Taking Trump’s peace push seriously, Netanyahu said looking to broaden coalition

TV report says PM and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog again in contact, as opinion poll shows Israelis backing two-state deal based by 47%-39%


US President Donald Trump (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wave after delivering a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23, 2017. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

With President Donald Trump pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace progress, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is again looking to widen his coalition by bringing in politicians from the center left, a TV report said. The report coincided with a new poll showing more Israelis backing than opposing a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines.

The report, on Israel’s Channel 2 news on Friday night, said that Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog spoke by phone on the eve of Trump’s visit to Israel this week, and have arranged to meet in the aftermath of Trump’s trip. Herzog, who met with Trump briefly on Tuesday, has said repeatedly in the last few days that he would back Netanyahu — from outside the coalition — were the prime minister to push for substantive progress in peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu is working to broaden his coalition because he wants room for maneuver should direct Israeli-Palestinian talks resume, said the TV report, which was not confirmed.

The same TV station on Friday night also published a survey showing Israelis backing a two-state accord deal with the Palestinians, based on the 1967 borders adjusted to include the major settlement blocs, by 47% to 39%, with 14% undecided.

The survey also showed Netanyahu backed by 35% as their choice for prime minister, far ahead of centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on 14%, with no other candidate in double figures. It also gave the Likud a healthy lead in Knesset seats, on 30, compared to Yesh Atid on 22, an improvement for the Likud on previous polls.

(R-L) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal Herzog at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. (Haim Zach/GPO)

(R-L) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal Herzog at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Herzog, head of the center-left Zionist Union came close to joining the coalition last year, but their negotiations collapsed amid mutual recriminations, and Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party joined the government instead, with Liberman becoming defense minister. Herzog was set to join the coalition to advance peace talks, following a February 2016 summit, attended by Netanyahu, secretary of state John Kerry, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, which was intended to jump-start negotiating efforts. Herzog later blamed Netanyahu for spurning the opportunity under pressure from Likud and Jewish Home right-wingers.

Trump reiterated on his May 22-23 visit here that he seeks to broker an Israeli-Palestinian accord. While Netanyahu highlighted his skepticism about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s readiness for a deal, he did tell Trump that “for the first time in many years — and, Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime — I see a real hope for change.”

For his part, Trump was adamant in his final speech at the Israel Museum on Tuesday that Abbas and the Palestinians “are ready to reach for peace.”

Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner Kushner, who along with international negotiations envoy Jason Greenblatt has been tasked by Trump with relaunching the peace process, reportedly told Herzog on Tuesday: “We are planning to move fast in starting a diplomatic process in order to reach a deal.”

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (L) watches as US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (L) watches as US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 22, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Senior ministers were quoted in the Channel 2 report saying that it was clear that Trump will be pressing Israel for compromise, and that celebrations on the right because Trump did not refer to Palestinian statehood during his visit, and did not criticize the settlement enterprise, were misplaced. “We’re all dancing on the Titanic,” an unnamed top minister was quoted as saying.

The Channel 2 report quoted Israeli ministers who met with Trump and his team saying that the US president and his key advisers drew three conclusions about peacemaking from their trip: That progress on the Israel-Palestinian front is central to progress elsewhere in the Middle East; that Abbas, with whom he has now met twice, is a viable partner; and that the notion that Netanyahu can’t make compromises because of the constraints of his right-wing coalition is false, since the center-left would support him.

Bringing the Zionist Union into the coalition would be extremely complicated — because of opposition from existing coalition partners and from many in Herzog’s party. Furthermore, Zionist Union is holding leadership elections on July 4, and Herzog faces a serious threat to his hold on the party.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni (L) speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the opening session of the World Economic Forum held in the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh in Jordan on May 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni (L) speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the opening session of the World Economic Forum held in the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh in Jordan on May 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Channel 2 suggested that Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister who heads a 5-member faction (Hatnua) inside the Zionist Union, could break away from Herzog and join Netanyahu, but noted that Livni is skeptical about Netanyahu’s readiness to move forward. Livni, who shares the sense that there is an opportunity for a breakthrough, is said to have established a good relationship with Greenblatt.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Trump “pressured” Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table during his visit. “There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both PM Netanyahu as well as President Abbas,” Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One. “He put a lot of pressure on them that it’s time to get to the table.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters aboard Air force One shortly before arriving in Brussels on May 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters aboard Air force One shortly before arriving in Brussels on May 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Tillerson further said that Trump “very forceful” pushing both sides that a peace deal will require them to make difficult compromises. “The president was very forceful in his encouragement to both of them to be serious about approaching these discussions in the future and recognize they have to compromise; everyone has to compromise,” he said.

America’s top diplomat also suggested that Israeli-Palestinian peace could be a catalyst to greater regional peace, what is sometimes referred to as the linkage argument.

Trump “has made the point several times: We solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace dilemma, we start solving a lot of the peace throughout the Middle East region,” Tillerson said.

May 28, 2017 | 12 Comments »

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    “He is the only British Prime Minister of Jewish birth.”

    Sir Keith Joseph could have become the first practising JEWISH p.m if something had befallen mrs thatcher. he was the right hand man and attended Chelsea Shul a united synagogue service.

  2. I googled:
    how did Disraeli support jewish settlement of palestine as prime minister

    and got:

    The Second Jewish Migration: From Europe to the Ottoman State
    By Ali Arslan, PhD

  3. @ Edgar G.:
    @ MELECH david:

    Disraeli entered Parliament in 1837. The mandatory Christian oath was abolished in 1861. Moreover, from his writings and actions, it is clear that he viewed himself as a Jew by ethnicity or nationality apart from being British, irrespective of religion. I have read in a number of places that he was a fervent Zionist and supporter of Jewish settlement in Palestine.

    “…Benjamin Disraeli, who was born Jewish and baptised aged 12 into the Church of England, was a member of parliament from 1837, served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1852, 1858–1859 and 1867–1868 Conservative governments. He went on to become, in 1868 and again in 1874, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 1876. His willingness to take Christian oaths meant there were no barriers to his political career; for Jews who had not converted to Christianity the oath remained the key obstacle. The oath of office included the words “and I make this Declaration upon the true Faith of a Christian”…Monday, 26 July 1858, Lionel de Rothschild took the oath with covered head, substituting “so help me, Jehovah” for the ordinary form of oath, and thereupon took his seat as the first Jewish member of Parliament; David Salomons was re-elected for Greenwich in a by-election and took his seat in early 1859. Two years later a more general form of oath for all members of Parliament was introduced, which freed the Jews from all cause of exclusion…”


    “This Day in Jewish History 1858: Rothschild Becomes First Unconverted Jew in British Parliament
    Voted into power four times, it took 11 years for Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild to get his seat because he wouldn’t take the Christian oath.”
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/this-day-in-jewish-history/.premium-1.667688

    The modern Zionist movement that led to the birth of Israel founded by Herzl was predominantly secular and socialist. Modern Zionists defined themselves as a nation. Many earlier Zionists did too but adopted Christianity or were baptised into it. There was no other way to avoid or at least minimize discrimination. How they rationalized it is beside the point. Look at their actions. Disraeli was a Zionist converso. So was Christopher Columbus.



  4. Edgar G. Said:

    I do believe that he acknowledged that he was a Jew, more for the political rhetoric than from belief.

    I gather whenever he was accused or it was suggested he is/was a JEW he never admitted nor denied. then there’s the more important question he was known as queen vic’s fave P.M. as a JEW or non C.o.E. faith would he have been allowed in her presence?

  5. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    I have a life of Disraeli as Lord Beaconsfield. I do believe that he acknowledged that he was a Jew, more for the political rhetoric than from belief. After all, he was baptised as an Episcopalian or Church of England, (either just before or just after his barmitzvah,I assume before) or whatever it was, after his father had a deep seated row with his Shool Committee (maybe over the barmitzvah). It was pure spite. Of course Disraeli was always derided throughout his career as a Jew, even though he regularly went to Church. His wife 14 (?) years older, to whom he was devoted, was a fervent churchgoer.

    His propensity for flashy garments and personal ornaments seemed to deliberately display the preconceived Semitic nature of his being. Was it deliberate or for a purpose…who knows. He made a name for himself possibly based on it, by the antagonism of his opponents giving him the opportunity for tearing them to pieces -in a genteel manner of course..

    At any time, remember, he could have reconverted to Judaism, and i always wondered why he did not. An enigma wrapped in a conundrum (is that the way the saying goes)

    His definition of a calamity compared to a misfortune.. “If my esteemed opponent Mr Gladstone, whilst walking along the Thames Embankment, slipped and fell into the water.. that would be a misfortune..BUT…if someone jumped in and pulled him out…THAT would be a calamity…”

  6. :
    A Big Government TV station, posing leading questions to products of public education, in order to generate “correct” responses which the Government will then cite in order to justify special interest policies.

  7. @ Sebastien Zorn: One thing I do know…the end result of such an endeavor, will be upgraded acts of terrorism with large numbers of casualties.
    How stupid are Israelis?? The answer is: Apparently no less stupid than the same `American Jewish Community`, that Caroline Glick loves to beat up upon until she realized her error. Give the lady a cigar, Ted.
    We suffer from the same malady. It results in widespread indifference.

  8. same old same old, nutunyahoo running to outdo quisling. loves the French history of surrender. thinks what happens in Manchester stays in Manchester. be interesting what and how crump intends to pressure ISRAEL. I don’t know how reliable channel 2 is? but remember nutunyahoo the prize rabin and Sharon got for surrendering what was not theirs.

  9. Are they arm wrestling in the top photo? Or is Trump just twisting BBs thumb? Shouldn’t they do this on a table? Maybe some kind of peace table? Or given the salami tactic that the TSS is, a piece table?

    Is this poll for real? Can it be checked?

    Why are there so many Jews who don’t understand that any land relinquished — one square inch, ok — will become a missile and terrorist launching pad like Gaza, Southern Lebanon, areas A and B and the Sinai Penninsula?

    Jewish empire means Israeli soldiers on duty will be shot at somewhat. Withdrawal means terror at home. What would Disraeli say?

    “It has been said that the people of this country are deeply interested in the humanitarian and philanthropic considerations involved in [the Eastern Question]. All must appreciate such feelings. But I am mistaken if there be not a yet deeper sentiment on the part of the people of this country, one with which I cannot doubt your lordships will ever sympathise, and that is—the determination to maintain the Empire of England.
    Speech in the House of Lords (20 February 1877), cited in William Flavelle Monypenny and George Earle Buckle, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. Volume II. 1860–1881 (London: John Murray, 1929), p. 994.”

    “Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.
    Reply to a taunt by Daniel O’Connell [1]”


    “Mark Twain popularized the saying in Chapters from My Autobiography, published in the North American Review in 1906. “Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'”[2]

    “In 1851, correspondence between Lord Stanley, whose father became British Prime Minister the following year, and Benjamin Disraeli, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer alongside him, records Disraeli’s proto-Zionist views: “He then unfolded a plan of restoring the nation to Palestine—said the country was admirably suited for them—the financiers all over Europe might help—the Porte is weak—the Turks/holders of property could be bought out—this, he said, was the object of his life…” Coningsby was merely a feeler my views were not fully developed at that time—since then all I have written has been for one purpose. The man who should restore the Hebrew race to their country would be the Messiah—the real saviour of prophecy!” He did not add formally that he aspired to play this part, but it was evidently implied. He thought very highly of the capabilities of the country, and hinted that his chief object in acquiring power here would be to promote the return”.[20][21] 26 years later, Disraeli wrote in his article entitled “The Jewish Question is the Oriental Quest” (1877) that within fifty years, a nation of one million Jews would reside in Palestine under the guidance of the British.”