Things have become more confusing than ever in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to put together a coalition government and has called for new elections. Now, The Times of Israel comments on the still-awaited Middle East peace plan that was supposed to be unveiled in the coming days, but may once again be put on hold.
The key planned event is an improvised summit to take place in Bahrain later in June with the purpose of establishing the grounds of future development in the harmonious environment promised by Jared Kushner’s “deal of the century.” The Palestinians have refused to participate, deeming the conference — led by Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, two declared American Zionists — to be biased in favor of Israel. Jordan has yet to declare its intentions, finding itself in a difficult position, described by The Times of Israel in these terms: “Reliant on American political and military support, it will be difficult for Jordan to reject the invitation.”
Here is today’s 3D definition:
A polite term used in politics and the media to signify utterly and slavishly dependent on
The Washington Examiner draws the obvious conclusion that adds to the already laughable status of the Kushner peace plan: “President [Donald] Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, might have to shelve his long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace due to a dispute in Jerusalem that’s put Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future at stake.”
Why The Examiner would call an inconclusive election a “dispute” leaves us wondering about what message it intends to convey. But so does this sentence: “Kushner has kept his peace plan under wraps to avoid complicating those negotiations.” This makes it sound like some sort of subtle strategy guided by prudence and careful planning. Yet most observers have understood that the reason for concealing the terms of the plan from those most concerned — the Palestinians and their sympathizers — was the wild, unrealistic hope of achieving a fait accompli.
Clearly, the Trump administration has been working for more than two years to ensure enough support from other Arab nations, beyond the captive voices of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to cow the Palestinians into accepting the unacceptable. Rather than describing that as avoiding “complicating the negotiations,” it should be termed, “bullying into submission”. This in fact seems to be the basis of Trump’s foreign policy, wherever it is applied.
Reuters now informs us that, “White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the Palestinians deserve ‘self-determination,’ but … expressed uncertainty over their ability to govern themselves.” He didn’t specify whether it was their ethnicity or their religion that prevented them from assuming the kind of responsibilities only white, Western Judeo-Christian people are capable of. One can draw one’s own conclusions, but clearly the Trump administration believes that self-governing Arab nations should either be absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia) or military dictatorships (Egypt).
Netanyahu wants everyone to believe that the uncertainty of his continued leadership of Israel leaves him undeterred and all will carry on as planned. “I’m tremendously encouraged by how the United States, under President Trump, is working to bring allies together in this region against common challenges, but also to seize common opportunities,” Netanyahu said.
But events have taken a major historical turn, which the prime minister has been forced to admit, as he raises the stakes in what has become a game of bluff. Presenting a map of Israel signed by Trump that includes the Golan Heights, Netanyahu invoked the march of history when he announced: “This map has not been update [sic] since the Six Day War,” and then added, “Well it has been updated, it just got an update … That is to say, there are very important developments here.”
Netanyahu believes that, assisted by President Trump, he is in control of history. This is at the very moment when, as The Guardian points out, former ally Avigdor Lieberman has sabotaged the coalition process that would have allowed the prime minister to continue to govern, which “has not only severely weakened Netanyahu but also cast fresh doubt on the Trump administration’s faltering plans for a ‘deal of the century’ to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Netanyahu now refers to Lieberman as “a serial saboteur of right-wing governments,” even though Lieberman himself, a super-hawk, has a reputation of being more right-wing than the prime minister, politically if not religiously, since he has taken a secular stand against the ultra-Orthodox.
The Trump administration appears to be in a state of benighted confusion over its peace plan. As The New York Times reports: “A senior administration official said only that the plan would be presented when the ‘timing is right.’ But that timing has grown increasingly problematic. Any new Israeli coalition probably would not be formed until at least October, which would delay the announcement of a Trump plan until November, uncomfortably close to the first primaries of the 2020 election in the United States.”
Though many consider it indelicate to admit it, Israeli politics depends absolutely on US politics, while US politics in the Middle East seems to depend entirely on Israel and Saudi Arabia’s needs.
The Guardian mentions that the peace plan still referred to as the deal of the century “was satirised on Thursday as the ‘deal of the next century’” by Saeb Erekat of the Palestine Liberation Organization. This is a satirical point we made in The Daily Devil’s Dictionary back in September 2018, when we presciently wrote: “For his ‘deal of the century’ in the Middle East, Trump forgot to tell us in which century it would be revealed.” Some may forget that even nine months ago, the faux suspense had already become tragi-comic.
*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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