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Trump will greenlight West Bank annexation to force Israeli pols to keep Netanyahu as PM, observers say

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There has been a lot of speculation lately about a grand bargain between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu as the Israeli elections approach. The theory goes that Trump will wade into Israeli politics to try and give the embattled Netanyahu another term as P.M. (and stay out of jail), but Trump will demand something from Netanyahu– Laying down for Trump to negotiate with arch-enemy Iran.

Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum describes the possible deal. After the Israeli election Sept. 17, Trump announces a “peace plan” in which Israel gets to annex the illegally-occupied West Bank. The plan lands just as the horsetrading is going on between potential Israeli governing coalitions. Netanyahu then puts pressure on the centrists who have vowed to oust him to accept his staying on as P.M. because Netanyahu has such a good relationship to Trump — thereby pushing aside Netanyahu’s pending indictment on corruption charges.

In return, Trump gets to negotiate with Iran– presumably for a version of the Obama deal — without Netanyahu submarining the deal, as he has done before. Koplow speculates:

[Indications are] the White House… is planning on releasing a peace plan during coalition negotiations – which is the way to avoid charges of trying to influence the outcome of the election itself – and having in that peace plan components that will help Netanyahu form a government; namely, American cover for Israel to proceed with unilateral annexation. Should the election result in another deadlock and this scenario with a Trump peace initiative plays out, Netanyahu will point to the unprecedented concession that he has gotten from the U.S. – something far beyond the Bush-Sharon letter [of 2004], which effectively conceded future Israeli sovereignty over settlement blocs but only in the context of a negotiated peace agreement – and argue that none of this would have happened absent his leadership and the relationship that he has cultivated with Trump. When portrayed as a historic opportunity to apply sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that may never again present itself, and which depends on Netanyahu in order to see it through, it will be difficult for Kachol Lavan to remain insistent that it will only join a unity government that does not include Netanyahu.

Kahol Lavan, or Blue and White, is the chief rival to Netanyahu’s Likud. Both parties poll at about 30 seats (out of 120 in the Israeli parliament) and were deadlocked after the April election, with neither side able to form a majority coalition. Kahol Lavan has said it would only make a “unity” government with Likud if Netanyahu goes, because of the pending indictment. But Netanyahu’s campaign has been his claim that he’s in “Another League,” and highlighted his relationships with Trump and Putin.

Jewish Insider offered a similar theory yesterday, quoting Efraim Sneh, a former Defense official in Israel who opposes annexation.

“There is a danger” that the Trump administration may announce its support for Israel annexing parts of the West Bank “to compensate” for a possible “rapprochement with Iran,” Sneh said in a phone interview.

This administration will do everything needed to help Netanyahu win. There’s a very strong alliance between the close circle of Trump and the close circle of Netanyahu…

That strong alliance of course includes Sheldon Adelson, who funds both politicians, and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose rightwing Zionist family is close to Netanyahu.

Koplow notes the Iran piece of the grand bargain:

As Trump has made his desire to negotiate with the Iranian regime increasingly clear, Netanyahu and Israeli officials have made their concern over this outcome just as clear. While it is difficult to imagine Netanyahu publicly confronting Trump on anything, Netanyahu has made great political hay over the past four years of his willingness to stand up to President Obama over this precise issue, and forsaking the same principle when it comes to Trump will create a real credibility problem for the prime minister. A peace initiative that enables Netanyahu to remain prime minister by allowing him to take credit for American acquiescence to West Bank annexation or application of Israeli sovereignty over settlements is the most valuable chip that Trump is able to cash in if seeking to forestall a Netanyahu response to a future Iran policy that looks awfully similar to Obama’s.

If Trump does indeed sit down across from the Iranians and ends up negotiating a deal that is in any way short of the complete destruction of Iran’s entire nuclear program and existing capacity, the one source of opposition that he will have to worry about the most will be Israel. Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative may turn out to be the best answer to this problem, putting immense pressure on Netanyahu to choose another term as prime minister….

Meanwhile, there has been wide speculation that Israel’s aggression across the region in recent days is Netanyahu’s effort to put the kibosh on US talks with Iran. Sina Toossi at Lobelog:

The Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in recent days launched a series of military strikes across the Middle East. The scope of the attacks itself represents a new escalation for Israel, bombing not just regional allies of Iran in Syria but also targets in Lebanon and deep inside Iraq. Notably, the attacks are simultaneous with new diplomatic momentum between the U.S. and Iran and talk of a potential meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Trump…

A new conflagration involving Israel and Iran and its regional allies would tank prospects for U.S.-Iran negotiations and entangle the U.S. in the region for years to come. Some figures in the Trump administration recognize this, with U.S. officials recently telling the New York Times that “Israel is responsible for the strikes” in Iraq and was “pushing the limits.” Indeed, America’s client states cannot be allowed to determine U.S. policy towards the region.

So to be clear: Iraqis die, Syrians die, Palestinians suffer, so that the major powers, in this case the U.S. and Israel, figure out their politics. The great game, as the Brits used to call it.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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10 Responses

  1. Kay24 on August 30, 2019, 5:40 am

    It is predictable. Trump gave Crooked Bibi Jerusalem and the Golan Heights the last time.
    Israeli voters will buy it again.

    • Misterioso on August 30, 2019, 10:27 am


      But, apart from a few minor financially dependent countries, e.g., Honduras, Guatemala and Nauru, the rest of the world has not bought it.

  2. James Canning on August 30, 2019, 5:50 pm

    Will Donald Trump tell us what is to be done with the maybe 3 million non-Jews living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank?

  3. Brewer on August 31, 2019, 3:14 am

    The “Great Game” is never over.
    The speculations above are just so much fiddling while the West burns.
    The game is changing markedly however. Formerly “Great” Britain has descended into farce with an un-elected poltroon for Prime Minister suspending the mother of all parliaments.
    Buffoon in chief of the once United States walks a populist tightrope, averting his eyes from the growing anti-war, anti fascist-Israel sentiment and mushrooming awareness of the thrall that immoral country has held over U.S. politicians.
    Meanwhile, alliances have been formed. New financial arrangements made. The City of London and Wall Street no longer command the deals.
    China and Russia have real power now and anyone with an open eye can see the end is nigh for U.S. hegemony, the skirt from behind which Israel has acted with barbaric impunity.
    Iran and Syria have made their choice. Ever so gradually, the noose around Israel is tightening.

    • Brewer on August 31, 2019, 3:33 pm

      “The battle to reclaim Syria moved forward this week. Syrian Arab Army forces reclaimed the town of Khan Sheikoun last week prompting a flurry of moves by all involved, most notably Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

      Erdogan was in Moscow this week sharing an ice cream cone with Vladimir Putin and cutting deals. The first part of that deal went into effect today; a ceasefire in the de-escalation zone in Idlib province.

      If the battle is won, in essence, and the jihadists on the run, why call a ceasefire now?

      Simple. Turkey needs to be able to recall its troops from the area and disengage with the rebels it has been backing there for years. That was what Erdogan bargained for in Moscow, the lives of his troops.

      That should tell you how serious Putin is about retaking Idlib and how little patience he has now for Erdogan’s nonsense.

      As Bernard from Moon of Alabama points out the proof of this is Turkey blocking the rebels’ escape from Idlib back into Turkey.

      Today about a thousand ‘rebels’ tried to cross through the Al-Bab border station into Turkey. Videos show a long line of cars of fleeing people. At the front several hundred men managed to enter Turkish ground. They were pushed back by Turkish army forces with water cannon trucks, tear gas and finally with gunfire. At least two ‘rebels’ were killed.

      People shouted “Traitor traitor traitor, Turkish army is traitor”. They burned pictures of Erdogan while screaming takbir and allahu akbar.

      Putin has been very clear about his policy from the beginning. Terrorists are to be wiped out. They are not to be allowed to escape and regroup to show up and cause trouble somewhere else.

      The implicit message here is that Erdogan cannot do the U.S.’s bidding on this. He must withdraw support from them and leave them to hang.

      If the U.S. and Israel want these guys kept alive then they should stop acting through Turkey’s proxy. ”

      • Brewer on September 1, 2019, 2:02 am

        “The New World Order is in its death throes

        What these events have in common is that they amount to an admission that the globalist New World Order project in its present form is dead, or at least in its death throes. It has bumped its head against an impenetrable Sino-Russian wall of resistance. The heated totalitarian propaganda against Russia since 2001 (when the NWO realized that Putin wasn’t their man); regime change and color revolutions in neighboring countries; attempts at Maidan style coups in Moscow; and finally the sanctions since 2014 were key to the Anglo-Zionist empires strategy. They needed to take over either China or Russia to gain absolute world hegemony. Taking over either one, they would have checkmated the remaining one, and after that the entire world. They rightly deemed Russia as the weaker piece and went all out in that direction. The NWO wanted to take advantage of Russia’s weakness in form of its Western minded comprador class and a shell-shocked liberal intelligentsia (dominating media, culture and business, just like in Hong Kong, BTW), which is constitutional uncapable of thinking with their own brains to liberate themselves from Soviet era stereotypes (“Soviet Union/Russia bad, West good”).

        They then figured that economic and cultural sanctions (e.g. Olympic ban) coupled with doubling down on the propaganda would break the country. Luckily, the Russian narod, the common people saw through it all and would not play along with the enemy. At the same time, Russia paraded its resurrected military in Crimea and Syria as well as its formidable new hypersonic doomsday weapons. The military option to take over Russia was not in the cards any longer……..
        …….These facts have now finally dawned on certain key stakeholders of the globalist regime can be discerned from the fact that they have tasked their handpicked puppet president Macron to make up with Russia. Trump has got the same assignment, which is evident from the siren calls of the two leaders in Putin’s address. Both want to invite Putin to their future G7-8 get-togethers.

        As it was said, Macron went as far as unilaterally capitulating and declaring the decline of the West. He went on to spell out that the reason for this spectacular geopolitical about-face was the rise of the Beijing – Moscow (de facto) alliance that has caused a terminal shift on the world scene. Curiously, he also openly blamed the errors of the United States for the dire state of affairs pointing out that “not just the current administration” were to be blamed. No doubt, the foremost of these errors, Macron had in mind, was the alienation of Russia and pushing the country into the warm embrace of China. It is quite clear, that this is what they want to remedy, snatch the bear back from the dragon. Fortunately, that won’t happen. Good if there will be rapprochement and good if the West will try, but after all what Russia has learnt by now it will not sell out on China under any circumstances. I think Putin and the Russian powers that be have clearly opted for a multipolar world order. That is definitely not what Macron’s and Trump’s employers have in mind but let them try.

        Until Trump took office, the strategy of the US regime had been to pursue only Russia in its geopolitical ambitions, but by then it had dawned on them that Russia was invincible especially in the de facto alliance with China. In a sign of desperation, the empire then opened big time another front with China. Essentially going from bad to worse.

        The world order is being shaken like never before

        “The world order is being shaken like never before…”, that’s another quote from Macron.”

        A long but interesting read:

  4. Elisabeth on August 31, 2019, 6:16 am

    So the Iran deal can be revived, and in exchange annexation of the West Bank becomes official? Not a bad thing, as the distraction of the ‘two state solution’ will be out of the way, and the struggle will necessarily focus on eliminating the apartheid system.

  5. Ossinev on August 31, 2019, 7:11 am

    @James Canning
    “Will Donald Trump tell us what is to be done with the maybe 3 million non-Jews living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank?”

    Perhaps he has been cooking up some sort of ” Madagascar Plan” with the Yahoo. Greenland ?

  6. JWalters on August 31, 2019, 7:26 pm

    A new proposed “mutual” defense treaty would obligate the US to come to Israel’s defense if Iran were to retaliate after an attack by Israel.
    “Lindsey Graham’s blank check to Israel”

  7. HarryLaw on September 2, 2019, 5:34 pm

    Iran will not negotiate a new agreement with the US while sanctions are in place, why should Iran talk to the US under duress? Also, whereas Iran could give assurances about extending the nuclear deal since they do not want nuclear weapons in any case, they most certainly will not curtail their conventional missile program or their relationships with their neighbors, in which case Trump will not succeed with this ploy. “The US has insisted the nuclear deal can only be revived if Iran renegotiates the terms of the accord, gives wider undertakings about ending its “regional aggression” and curtails its ballistic missile program”.

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