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Netanyahu’s challenge with Trump


On Thursday, less than 48 hours after US President Donald Trump completed his successful visit to Israel, his chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt was back in town. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set the tone for Greenblatt’s mission when he told reporters aboard Air Force One that during his visit, Trump “was putting a lot of pressure” on Prime…

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Iconoclast in the Promised Land


Israelis are greeting US President Donald Trump with cautious optimism. Their optimism stems from President Trump’s iconoclasm. Trump won the US presidential election based on a campaign of rejecting the prevailing narratives on US domestic and foreign policy that have long held sway among the elites. These narratives dictate and limit the boundaries of acceptable discourse in the US. Unfortunately,…

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Trump and Israel: Enemies of the System


The United States is sailing in uncharted waters today as the intelligence-security community wages an all-but-declared rebellion against President Donald Trump. Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein’s decision on Wednesday to appoint former FBI director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel charged with investigating allegations of “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign…

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American Greatness and the PLO


Eight years from now, China will outstrip the US as the world’s largest economy. In three years, Israeli GDP per capita will outstrip Japan’s. These two data points are useful to bear in mind as we consider the Trump administration’s sudden decision to go retro and embrace the Clinton administration’s foreign policy on Israel from the early 1990s. When then…

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The PLO’s most powerful lobbyists


In private conversations over the past week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has complained bitterly about American Jewish billionaire Ronald Lauder. According to media reports, Lauder played a key role in convincing US President Donald Trump that he can reach “the ultimate deal” with the PLO and Israel. Netanyahu is surely right that Lauder shouldn’t be acting like he knows what’s…

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Trump’s tragic mistake


By all accounts, US President Donald Trump is a friend of the Jewish state. It is due to Trump’s heartfelt support for Israel and the US-Israel alliance that his meeting Wednesday with PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House is most discouraging. By meeting with Abbas, and committing himself to working toward achieving a peace deal between Abbas and…

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Netanyahu’s bold move against Europe


On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adopted a new strategy for managing Israel’s diplomatic relations with the West. Long in the making and increasingly urgent, Israel’s new strategy is very simple. Foreign governments can either treat Israel in accordance with international diplomatic norms of behavior, or they can continue to discriminate against Israel. If they act in accordance with international…

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Agenda for the Trump-Abbas meeting


The day after Israel celebrates its 69th Independence Day, US President Donald Trump will greet PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. The date of their meeting, May 3, is notable not least for its timing. The timing of the meeting presumes a linkage between the establishment of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is not…

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Turkey and Trump’s unpredictability


According to Michael Anton, one of President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy aides, the chief characteristic of Trump’s foreign policy is unpredictability. On the surface, unpredictability is a great advantage. Keeping US enemies guessing, at least to some degree, about how the US will respond to hostile acts expands Washington’s maneuver room. But one of the consequences of Trump’s desire…

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General Mattis and the Fatah tautology


On Friday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will visit Israel as part of a tour of the region that will bring him to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Djibouti. The declared purpose of Mattis’s trip is to “reaffirm key US military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa, and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing…

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