Subtitle: Netanyahu Obamizes Trump
It seems that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a very special place in the mind and heart of the new US president. Otherwise, it is very difficult to understand Trump’s antagonistic view comparing his behavior to that confrontation versus the rest of his internal and external challenges. The flattening of the new resident of the White House intends to destroy all national or international order or rule that prevailed until his election. Not so in the case of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In this respect, and to date, it seems that Trump strictly conforms to the mold of all his predecessors. He charged US diplomacy with the role of independent mediator in the attempt to find a solution to the conflict on the basis of direct negotiations between the parties. Just where all the presidents and foreign ministers of the last decades have failed, Trump is convinced that, by the same way, he can achieve the “the ultimate deal”.
Since assume as president, and especially in the encounters with Netanyahu and Mahamud Habbas, Trump did not cease in his efforts to gain the confidence of the parties with the clear intention to create exaggerated expectations for each side. In his attempts to fall in grace in one or the other, the world arrived at the absurdity of listening to totally contradictory versions of cardinal questions with a difference of one or two days in the mouth of different American officials. The latest diplomatic incident surrounding Trump’s upcoming visit to the Wailing Wall is a fitting example of a series of declarations and denials, discordant and conflicting announcements on the same subject and on behalf of the US administration.
Both in the official corridors of Jerusalem and in Ramallah they prefer to minimize these diplomatic crunches. You cannot bother the leader of the world’s first power.
Also Trump in his visit to the region scheduled for next May 22, like his predecessors, especially the hated Obama, most likely end up colliding with a wall of intransigence.
Peace agreement: Mission Impossible
Since the reality of half a century shows that there is practically no possibility that one of the parties can achieve the so-called definitive victory and impose its political and social order in the region, a solution agreed by both sides on the basis of the slogan “Two states for two peoples” went light years away from the possibility of materialization.
Four interrelated motives are the main determinants of this incomprehensible reality.
- In the central aspects of an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel, especially those territorial and sovereign, there are abysmal gap between the minimum requirements of each party against the predisposition to maximum concessions of the counterpart.
- The enormous power of imposition by Israel’s military and diplomatic force in the face of a notable Palestinian weakness.
- Netanyahu’s basic conception that the eternity of the prevailing status quo is preferable to a unilateral annexation of the West Bank, as required by Bennet and his religious minions with fundamentalist projects, or a maximum separation with the Palestinians by means of a significant territorial assignment, as proposed by the opposition.
- The Palestinian leadership is unwilling to sacrifice its personal comfort within the framework of the present reality in view of the possibility of creating the basic conditions of breaking with the status quo if they take the dramatic and uncomfortable decision to dissolve the Palestinian Authority by transferring all responsibilities of the people in the West Bank to Israel. In fact, it would be in the presence of the end of Israel as a Jewish state to start Greater Israel as binational state with its terrible consequences for the Jewish people.
The abysmal gap
Under the hypothetical assumption that Trump nonetheless achieves a peace agreement between the parties in the conflict, its implementation, at least on the Israeli side, would be very doubtful.
In the framework of Israel’s social and political constellation of this time, any minimally rational agreement with the Palestinians could theoretically enjoy a majority and significant popular support in the Hebrew state. The qualifier of theorist wants to affirm that in practice the hawks and minorities of religious nationalism with a strong fundamentalist tinge have enough shock and political power to dissuade any attempt of this type, or to directly sabotage it until its implementation should be impossible .
It is quite possible to suppose, and there are those who are already thinking in that direction, that just the Prime Minister of Israel is the guide and adviser of this striking action of Trump. Ultimately there is no greater favored than Netanyahu to see Trump shaking his head against the wall of this conflict. In this way, the forecast would materialize that Netanyahu’s main objective with Trump’s triumph was precisely to Obamizes him. To give him a free scenario to demonstrate to the world, together with his Chancellor, that basically nothing should change as it is impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
This pessimistic view of Trump’s upcoming tour in the region is not the only one. The thought that a president responsible for scandals follows controversy just surely as crisis leads to, leading Israel to a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians, or annexing the West Bank, is totally ridiculous, says Chemi Shalev (Haretz 15-5-17). The leading analyst in US policy argues that with Trump the Messiah has not yet arrived and that both projects totally antagonistic in the divided Israeli society won’t be worth two bits if Trump continues to weaken America abroad and to shatter it from within, which was and still is the main support of Israel.
The closest assessment to the reality is that after Trump’s visit, at most, direct negotiation frameworks of the parties under US auspices, possibly with European and Russian participation, will be formalized. The agenda of these working groups will surely be finalized more or less within a year without achieving any advance, as a result of the early elections call in Israel.
Netanyahu should be happy with the continuity in the eternity of the status quo.
Herzlya – Israel 20-5-2017