If there’s any consensus to emerge from the political chaos in Israel, it’s that the Trump peace plan will get kicked down the road again for months, right into the U.S. election season, so it may disappear entirely. Several Israel observers say the plan is over.
Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum, on twitter:
[T]he Trump peace plan – which I’ve been arguing was not going to see the light of day anyway – is now dead and buried. Bibi doesn’t want it anywhere near his campaign, and by September it becomes an electoral liability for Trump too
Former negotiator Aaron David Miller agrees, also on twitter:
There are only two positive aspects to the absurd spectacle of Israel — 7 weeks after holding elections -going to new ones: first there will be no immunity law or effort to undermine Israel’s Supreme Court; and second, if he’s smart, Kushner will shelve his peace plan.
David Makovsky, US Israel supporter/pundit, doesn’t go that far, but close:
The re-do election in Israel both good/not good news for
@realDonaldTrump peace plan.Good short-term: creates public rationale why not present political aspects of plan now —amid intl skepticism. Bad news:out of sync. No govt in Israel until end of Oct. as US 2020 cycle heats up.
Update: Asked about the deal of the century, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told Israeli Reshet Bet radio program, “Now it is the deal of the next century.”
Ayman Odeh, a leader of the Hadash Ta’al Palestinian party, said he had voted in the majority to dissolve the Knesset last night, thereby bringing about the new election, specifically to defy the Trump plan. From The Washington Post:
Ayman Odeh… said that allowing Netanyahu to continue to pursue the deal was not the right thing to do.
“The correct position is to shorten the political life of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Odeh said.
But some Israeli political analysts say that Netanyahu also does not want to see the plan rolled out. Even if it is immediately rejected by the Palestinians, it could raise questions on issues such as annexation for which there is an array of opinions among Israelis.
“It’s death for the peace plan,” said Gil Hoffman, a political columnist for the Jerusalem Post, referring to Netanyahu’s failure to form a government and new elections.
[Back to original post] Jewish Insider quotes insiders saying that Trump’s Bahrain economic conference — aimed at buying out the Palestinians, who won’t go near it — will go forward in June, but that the peace plan may be on ice. “Maybe permanently,” says Daniel Shapiro former ambassador to Israel. “Netanyahu didn’t want it before the April elections, and won’t want it before September’s. You can’t present it during coalition negotiations, so now you’re in November. Then Trump’s reelection politics become a factor.” Shapiro says here that the peace plan is now on ice for the year.
Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum warns that Trump will be even more present in the next Israeli campaign:
[T]he fact that we won’t see a Trump initiative doesn’t mean that we won’t see Trump in this election. He is going to go balls to the wall for Netanyahu in ways that will make the joint billboards look innocuous
Aaron David Miller concurs:
If you think Trump intervened in the run-up to the April 9 Israeli elections to help Netanyahu, buckle your seat belts. You ain’t seen nothing yet. It started with today’s announcement that Bolton and the Israeli and Russian NSAs will meet next month in Jerusalem.
That was the announcement yesterday from the White House Press Secretary of a meeting of US, Russian, and Israeli National Security advisers in Jerusalem next month. Netanyahu took credit for this idea, yet another appeal to his constituents to give him a fifth term.
Netanyahu also says that he and Trump have a lot to do yet: strengthening the settlement project. He means Trump will support annexation.
But Netanyahu is wounded, many say. Koplow: “he has been wounded and looks less competent and invincible now.” J Street is hopeful that this is the end of Netanyahu:
“[H]is failure to form a coalition will be viewed as a political humiliation and a major blow to his credibility and future. It looks like Netanyahu will be seriously weakened heading into the next election.”
Koplow says even Netanyahu’s negotiations with the religious parties may come to hurt him. And that Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, who missed the threshhold to enter the Knesset in the April elections, are now revived. He writes that Netanyahu fatigue may set in among voters and his own Likud Kulanu coalition may turn on him and cashier him.
Going to elections again for no obvious reason is also going to give Israelis a new sense of Netanyahu fatigue, and it may also create a measure of resentment over a perception that Israel is broken in an unprecedented way. I also expect for some of the cracks in Likud to become fissures, and for the behind the scenes grumbling about Netanyahu to emerge more openly now that the aura of inevitable invincibility that he like to project has been pierced.
The left should not be optimistic. The obvious majoritarian solution to the problem is: the Blue and White opposition Jewish party forms a governing bloc post September election with a Netanyahu-less Likud, the secure (Jewish) majority that Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid wanted before.
Yossi Alpher of Peace Now has said that in another election, Labor and Meretz could lose seats to the secular rightwing of Lieberman, given Lieberman’s opposition to exemption from military service for the religious.
Liberman, the secular ultra-nationalist, is also seemingly turning this confrontation into a struggle to preserve, or maintain, or rescue secular Israel. That’s a popular stand with many Israelis. If new elections were held today, and despite Liberman’s thuggishness and anti-Arab racism, he might double his five mandates at the expense of Meretz and Blue-White.
Or…. is it the beginning of a new era…a fresh start; a new dawn where rationality and enlightenment will rule the land. Uh Huh
Here’s Netanyahu saying that Avigdor Lieberman, who brought about the crisis by refusing to sign on to a coalition, is a member of the “left.” Lieberman has slammed Netanyahu’s government because it isn’t harsh enough on Gaza protests, he lives in an illegal settlement and has called for the transfer of some Palestinian citizens of Israel as well as for loyalty oaths to the state. (Scott Roth comments that the Netanyahu outburst is not funny, it is a “symptom” of a deeply troubled system.)
Alpher despairs for the Jewish state.
The system may have become too corrupted. The creeping ultra-nationalism and ultra-religiosity launched upon Israel by the conquest of the Temple Mount and the West Bank 52 years ago may overwhelm us. Trump and Twitter are on the side of the extremists.