Despite all of the assurances that were made by the US President-elect Donald Trump to Israel throughout his presidential campaign, the Israelis are keen, as always, to ambush and control the new administration before its term starts. Among the factors that captured Israeli attention are Trump's remarks that he would never impose anything on Israeli. Israeli focus was pointed directly towards two points:
The first is that there will be no limitations on the question of settlement expansion, which had at least been held hostage under the Obama Administration. Israel seeks to annex the entirety of the West Bank. This initiative is due to the efforts of Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotoveley, and the Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, the mastermind behind the new Israeli outposts.
The second demand is to maintain bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as the foundation of any future settlement. All other platforms for negotiations must be rejected and no other parties are allowed to interfere with the negotiation process. What is being referred to here are the UN's resolutions and motions passed to address the lack of human rights for Palestinians.
The main goal from both of these demands is to erradicate the possibility of a "two-state solution" in the end and to enforce the "choice of an all-Jewish state" on all of Palestine. The Palestinian population will subsequently be treated as an Arab minority and as second-class citizens in an all-Jewish state. The exclusion of Gaza from any of these negotiations must remain a matter of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
If the yearly diplomatic Jerusalem Post conference, which is held in occupied Jerusalem every year, exposed Israel's plans to achieve more gains, then it must be said that the goal in the strategic Israeli mind is to create a new Middle Eastern regional reality in which Israel is the one in control. This vision came to light after it was highlighted that the majority of instability in the region is taking place in Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. The majority of these countries are currently driven by sectarian and tribal violence. Due to this, Israel is given the opportunity to impose this reality on the region. This is Israel's main confrontation with the Trump administration.
The disagreements that took place during the Jerusalem Post's conference serve Israel's goals because they give the Israeli government the opportunity to pounce on the opportunities to enforce strategic goals that were once impossible. This regional project is the essence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vision. He discussed achieving a solution with the Palestinians via the Arab countries. Netanyahu is placing his bets on creating an axis of moderation with a number of Arab countries and Turkey. Israel will target Iran through this axis and its discussion of a solution with the Palestinians will be made through this platform.
Yet, the interventions of the Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and Minister of Education and chair of the Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett, both emphasised the need to tame the Trump administration. Lieberman stressed the need to foster a new relationship with the Trump administration, one that would avoid the failures of its relationship with the Obama administration. By contrast, Bennett stressed the importance of moving the Trump administration away from the possibility of a two-state solution in the end.
This new direction marks the beginning of Israel's attempts to enforce a new regional reality. The Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, wants Trump and the rest of the American government to come to the conclusion that Israel is an invaluable partner in the Middle East. Israel must be viewed as the centre of regional agreements, particularly when it comes to the Iranian-Russian alliance in Syria. The goal is to prevent Iran from becoming a major source of influence in a new Syrian administration.
The question that people are asking with regards to this new direction is how any benefit can be derived from the death of the two-state solution and the emergence of all-Jewish state?
From here we must consider that Netanyahu took advice from Amos Yadlin, the head of the National Research Institute, which emphasises the need for understanding on the major points between the two countries. Among these points are: the Iranian file, with the Iranian-Syrian file at its forefront. This point is particularly important because Trump wants a good relationship with the Russians. There is also the question of the Iranian nuclear file. This is the direction and the rationale that many Israelis are thinking. The Trump administration will be direct in such a way that Israel will be able to achieve its supreme goals.
Translated from New Khaleej, 28 December 2016
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.