That headline was too good not to steal. It’s from the NY Post (with a few modifications), which appears to dislike Trump as much as I do. As anyone knows who reads this blog, Israel doesn’t stand on ceremony. Nor does it obey diplomatic or democratic niceties like respecting the office of sitting presidents. It reminds me of the old song: “What Lola wants, Lola gets.” But of course Israel is not a desirable femme fatale in a popular song. It is a rapacious, hegemonic power seeking its own interests by hook or by crook.
Egypt has offered a perennial UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements, which have proceeded apace despite the supposed pause Bibi called during the interregnum before Trump takes office. Though of course, the government is making a big show of relocating the Amona settlers after a Supreme Court decree demanded their ouster from privately owned (and stolen) Palestinian land. By the way, the Court, ever the wilting flower in the face of Likudist will, just gave the government another 45-days to enforce its ruling. That, will bring the decision into Donald Trump’s presidency, which begins January 20th. It seems likely that Trump will, or perhaps has already told the Israelis he doesn’t care what they do in Amona or anywhere else in Palestine. It will be open settler season for Israeli expansionism.
The Security Council was scheduled to hear the resolution this week and vote on it. After the Israeli rightist government appealed to their old friends, the Americans, to veto the resolution, as they’ve done countless times before–thus covering their Israeli ass. But the response this time was different–or indifferent, to be exact. Obama refused to promise a veto. Bibi realized he was in hot water.
So he turned to a friendlier venue–Trumpland. Ron Dermer met with Trump’s inner circle and begged them to stop the resolution. He probably appealed to the Trump camp’s natural hatred of Obama, telling them that without Trump’s intervention, Obama would shame Israel on the world stage.
Trump naturally wanted to help. Keep in mind, he recently conducted secret talks with Israel’s Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen in New York. If one could be a fly on the wall, one could imagine the Israeli offered Trump evidence that might torpedo the Iran nuclear deal painstakingly constructed by the P5+1 powers. He also lobbied on behalf of the Israeli position that Syria’s Assad must be substantially weakened. Though this could come into conflict with Trump’s alliance with Vladimir Putin, who has his own interests in Syria. They spoke as well about Palestine, and likely sought and received Trump’s assurance that the U.S. will stand four-square against a two-state solution and in favor of expanded Israeli settlements. The issue of the Egyptian resolution likely was broached then as well.
In other words, they plotted a perfect future catastrophe in the Middle East. If you think the current situation is bad, wait till Trump and his Likud pals get through with it. Blood will run in the streets of multiple Arab capitals. But it will also likely run in the streets of Israel and perhaps even the U.S.
Returning to the UN debate, Trump had an ace in the hole to help his Israeli friends. An Egyptian dictator whose rule hangs by a thread after he and his cronies have stripped the state of everything worth stealing. The economy is in a shambles. Unrest is imminent. Perhaps another revolution. So al-Sisi needs a lifeline. And when Uncle Donald calls, the dictator listens to his master’s voice. Trump loves Arab strongmen like al-Sisi. Guys cut out of a similar autocratic, manly, military cloth (remember, Trump attended a private military academy at one time). That’s why one of the then-candidate’s first foreign trips after declaring his candidacy was to Egypt. You can see him in pictures with al-Sisi in the presidential palace which has, if it’s possible, more gold inlay than the Trump suite in his New York Tower. The two also met a second time in New York (see picture).
Et voilà–Egypt delays the UN vote. It’s said the delay is only temporary until the Arab League meets and there is a consultation among its member states. It’s hard to tell whether this is the end of the resolution or a temporary setback. It could be there is some backroom dickering going on between Trump and Obama about the resolution. I never underestimate the lack of will shown by Obama regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.
This is the diplomatic equivalent of crony capitalism. One strongman scratches another strongman’s back. Backs are slapped. A few billion in aid is promised. And a small problem goes away. That is, if you ignore the ongoing theft of Palestine’s patrimony by Israel and count it as insignificant.
Egypt is, as well, a tacit Israeli ally. So it’s hard to understand why it’s advancing the resolution at all. Al-Sisi is as much in debt to Israel for joining in its campaign against Sinai Islamists, as it is to Trump (though the latter has a far fatter wallet). Yossi Melman just tweeted that Egypt likely delayed the vote after Israel promised even more intelligence collaboration to stop anti-regime terror attacks in Sinai. However, in light of the bombing of the Coptic Church earlier this week, it appears this assistance will be as ineffective in stopping terrorism in Egypt as it has been in destroying the Palestinian will to resist Israeli Occupation.