Right-wing politicians in Israel are urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to use his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump to establish new, hardline parameters for a possible ‘peace’ agreement with the Palestinians – the most extreme of which is the discarding of the two-state solution.
The February 15th meeting, marking the first official parlay between the two world leaders, is seen as a watershed moment by the right wing, which believes Trump’s administration will be much more lenient – and possibly even permissive – on the issue of Israel’s so-called “settlements” in Judea and Samaria.
In a Saturday night Facebook post, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home Party, wrote that the meeting would determine Israeli-Palestinian policy for years to come.
It will be “the test of Netanyahu’s life” and legacy, he asserted.
Should Netanyahu and Trump emerge from the meeting using language promoting the creation of a Palestinian state, “The earth will shake,” Bennett warned, predicting disastrous consequences for Israel.
“International pressure, boycotts, reports against Israel, missiles, freezes, tying the hands of our soldiers in the fight against terrorism – all this will continue and intensify.”
Right-wingers urge the move in concert with the Republican party’s platform, which does not call for a two-state solution.
“The Republicans took Palestinian statehood off their platform, there’s no reason that a right-wing Israeli government should outflank it from the left,” argued Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also from the Jewish Home party, on Sunday morning.
Netanyahu’s own party, Likud, is encouraging the premiere to make a push for annexation of Judea and Samaria.
However, Netanyahu has told his government to stay calm, dampening the excitement felt by the right-wing for what they feel is a huge opportunity under President Trump.
“I understand that there is great excitement in advance of this meeting, driven by various motivations. But I only have one motivation: My utmost consideration is to ensure Israel’s security and strengthen our relationship with the United States as well as the joint interests that stand behind it,” Netanyahu stated during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
While he acknowledged that the relationship between the US and Israel would certainly be warmer under Trump than it had been under former President Barack Obama, he cautioned that Israel must maintain clear-headed dealing with its closest ally.
“After eight years of complicated maneuvering in the Obama era, we need to continue to act judiciously during the Trump era,” he told Likud ministers before the cabinet meeting, Haaretz reported.
He also warned that though Trump is expected to be a pro-Israel leader, “To think that there are no limits with Trump is a mistake.”