netanyahu with the requirement to erase in the lexicon of the negotiations the expression “Palestinian state”.

Naftali Bennet, leader of the National Religious Party “Habait Hayhudi”, was responsible for transmitting an inadmissible threat in the mouth of a minister to his Prime Minister. In his Facebook Bennet wrote: “The two words – Palestinian state – are a historical tragedy. It is forbidden to mention them. This is our challenge. If in the declaration at the end of the meeting, Trump and Netanyahu return to the commitment to the creation of Palestine, or two states, in one form or another, we will all feel it in our own flesh in the near future. The earth will tremble”.

Netanyahu’s Likud party followers do not leave him alone. In a petition published in today’s newspapers, they express “the opposition to the creation of an enemy state at the heart of our lands, the demand to accelerate the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the imposition of Israeli law in much of that territory.

Public petition: The Likud at the right “extreme” of Netanyahu     

Conscious of the significant lack of political support that can guarantee his long-awaited and long-standing Prime Minister status (as long as he does not miss any of his ridiculous alibis on allegations of corruption), it would not be unreasonable to assume that it was just Netanyahu who resorted to the help of the new American president. Otherwise it would be difficult to assume that just the Israeli Palestinian conflict was chosen as the first issue where Trump decided to give an elegant and practically total reversal in relation to his statements in the proselytizing campaign only three weeks after assuming his functions.

In his first interview with an Israeli news media since he took office, Trump was responsible for conveying a clear message that basically throws away a lot of those pre-election statements that so excited the Israeli right-wing. Without fear of resorting to misinterpretation, it can be said that Trump in his long report basically returns to the traditional positions that characterized all his predecessor’s years ago.

The new tenant of the White House expressed his deep desire to arrive at a definitive agreement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he emphasized clearly and widely the reason why he considers that the settlements do not help this type of arrangement, and, therefore, Israel too has to behave with much reason in this process.

Significant was his response to the pre-election pledge to move his embassy to Jerusalem for which even the mayor of that city mobilized in the search of land for its construction. Faced with the journalist’s insistence on setting the date, Trump responded in a categorical way: “I think about it. I analyze the subject and we will see what happens. It is not an easy decision. It has been talked about for years. Nobody wanted to make that decision and I think seriously about it. We’ll see what happens”. Translation from the diplomatic language: forget the pledge.

Probably, the excellent analyst Barak Ravid already wrote the brief summary of the meeting between the two leaders scheduled for next Wednesday. “The talk between Netanyahu and Trump will unfold in a very good atmosphere, with many hugs and kisses. But at the end, it will be a talk very similar to those between Netanyahu and Obama. The Prime Minister of Israel will talk about Iran, and again Iran, but Trump, like Obama, will want to hear what Netanyahu is willing to do to promote the peace process”.

Again, it was shown that there is no Israeli politician who can equate Netanyahu in his ability to orient himself in a sea of strong currents in contradictory directions. While it is true he disrupted, for the moment, the nefarious attempt to annex the West Bank to Israel, on this occasion mobilized the new president of EE. UU to ensures its permanence as Prime Minister of Israel with the help of Obama’s policies, it does not matter if the price is to perpetuate the conflict with the Palestinians.  

Daniel Kupervaser

Herzlya – Israel 13-2-2017    

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