There is the possibility that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is not the one who makes Israel whole and annexes Judea and Samaria. What if the answer comes from another source, another place and another person? We prayed and realized that what needs to be will be and Hashem will have his designs, desires and will completed, just not necessarily in the manner which is most straight forward. But first perhaps we should share that which we expect and then try to figure out the remainder of the puzzle.
We know that Prime Minister Netanyahu had a brief conversation with President Trump on the phone this weekend. We know the call lasted under thirty minutes and that the end result is President Trump has invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit in February in Washington D.C. We can extrapolate that one of the men, more likely President Trump, refused to talk about any plans or the “peace process” preferring to talk mano-a-mano so that Trump can take the measure of Bibi and ascertain what truths he is able to glean and judge the Israeli position on everything from there. We need to remember that President Trump prefers to take the measure of people in person and often gets it right when feeling the pulse of the other people face to face. President Trump is a people person and not likely as much prone to discuss things of an important nature with a person he has no yardstick established or any real measure of the person as to their truthfulness and the validity which can be assigned their words. President Trump can likely see a huckster from a mile away after dealing with some of the greatest showmen and women on the planet in New York real estate and other ventures around the world. Trump may not have the wealth he claims but he does have the sense for business and the ability for deal making where a deal is possible. So step one with Israel is to take a measure of Bibi and at the same time ascertain to what extent Israel has been the problem and what extent the victim.
So what is step two? Step two is taking a measure of Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab or Palestinian side of the equation. The one truth we know about Mahmoud Abbas is that he believes himself to be a slick trickster who easily plays on European ingrained anti-Semitism with great success. He hit a chord with President Obama and Obama virtually went to work for Abbas against Israel. Now Abbas is going to try and out hustle a hustler and that will be an interesting scenario. The question is not will Donald Trump see through Abbas, it is how long it will take before he sees through Abbas and his façade and lies. We doubt it will take too long as the very first item Trump will see is a simple visualization. His discussion with Bibi will be all about peace and what Israel would do for peace and little if any demands of the Arabs other than peace and recognition that Israel exists and will continue to do so. Abbas, on the other hand, will also talk of peace but will be setting goals and demands to be met in order to even sit down and talk about what other demands he can make before the world peace is permitted to even be mentioned. That is when and where Trump will see that Abbas does not desire peace, he is after a military victory through negotiations. Trump has likely run into Abbas type people throughout his childhood and has maybe been taken by a few of the first hucksters, but he has also hit the big leagues and dealt with the likes of the Reverend Sharpton and his ilk. Trump will see what is what and who is who and quickly make his reconnaissance and all which will remain is his solution. That might take up to six months to a year depending on time invested.
That brings us to step three, the deal. This will at best be a conference possibly in Abbas’s home court of Paris, France. Netanyahu will also be invited and both men will be told to bring their advisors and be ready to get the deal done. The pot may be sweetened by inviting the French President and his advisors and even invite another Abbas facilitator, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and whomever she would like to be her escort and figurehead advisor. There might even be the chance for the evil one, at least according to the New York Times, Vladimir Putin brought onboard just for that extra panache. Once the stage is set, the show can commence. By the time this confab has been arranged, The Donald will already have spoken with both of the main members of this conference, Abbas and Netanyahu, and have reached his verdict and little if anything will be capable of changing that mind. Trump will know which he believes is the honest broker and which is the huckster attempting to pull one over again. Trump may already have a fair idea and be predisposed in one direction and everything else is part of the show, we have to put on a show as how often does one get to play on a stage this grand and elaborate in front of the eyes of the world. This is a once in a lifetime appearance and President Trump will make the most of his opportunity. Do not for a minute as the conference unfolds believe it will not go exactly as President Trump desires as he is the main attraction, the master of ceremonies and the man who can deliver the goodies.
The fact that there has been talk that President Trump was thinking of assigning Jared Kushner, his Orthodox Jewish son-in-law, to be his special representative to settle the Israel-Palestinian conflict speaks volumes, both quantity and decibel level, about the direction Trump is leaning. Trump has met Netanyahu before and knows the man well enough to already have a good picture of his virtues and drawbacks. Trump probably has a line on Abbas and company as well as probably has their positions and bluster all summed up. The meetings now are to dress the bride for the ceremony, and only one of the potential bridegrooms get to go home with the prize while the other gets a bouquet which will rapidly wilt before he gets home. Could things turn around, sure, and I could become Trump’s Ambassador to Shangri-La and live forever in a garden paradise hidden away in some remote valley in the Himalayas. President Trump has been hiring some extremely high level firepower for much of his Cabinet and as personal advisors despite the brouhaha over his Secretary of Education pick, Ms. Betsy DeVos. By mentioning that he was considering appointing his Orthodox Jewish son-in-law to negotiate between the Israelis and Palestinians, he was signaling that his mind on the subject was made up and appointing what appears to be as biased a person in favor of Israel as humanly possible was just Trump’s way of signaling his direction. Discern what you may about his direction from such an obviously skewed choice.
So what remains is the set-up of the match, just like the UFC, you bring each fighter before the media, separately in this case as having them together would make for too ugly a scene and this has been choreographed to the final blow. Then you allow the media to get a feel for each side’s training camp and give everything the build-up of an impossible deal. Finally, you gather the top people, often these are Hollywood types to fill the first three rows for the UFC main event mixed in with former champions, but here it will be leaders such as we mentioned above and who you add to the list of top EU and other European officials along with Putin and possibly whoever replaces Ban Ki-moon as United Nations Secretary General and if some Arabs desire to come along, all the better. Putin will either be briefed on what to expect before he is invited to make sure he desires to be seen alongside the final deal as will a select group of others. Then there will be the three or four days of drama in the media as to whether Trump can make the deal or not, but the deal was already formulated and all but finalized beforehand and Trump is holding all the cards including, of course, the Trump Cards. When the pressure has almost peaked, as if it peaks then Abbas will spout some crazy, over the top demands and disappear showing up back in Ramallah launching the next Intifada. So, anticipating the point at which Abbas does his usual disappearing act, Trump will alert the media, close the airport and trains stations preventing anybody bolting, and the next morning the main event will take center stage, as we intimated, possibly Paris or perhaps Rome, it is beautiful there in the Spring. Trump will appear in a large press room before all the cameras and reporters with Bibi Netanyahu on one side and Abbas on the other side. Abbas will be wearing his usual “there are cameras in front of me smirk.” One can see the image below of that exact smirk which he wore when he was pictured center of the front line for the procession mourning the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher Market terror attacks. The fact that it was more a funeral than a parade is obvious from the other faces in the picture. But please never tell to Abbas such truths as that might cause laughter to accompany the smirk, especially if he knows that it was all the result of a terror attack. One need remember that terrorism is his trade coinage.
Before such an audience is where Trump would like to make his grand finale, but he also might end up settling for something far more low key if he decides to allow Abbas to bolt, thus hanging his side permanently. Walking out on Donald Trump because he would not give you all of the candy will not play well. Since Abbas is demanding the entire bowl of candy and demanding the Jews be removed so he can enjoy all of the candy from the Jordan River of chocolate to the Mediterranean Sea of Skittles, his idea of a good Israel is no Israel. That has been the Palestinian chant taught to college students and leftist protesters across Europe and North America and anywhere else pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been bought and paid for including the defining, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine must be free.” That sure leaves a whole lot to debate over, especially when it really is the only solution Abbas can accept as that is exactly what he has promised and so often that the people do not care or remember that there were possibilities that it would have to happen in stages. After President Obama and his grand schemes and promises and Abbas doing all he could to out-promise Obama, the Arabs expect they have already won. Nobody has told them there is a new sheriff in town, and he is taking names and numbers. At this point everything is conjecture but we feel pretty confident things should play out in some manner similar to what we have vaguely described above, or at least we like to think they will.
Beyond the Cusp