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Israel, Beware the Wrath of Trump

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters have made it clear what their priority is for the new government whose terms are still yet to be finalized.

The right-wing/religious bloc has given way on a number of issues in the negotiations with Benny Gantz and the rump of the Blue and White Party he brought with him to the new coalition. But the one point on which they will not yield is annexation of part of the West Bank. And now they’ve pushed Gantz to buy into to it too.

Though annexation has always been a long-term goal of the Israeli right, the current sense of urgency they are demonstrating is a function not so much of Israeli politics but of the American election cycle.

No one, not even its authors, think the plan for the Middle East put forward earlier this year by the Trump administration will bring peace to the region. But unlike past U.S. peace plans, the Trump proposal envisioned Israel keeping 30 percent of the territory of the West Bank.

The right fears a golden chance to gain U.S. recognition of sovereignty over West Bank settlements, as well as the Jordan Valley, will be lost forever, if Trump is not re-elected this fall before Israel can act to take advantage of that provision. They know that a victory by former vice president Joe Biden, the likely Democratic Party nominee, will mean a return to the policies of President Barack Obama that will make annexation difficult if not impossible.

But the one thing that doesn’t seem to have occurred to right-wingers who are demanding annexation in exchange for the patronage given to Gantz and his cronies is whether Trump’s administration will actually favor unilateral Israeli implementation of that aspect of the scheme crafted by presidential advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner.

What many on the right........

© Haaretz