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Trump may kill Netanyahu with kindness

By       Message Jonathan Cook       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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While the United States presidential election bitterly divided the American public, most Israelis were sanguine about the race. Both candidates -- Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton -- were keen to end eight years of icy mistrust between Barack Obama, the outgoing president, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli prime minister should -- at least on paper -- be happier with Trump.

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Netanyahu, elected four times, has always faced off with Democratic incumbents. Now he has not only a right-wing Republican in the White House but a Republican-dominated Congress too.

Standing guard over the relationship will be Sheldon Adelson, a US casino magnate who is Netanyahu's most vocal supporter. It will not be lost on Trump that the billionaire is one of the Republican Party's main financiers.

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Netanyahu was among the first to congratulate Trump by phone. The US president-elect reciprocated by inviting him for talks "at the first opportunity." And yet Netanyahu is reported to be anxious about a Trump White House. Why?

It is certainly not because of Trump's stated policies on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

He has backed moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem -- a move that, if implemented, would make the US the first western state to recognize the city as Israel's capital. It would effectively rubber-stamp Israel's illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, the expected capital of a Palestinian state.

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Previous Republican candidates have made the same promise, but Trump looks like the first who might carry it through. A nervous Palestinian leadership warned at the weekend they would "make life miserable" for him if he did.

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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)
 

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