Monday, May 22, 2017


Arab-owned olive grove on West Bank, surrounded by 30-foot wall and fences on all sides. Via Lighthearted Locavore.
As Trump Arrives in Israel, His Deal-Making Skills Face a Test
Says the Times headline writer. A "serious test" says the teaser headline on the online front page, but I can't imagine what they think is serious about it. They're talking about the deal between Israel and the Palestinians, which has eluded generations for almost 70 years, and which he himself has called "the ultimate deal" but also insists is "frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years."

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has shown what he thinks the prospects are in the friendly gestures he's chosen to build confidence: for the Palestinians, at Trump's request, some permits to build houses on land they own in Area C of the West Bank and a temporary easing of border crossing restrictrions at the Allenby Bridge, and for the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, a three-year program to legalize unauthorized settlements and hilltop outposts. Saying to the Palestinians, in effect, this is what you'll get if you make a deal, and to the settlers, don't worry, there won't be a deal.

This was reinforced by a speech Netanyahu made at a commemoration last night for the 50th anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem. Apparently somewhat pissed off by Trump's failure to keep his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in those first 100 days, he devoted most of his speech to the discussion of how East Jerusalem wasn't occupied by Israeli armed forces in 1967, it was "liberated", adding that "the Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty" (US ambassador David Friedman was there, in the first time a US ambassador has ever joined in celebrating the occupation, alongside former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who informed the participants that "Jerusalem is one city. It is the capital of one people, and this week we all celebrate that extraordinary and amazing act of God.").

And then after all,

Or maybe they're talking about his deal with the serious press to pretend he's a functioning "leader" with a clue as to what his job is and what the issues are.

(via Hend Amry.) He's sewed that one up already.

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