It was telling that President Trump unveiled his proposed Middle East peace deal alongside Benjamin Netanyahu only. Mahmoud Abbas was nowhere to be seen. It is telling also that Netanyahu was grinning from ear to ear. No wonder.
Israel, of course, yearns for peace, but this deal will never be approved by the Palestinians or accepted by the international community. Netanyahu knows it, but it conveniently provides cover for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the settlements. That is huge.
It is highly likely that British Jews who, like Netanyahu, will also like Donald Trump. They will, if anything, think this deal is generous towards the Palestinians. After all, it gives them a state for, well, behaving properly. But British Jews who would like to see a final deal that gives the Palestinians a shred of dignity will agree with the rest of the world that it is worthless.
Imagine the sell in Ramallah. “So guys, all of Jerusalem is Israeli forever, all settlements stay put with US recognition, the Jordan Valley becomes Israeli sovereign territory and we get a bit more land as long as we disarm and publicly kiss goodbye to any refugee return. Who’s in?”
Trump, who preaches the art of the deal, is like an estate agent announcing the sale of a house for a price agreed only by the vendor, on terms agreed only by the vendor. So this deal, depending on your political outlook, is either terrible or generous, and the timing, depending on your political outlook, is either astute or desperate.
Netanyahu and Trump are both fighting for survival against the apparatus of their respective states, the independence and proper functioning of which both men swore to protect.
There’s never been a better time for a distraction.