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Who is the Boss? (and I am not referring to Bruce Springstein)

For me, Haviv Rettig Gur, The Times of Israel's senior analyst's latest opinion piece is a “Must Read”. -

It sums up concisely the challenges not only facing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his plan for annexing part of the Jordan Valley – there seems to be much confusion regarding what exactly is or is not slated for annexation, or whether in fact its “applying sovereignty”. Yes, I know its all rather semantics. But that is part of the problem, what exactly is the correct term for this proposed operation and what exactly is going to be “taken over”?

Another takeaway from the article relates to Netanyahu’s legacy. How will he be remembered by both at home and, more importantly abroad?

At home, one day, a highway, port, army base, park, maybe even a settlement or town will be named for him. Abroad, well, there will be no Nobel Peace Prize as with Rabin and Peres. So Netanyahu needs to find something significant to cement his name and his legacy. What could be better than swooping down and rolling-up parts or the whole of the Jordan Valley? People will remember 2020 as the year Netanyahu further enlarged the State of Israel.

(Maybe there was a time in the past when Benjamin Netanyahu conceived a ruling Netanyahu dynasty. Benjamin to be followed by Yair. Just maybe that is still Sara Netanyahu’s dream, I think it's dead in the water. Talking of a Netanyahu dynasty, I often wonder, as I am sure many others do, what might have been different had his brother Jonathan (Yoni) not been killed at Entebbe?)

And here is where my question seeks an answer.

Haviv Rettig Gur writes, “Trump is unquestionably a vital part of the equation ….” Netanyahu has made it clear that the “land grab” (I don’t know what to call), has the backing, approval of the US government. For the US government read, Donald J. Trump. But why? Does Trump give a flying fig for Israel, for the people of the region – Hell No!

Trump, like Netanyahu, is thinking legacy and four more years in the White House. Much has been written about Donald J., a plastic, reality TV personality who somehow won the presidency of the USA. (Say what you will about Bibi but he proved time and again that he functions under pressure, can communicate clearly and concisely his message, even if it does contain volumes of spin. Can’t say the same about Trump who appears incapable of stringing together more than a couple of sentences, and repeats himself time and again. I actually use a number of his addresses to demonstrate to my English- language students how not to abuse the English language.)

Now, maybe I had a Rip Van Winkle moment, but as far as I know, Israel has a government, a prime minister, a president, and, although some people may still harbor dreams of Israel becoming the 51st state of the Union, Israel is a democrat country. Donald J. Trump is not president of Israel. OK, so Israel, read Netanyahu, desires the blessing of the US but seeking, and receiving approval from Trump – WOW!

I don’t agree with the “land grab” although I do, reluctantly appreciate the tinking of both Gantz and Ashkenazi, and their fear of a Hamas or Hizbella (or Iranian) take over of the Palestinian Authority and their thinking that the 1967 Allon Plan could be utilized as a base for the “appropriation” of the Jordan Valley and its settlements.

Bottom-line, Trump needs Bibi to move forward with this act. Trump needs to show the right-wing conservative US Christian voters – a significant voting block for him - that he supports Israel, the Holy Land unequivocally.

So who is the Boss in this game – Bibi and his cohorts, Gatz, Ashkenazi & CO., or is Donald J. Trump, an embittered US president fighting for his legacy, calling the shots?

Time will tell.


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