In politics and diplomacy, things do not happen by accident. So it is no coincidence that on Monday Israel, on the eve of the vote that will determine the new U.S. president, said “clearly and unambiguously” that it opposes the international conference on the Middle East that France intends to organize before the end of the year in Paris.
Negotiator Yitzhak Molcho and National Security Advisor Yaakov Nagel explained to the French emissary, Pierre Vimont, that “Israel will not participate in any international conference to be convened in conflict with its positions,” that any true progress in the peace process and the achievement of an agreement could be achieved only through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority” and that “any different initiative does nothing but alienate the region from that process.”
The post-Obama period has already begun for Israel. With the dry “No” that Molcho and Nagel gave France, Prime Minister Netanyahu has sent Trump and Clinton a very clear message: He torpedoed the Paris conference and prevented a last-ditch effort by the outgoing president. For some time there have been rumors of Obama’s cold revenge for the humiliation he was inflicted by the Israeli prime minister when in March 2015 he harangued the U.S. Congress against the administration’s nuclear deal under negotiation with Iran and the constant use of the many friends of Israel at the top of the U.S. political institutions against the White House’s policy.
Netanyahu will uncork his most expensive bottle to celebrate Obama’s departure. Not that the American president has modified or restricted in any way the close strategic relations between the U.S. and Israel; actually, he has bestowed upon Tel Aviv the most generous military aid package ever granted to another country. But Obama, in his personal relationships and in various statements, made no secret of his stomach ache caused by Netanyahu’s attitudes and policies to finally demolish the idea of a Palestinian state while proclaiming at the same time to support it, starting from the never-before-seen expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“No matter who is elected, relations between the United States and Israel, which already are solid and strong, will not only remain the same but rather will be strengthened further,” Netanyahu said on Sunday with evident satisfaction. “We expect that the U.S. will continue to remain faithful to the principle that they themselves have established many years ago, namely that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved only through direct negotiations without preconditions, and obviously not by U.N. resolutions or any other international institutions,” he added, referring to a potential Obama initiative at the United Nations that Clinton or Trump will have to block or not.
Netanyahu, like a good number of Israelis (especially the settlers), and his ultrarich American ally Sheldon Adelson, is silently rooting for Trump because during the election campaign he promised more to the Jewish state, starting from the U.S. acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But he hopes Hillary Clinton’s victory will provide a more stable government than the unpredictable Trump. She also brings solid international experience, gained first in her capacity as First Lady and then as Secretary of State, and an iron-clad ally of Israel.
Clinton is also the favorite of the Palestinian Authority led by Abu Mazen. The president and his closest associates, however, have been silent in order not to lose face in front of the Palestinian population that rejects Trump and despises Clinton and the entire American class that has always stood with Israel and against international law.
“Among the President’s men prevail those who prefer Clinton because they know her and maintain political relations with her,” Analyst Ghassan al Khatib told il manifesto. “Yet the Democrats’ policy has almost always proved to be unfavorable to the Palestinians, even more than Republicans. Obama himself has promoted the disengagement of the U.S. from the Palestinian issue and the Middle East. But Trump generates too many fears because of his unpredictability and his statements against Arabs and Islam.”
According to Khatib, the Middle East, torn apart by conflict, will be in trouble whatever happens. “Should Trump win, we will see a stronger American military commitment to the region. Alternately, with Clinton, the minimal involvement of the United States will continue and this will not give any benefit to the Palestinian cause.”
The petromonarchs of the Gulf do not drink for religious reasons, but they will symbolically uncork a bottle of champagne together with Netanyahu, starting with Saudi King Salman, who is longing for Obama’s exit from the White House. They would like Trump to win, because they believe that with him as president of the United States, he will probably launch those military operations against Syria and Iran that the outgoing administration froze. They think Clinton will follow in Obama’s footsteps.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.