The Israeli Right Voted for Trump but Got Obama

Minister Naftali Bennett wants America’s president to ditch the the two-state solution. But like his predecessors, Trump has placed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process high on his agenda.

By Barak Ravid, HAARETZ

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, his wife Renda St. Clair, President Donald Trump, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office of the White, Feb. 1, 2017.

The interview with U.S. President Donald Trump in the daily Israel Hayom newspaper published on Friday was astonishing. Only three weeks after he was sworn in, Trump made an elegant and near complete retreat from the positions he took during his campaign on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and has continued in the same safe direction of the traditional policies of every American president since 1967.

Trump expressed a desire for a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, explained in a logical and reasoned fashion why construction in the settlements would not aid in achieving such an agreement and called on Israel to act reasonably concerning the peace process.

When Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev declared in December after the UN Security Council resolution against the settlements that “Obama is history and now we have Trump,” she certainly never imagined that the new U.S. president would say what he did only a month and a half later.

Neither did the settler lobby in the media, Knesset and government. The Israeli right voted for Trump, but for now it seems what it got on the Palestinian issue is just a slightly more smiling version of Obama.

Trump’s statements are even more amazing because they were spoken just two hours before he had dinner with the publisher of the free Israel Hayom, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has said there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. The same Adelson who leaked before the dinner that he would ask Trump to abandon the two-state solution and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. This was certainly not the interview Adelson expected to read in the paper the following day, especially after he contributed $125 million to Trump’s election campaign.

Many on the Israeli right thought Trump’s victory was the equivalent of the arrival of the Messiah, and that now the road was paved to annexing the West Bank with the blessings of the White House. The problem is that the person who has the greatest influence on American policy in the Middle East is not Sheldon Adelson, but Rex Tillerson, the brand new Secretary of State, who was CEO of ExxonMobil and looks more like a 2017 model of James Baker.

During his many years in the world of energy, Tillerson worked very closely with Arab nations, while it is doubtful if he ever met an Israeli during his career. The huge machinery of his State Department has gotten down to work, and this is clear too from the voices now coming out of the White House.

Over the past few days, the settlers’ leadership has been pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he is about to miss out on a historic opportunity in his Wednesday meeting with Trump, who is just waiting to hear what the premier has to say. They believe that if only Netanyahu tells Trump the two-state solution is no longer relevant, that he wants to build in all the settlements without limitations — then the president will accept that. It seems they have a bit of a lack of understanding about how international relations work, and how the U.S. administration works too. The problem is not Netanyahu’s determination, or lack thereof — the problem is reality.
Trump and Tillerson are motivated by their own interests. When they hear the messages coming from King Abdullah of Jordan, from Egypt and Saudi Arabia too, it has a much greater influence than the opinions of the Yesha Council of settlements. This is even before we take into account the messages from Russia and the European Union, not to mention briefings by the heads of the American intelligence and defense establishment on the implications the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could have on the safety of thousands of American soldiers all over the Middle East.

At the meeting of the Israeli security cabinet scheduled for Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett will try to pressure Netanyahu to finally retreat from his agreement of the establishment of a Palestinian state. Bennett’s goal is to convince Trump to put an end to the use of the phrase “two-state solution.” But this seems to be a lost cause now, as Trump — like all his predecessors in the White House — has placed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process high on his agenda.

February 12, 2017 | 16 Comments » | 75 views

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16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. This article written by Ravid from Haaretz is a fine example of fake news; that is lies, semi-truths out of context and just old obama style lies.
    Of course, we need to look at the origin of the article; Haaretz. Aaahhh; there’s the hiena leg under the lamb’s skin.
    Well, we will have to wait to next thrusday to know the truth, truth.
    As for now, I don’t believe a word of what you wrote,
    Ravid. Surely, not many Israeli Officials believe you either. Ha!

  2. The American people voted for Trump and got Nikki Haley at the U.N. who slapped
    Down the proposal that Fayyad the Palestinian should be an envoy for the U.N.
    During the right years of Obama we never had such a pro Israel situation out of the U.S. At the U.N.
    Besides, Haaretz is far left……..who believes what scenarios they concoct??

  3. If the Jewish people were expecting Donald Trump to be the Messiah, they really set themselves up for a big fall. The man is exceptional and I voted for him because I always thought he was exceptional, since The Art of the Deal, in 1987. But he is not a miracle worker. So, here’s an idea for the Jewish people: Why don’t we say what we want and what we have always wanted? Why is there so much hatred amongst our own people? So much back-stabbing? Why can’t we get united, figure out where we want our borders and capitol to be and then fight for it? Oh! no! Then we would not be grumbling that Trump is not the Messiah we deluded ourselves into thinking. Isn’t it about time that the Jewish people knew, once and for all, where our borders are? Where our capitol is? I mean, it’s been 70 years, and we are still in-fighting and bashing one another. What do we expect from the non-Jewish world if we, the Jewish people, can’t figure ourselves out, don’t know our history, suppress one another, disrespect our Prime Minister, call for a dissolution of our government in Israel, and elect Arab MK’s who go and visit terrorists, but then pay these MK’s a salary, ask our IDF to wait until a terrorist raises his arm with a gun and only then, shoot in self-defense, politicize our wars, give guns to our enemies, and consistently act like victims???

  4. Objectively we do not know how much Trump really cares in the scheme of things about Israel and the Palestinians. Questions:

    1. Does he actually feel strong enough against settlement expansion to make a big deal about it behind the scenes? If not green light to build.

    2. He does not appear to like the Palestinians. How strong is this dislike? Will he pull funds from them permanently? Will he stop the USA funding of UNRWRA.

    3. Would he back Israel for a partial annexation of Judea/Samaria in particular if they fail to cooperate on negotiations?

    These are only some of the questions time will answer.

    One thing we know Bibi is not bold and is risk averse so he cares most about staying in office. So if Trump does not push him too hard the right in the Likud and Bennett will push him to annex parts of Judea/Samaria plus do expansive building.

  5. @ Birdalone:

    Let’s see How BB spins their coming meeting. No golf and all that kind of fluff let’s see if he comes in and out the front door.

    Why week 12 and not week 10 or 25? LOL

  6. @ bernard ross:

    True but that’s always been the case with the right but hey they are not united either…. My theory goes that the right can only unite and be effective when they are in opposition having the Likud in power dilutes their power and influence. BB buys loyalty and divides the rest by being the head of a coalition…. Being in opposition allows the right to unite mobilize the people I think a large majority against the left from carrying out their agenda.

  7. We really are too dumb to live! We’re not Stupid??Unbelievable! Moshe Feiglin at least has a Party called ZehutIdentity),so you know this is serious business! The only reason this Holy Land is OURS is ONLY because of our Zehut (our identity).Hashem gave us this land and if Netanyahu is too stupid to request what is rightfully ours,then he should step down and let a real leader capable of carrying this out NOW while Trump would do what makes sense !!!

  8. Sooner than later Trump will realize that the ultimate goal of the IL Sunnis , otherwise named Pal, is a Judenrein OSS!
    Without Putin, Iran is NOTHING! Without the US, Egypt, SA and Jordan are equally NOTHING! As long as Iran does not have Nukes, the whole region is weak!
    The SuShi Islamofascism should be confronted by Putin and Trump! Thirteen centuries of headaches!!!!

  9. @ Birdalone:
    This is complete baloney. Apparently the author doesn’t recognize a gift horse when he sees one. Trump promised and he keeps his word. Just open your eyes and read carefully.

  10. I can’t see Trump backing down on his word unless BB asks him to. Then the advantage of having a strong ally in the USA will be diluted to useless.

    The promised land is Israel’s for the taking. The next time the Arabs attack from anywhere just stop pussyfooting around and listening to the calls for restraint from the UN, liberal EU and the false humanitarians and ignore the lying MSM. Ask Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, tell the world that the TSS is no longer an option and stop pretending that Judea and Samaria are not a part of Israel. Start spreading the truth that there are no Palestinians, it is a scam being perpetrated by land grabbers and fight for the right to not only exist but to exist in peace. The only way to end this war is to win it with a very decisive victory, destroy the enemy’s capability to fight again. The G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel will keep His word. The Arabs want Israel dead and will never keep their word so negotiation and further concessions are futile.

  11. @ Flamenco62:
    You are right! Let’s start to unite.
    I propose all Jews praying together at 15:00 Jerusalem time every day this week. Lest’s make a commitment with Adonai and lift our
    faces in prayer for the blessing comming from Bibi an Trump meeting. Simple thing: let’s do it.

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