Israeli leaders read Trump’s words as a permission slip

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments

The Trump-Netanyahu press conference of yesterday (which can be seen and read in full here) was an orgy of perverse ‘love’, and a shared love of hate against Palestinians, Iran and ‘radical Islam’.

I would like to provide a picture of how the Israeli government’s top officials are viewing what Trump said, sometimes directly mirroring their perceptions against what Trump actually said. Whilst their paraphrasings are just that, I believe they provide a rather honest view of what Trump was ACTUALLY saying, in his own way, to Israel. Translation of the quotes is by me from Hebrew.

Education minister, head of the ‘Jewish Home’ party Naftali Bennett said after the press conference:

“We’re talking about a new era. After 24 years the flag of Palestine has been lowered and taken down from the post, to be substituted by the flag of Israel. The Palestinians already have the 2-state solution: In Gaza and Jordan. There’s no need for a third [state]. Now it’s necessary to look forward and mold a new strategic concept in light of the new reality. I strengthen the PM, who revealed leadership and courage and has fortressed the security of Israel.”

Thus, for Bennett, this is the final erasure of Palestine (except Gaza).

Yuval Steinitz – Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, in charge of Israel Atomic Energy Commission and a member of the Security Cabinet:

“It was an excellent press conference, chapeau to the PM and also to President Trump. These are new tunes, first and foremost on the issue that is of utmost importance regarding our national security – the need and the recognition that Iran must be restrained. Also in the Palestinian sector [sic] we heard melodies and tunes very different to what we have heard some years ago [in recent years– Ed]. There was implicit agreement from President Trump that it is possible that the Palestinians aren’t at all ready for peace, that it may be that the 2-state solution isn’t relevant or applicable.”

It would appear, that Steinitz may be referring to Trump saying, “There’s no way a deal can be made if they’re not ready to acknowledge a very, very great and important country. And I think they’re going to be willing to do that also.” That’s strange, because the PLO already recognized Israel in treaty in 1993 (Oslo accords). So why is Trump saying ‘not ready to acknowledge’? Apparently because he works on the basis of the Netanyahu ‘addition’ that he made in 2009, saying it’s not enough to recognize Israel, but to recognize it as a JEWISH STATE. This was of course upping the ante to a level that was adding insult to injury towards the Palestinians. Whether a state is Jewish or Christian is an entirely internal matter. Netanyahu was essentially seeking to have the Palestinians give their stamp of approval to their own dispossession, and seal the matter of refugee return. This propaganda trick has apparently succeeded in entrenching a narrative of Palestinian ‘rejectionism’.

Netanyahu repeated this claim at the conference:

“So this is the source of the conflict. The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any boundary, this persistent rejectionism, that’s the reason we don’t have peace.”

And that’s what Trump buys into, in his own way. Trump tacitly conflates ‘country’ with ‘Jewish State’. He thus fully endorses the Zionist propaganda.

Steinitz added:

“Trump, in his figurative manner, sought to convey a clear-cut message – he said: ‘ladies and gentlemen, the Israelis need to decide. I stand behind you, whatever you decide, the government of Israel will decide what is good for it’. In opposition to the former administration, he did not say ‘I impose the solution’. He said ‘I understand what difficulties Israel is in, I understand what it has experienced’. And therefore, USA will not impose any solution. On the contrary. Trump essentially said – ‘Israel will lead, and we will support whatever it says’. [Concerning settlement construction]: We will build. We will definitely build. We’ll build the settlement, we’ll build Jerusalem, and there’s no need to apply any comment towards us.”

But did Trump really say that? Did he say ‘Israelis need to decide’? It would appear that Trump’s words which Steinitz seems to be referring to are these:

“So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

Alright, let’s try and look beyond the rhetoric level which seems to render this down to a children’s dispute over ice-cream. Those words, ‘like’ and ‘happy’, they seem so rosy-pink. We already know what Israel would ‘like’, which is mostly for the Palestinians to simply be gone. We also know that Israel does pretty much what it likes with regards to Palestinians. This of course makes Palestinians very un-happy. These words ‘like’ and ‘happy’, they make it seem like a mere conflict between two equal sides, a little quarrel. One can quickly forget, we are speaking about an occupation by a mighty occupier, against a rather defenseless occupied. But beyond that – is Trump saying “Israelis need to decide”, as Steinitz suggests? No, he’s suggesting, again in his own way, that both sides be ‘happy’ and ‘do what they like’. If one was to translate the infantile rhetoric level of Trump’s words, one could translate this to ‘both sides have to decide’. But Steinitz says only Israelis have to decide.

Is he simply omitting the Palestinian side unwittingly? I would say no. I would say that Israelis understand that in the political reality of today, what Trump is saying actually means that it is only the Israelis that will do the deciding, upon the fate of the Palestinians. Palestinians don’t have the luxury to apply their ‘likes’ in any meaningful way, whilst Israel generally does what it likes. That’s what Steinitz got, and I believe that’s what Trump really meant.

Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev:

“The era of [settlement construction] freeze is over. The freeze in Judea and Samaria is over. The freeze in USA-Israel relations is over. Today a new political era has begun in Washington.”

Some freeze. John Kerry already mentioned the roughly 100,000 extra settlers on President Obama’s watch. Israel broke records in Palestinian home demolitions and displacements in 2016  , the settlement expansion has persisted steadily and Israeli leaders have assured that the expansions would continue, particularly after President Obama left the White House. Obama wasn’t nearly as tough on Israel as Republican presidents, and finally allowed a toothless UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements to pass in December, at the very end of his term, less than any president had done since 1967. That’s how ‘freezing’ it was. Prof. Avi Shlaim opines that “Obama’s actual record over his eight years in office makes him one of the most pro-Israeli American presidents since Harry S Truman.”

Minister of Construction Yoav Galant: “The Press conference looked like a very successful meeting. Trump said very clear things – you will decide upon your own future, the Palestinians need to stop the incitement. I am not concerned with the settlement issue because as the President said, Netanyahu is a negotiator, he knows how to negotiate”.

Once again, ‘you’ seems to be translated to ‘Israel’, whilst the Palestinians just ‘need to stop the incitement’.

In relation to settlements, Galant is apparently referring to Trump saying “as far as settlements, I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. We’ll work something out”.

“Hold back” – what does this mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary says

a :  to hinder the progress or achievement of :  restrain

b :  to keep from advancing to the next stage, grade, or level

So, to show ‘restraint’ and to not take it to the ‘next level’ – that could mean just kind of, carry on, ‘moderately’ as it were, doing what you do? For just “a little bit”? Because Trump will work something out, so you can bulldoze Palestine freely and without restraint?

The Israelis totally got it. This is coded language they understand.

There’s an extremely popular old Israeli song, an evergreen, back from 1963, it’s called “When you [in feminine tense] say no, what do you really mean?”

The first verse is worth translating here:

When you say “no”, what do you really mean?

What do you mean when you say “no”?

Is the “no” really “no”

Maybe it is just a “maybe” but not just now

Or that “no” means just “not yet”

Maybe “oh”, maybe it’s “come”

Because you say “no” with such grace

So it sounds to me even more inviting than “yes”.

Indeed, this is what Trump is really saying to Israel, and they got it. It’s as if he’s almost saying “no” with his “hold back…for a little bit”, but really, he’s saying “grab Palestine by the pussy”.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

20 Responses

  1. Michael Lesher
    February 16, 2017, 12:57 pm

    This is the most important report so far to emerge from that press conference. What was actually said there matters less than what Israel’s highest officials claim was said — particularly if, as is virtually certain, Trump doesn’t publicly contradict them.

    And what they’re saying represents not only the death knell for any independent Palestine. It really amounts almost to a sort of Jewish fascism: we take whatever we want, because we’re Jews, and whatever Jews identify as Jewish belongs solely to us; anyone who gets in the way is an enemy of the Jews and of “peace.”

    That’s the big story here — and I think Jonathan is the first to report it.

    • Citizen
      February 16, 2017, 4:59 pm

      Yes it is the most important report so far to emerge, well worth spreading around the social media

    • Mooser
      February 16, 2017, 5:07 pm

      “It really amounts almost to a sort of Jewish fascism: we take whatever we want, because we’re Jews, and whatever Jews identify as Jewish belongs solely to us; anyone who gets in the way is an enemy of the Jews and of “peace.”

      Oh, don’t worry, the world has plenty of Jewish hostages, if need be. We are, you know, all one people. Israel won’t go too awful far, because that might bring repercussion on Jews in other parts of the world.

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2017, 6:11 pm

        Don’t get me wrong “Micheal”. If that is the program:

        “we take whatever we want, because we’re Jews, and whatever Jews identify as Jewish belongs solely to us; anyone who gets in the way is an enemy of the Jews and of “peace.”

        I guess we will all have to go along with it, for the sake of unity. I’d like to take a different attitude (I’m horribly outnumbered here) but who am I to disagree?

      • JLewisDickerson
        February 16, 2017, 6:52 pm

        I think Hitler really would have preferred that you “Jews” put all of your eggs in one basket. It would have made the Holocaust so much easier (especially now that Israel is destroying the concept of International Humanitarian Law)!

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 16, 2017, 6:48 pm

      RE: “[W]hatever Jews identify as Jewish belongs solely to us” ~ Lesher

      FROM WIKIPEDIA [Iron Wall (essay), as of 12/09/13]:

      [EXCERPT] . . . [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky argued that the Palestinians would not agree to a Jewish majority in Palestine, and that “Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”[1] The only solution to achieve peace and a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, he [Ze’ev Jabotinsky] argued, would be for Jews to unilaterally decide its borders and defend them with the strongest security possible. . .

      SOURCE – http://web.archive.org/web/20131209232359/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Wall_%28essay%29

      P.S. JABOTINSKY IN 1923: Zionism is a colonising adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. There is no other ethic. — Vladimir/Ze’ev Jabotinsky: The Iron Wall, 1923.

  2. Ossinev
    February 16, 2017, 1:49 pm

    Along with quite a few others ( ie millions) I really don`t make any attempt to read into Trump`s off script remarks any sort of “message” or “policy” that he is trying to convey.
    It`s like having a conversation with a nine month old infant who has just discovered that if he moves his mouth and expels air adults will respond and listen.And boy does he like people listening to him.

  3. Citizen
    February 16, 2017, 5:02 pm

    What will the Palestinians make of this, and who will lead them to respond effectively? Two big clowns, hi-fiving more daily misery for an entire people on US TV.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    February 16, 2017, 6:22 pm

    RE: Education minister, head of the ‘Jewish Home’ party Naftali Bennett said after the press conference: “We’re talking about a new era. After 24 years the flag of Palestine has been lowered and taken down from the post, to be substituted by the flag of Israel.” ~ Ofir

    MY COMMENT: Now THAT is a “fashy” haircut*! Naftali Bennett is an out-and-out fascist. There are no two ways about it!

    * SEE: Does this haircut make me look like a Nazi?https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/11/30/does-this-haircut-make-me-look-like-a-nazi/?utm_term=.8356ac42e6f8

    no two ways about it
    English
    Phrase
    no two ways about it
    1. (idiomatic) No other possible action, choice or option.
    There’s no two ways about it. We’ll have to start over from the very beginning.
    2. (idiomatic) No other possible interpretation.
    SOURCE – https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/no_two_ways_about_it

    P.S. I certainly could use a big, fat, hand-rolled, Cuban cigar right now.
    Arnon?
    Oh, Arnon?
    Arnoooooooooon! ! !
    If I don’t get some “leaves” real soon, you can forget about using Israel as a tax haven! ! !
    And while you’re at it, Queen Sara can use a truck-load of “pink”!
    STAT! ! !

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 16, 2017, 6:36 pm

      P.S. ARNON: Not to mention, that you certainly wouldn’t want my boy Trump to cancel your 10 year U.S. work visa!
      Would you?
      It can be arranged! ! !

  5. JLewisDickerson
    February 16, 2017, 7:35 pm

    RE: “It was an excellent press conference, chapeau to the PM and also to President Trump. These are new tunes, first and foremost on the issue that is of utmost importance regarding our national security – the need and the recognition that Iran must be restrained. Also in the Palestinian sector [sic] we heard melodies and tunes very different to what we have heard some years ago [in recent years– Ed].” ~ Yuval Steinitz

    SPEAKING OF “NEW TUNES/MELODIES”, STEINITZ, WHY DON’T WE DO THE “HOKEY POKEY”? YEAH! GET DOWN, EVERYBODY. GET DOWN WITH YOUR BAD SELVES!!!

    It’s not too good to be alone,
    Iron sharpens iron, don’t you know?
    You lead, I’ll follow – this could all change tomorrow,
    Let me slip on through your fingers,
    Take my hand, we’re arm in arm and toe to toe,
    We’ll keep this all from being touch and go.

    So swing your partner ’round and ’round,
    Dosey the doe,
    Put one foot in and one foot out,
    Hokey the poke.

    A chord or two, or three, won’t break so easy,
    Promenade, shuffle, step ball change,
    Five, six, seven, eight, don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got it,
    Keep that swing, let’s stay together,
    It’s more easy than dancing, it’s forever,
    Let’s take another spin along the floor.

    So swing your partner ’round and ’round,
    Dosey the doe,
    Put one foot in and one foot out,
    Hokey the poke.

    So swing your partner ’round and ’round,
    Dosey the doe,
    Put one foot in and one foot out,
    Hokey the poke.

    We’ll never make this on our own,
    Two to tango or to waltz,
    Let’s have a ball and trip the light fantastic,
    Don’t you know the band is playing our song?
    So sing along – what on earth are you waiting for?
    You got to get up.

    So swing your partner ’round and ’round,
    Dosey the doe,
    Put one foot in and one foot out,
    Hokey the poke,
    So swing your partner ’round and ’round,
    Dosey the doe,
    Put one foot in and one foot out,
    Hokey the poke.

    LYRICS SOURCE – http://www.newreleasetoday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=30987

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 16, 2017, 7:45 pm

      P.S. Listen everybody, I’m so dreadfully sorry about that Hokey Pokey thing. I don’t know what the hell came over me. Perhaps it was the Pinot Grigio talking. I’m so . . .
      WAIT JUST A DAMN MINUTE ! ! !
      Pinot Grigio . . .
      Topo Gigio!
      Pinot Grigio!!
      Topo Gigio!!!
      ARE THEY RELATED???

      • JLewisDickerson
        February 16, 2017, 8:14 pm

        P.P.S. If Herr Trump gets his way, Topo and the entire Grigio family will be deported.
        LET’S IMPEACH DONALD TRUMP, NOW!
        If necessary, we should do as Brazil nefariously did!
        After all, the Republicans have already reduced the U.S. to the status of a “third world” country.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 16, 2017, 9:19 pm

        lol, no worries ;)

      • JLewisDickerson
        February 16, 2017, 9:40 pm

        RE: “The Kiss” (Topo Gigio kissing Ed Sullivan)

        MY QUESTION : Oh, dear. Was this the love that dare not speak its name? (to borrow from Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde)

      • JLewisDickerson
        February 16, 2017, 9:49 pm

        Company of Thieves – Oscar Wilde (Live From City Winery)

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 16, 2017, 10:58 pm

      P.P.P.S.
      ■ THE ORIGIN OF THE HOKEY POKEY – http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/01/hokey-pokey/

      ■ The Ambiguous Origins of the Hokey Pokey – http://mentalfloss.com/article/31063/ambiguous-origins-hokey-pokey

  6. JLewisDickerson
    February 16, 2017, 8:40 pm

    RE: It would appear, that Steinitz may be referring to Trump saying, “There’s no way a deal can be made if they’re not ready to acknowledge a very, very great and important country. And I think they’re going to be willing to do that also.” That’s strange, because the PLO already recognized Israel in treaty in 1993 (Oslo accords). So why is Trump saying ‘not ready to acknowledge’? ~ Ofir

    MY COMMENT: Oh, come on Jonathan. Let’s not mince words. It’s hardly a state secret that Donald Trump is a complete ignoranus*!

    * FOR YOU EDIFICATION:

    portmanteau
    noun
    1.
    a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.
    2.
    a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel (from ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’) or brunch (from ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’).
    “podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast”

    P.S.
    Portmanteau @ Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portmanteau

  7. Atlantaiconoclast
    February 16, 2017, 10:14 pm

    Except unlike the women Trump referred to, the Palestinians do not want their pussy grabbed.

  8. JLewisDickerson
    February 16, 2017, 10:28 pm

    RE: It’s as if he’s [Trump is] almost saying “no” with his “hold back…for a little bit”, but really, he’s saying “grab Palestine by the pussy”. ~ Ofir

    PUT ANOTHER WAY: Trump is hinting that the Israelis should spike the Palestinians’ water supply with Rohypnol and/or GHB (i.e., the date rape drugs), and have their way with them (and the U.S. will see to it that no one will be the wiser).

Leave a Reply