Netanyahu and Trump are acting like a bull in a china shop. But this behaviour is unlikely to end soon. Instead, there are reasons to suggest that both men will pursue further hysteria, madness, and extremism in the future.
In Netanyahu’s case, there are two main factors. First, is his feeling that the more he appears arrogant in the face of Israel’s “enemies,” the more he benefits in domestic popularity.
Second, is his feeling that the regional environment allows him to achieve what his predecessors couldn’t. He is seeking to get what Israel was unable to after signing the Oslo Accords, the Wadi Araba agreement and the US-led invasion of Iraq. Israel has always dreamt of becoming a dominant regional force.
Netanyahu dreams that while Trump is the US President, and while regional crises abound, he will be able to impose the solution he wants on Palestine.
So doing required engaging in a phoney political process with the Palestinians that does not change reality at all. Such engagement enables a wave of normalization with the Arab world.
He may also dream of imposing a solution on Jordan by transferring to it the West Bank’a population, but keeping the land. It will also not be in the form of a sovereign geographical area. He is thinking of leaving the Gaza Strip as a separate mini-state that can control in various ways, in coordination with Egypt.
As for Trump, he has his own story. His extremism in supporting Israel is driven by Christian right wing that sees Israel as a religious sanctity (for the return of Christ). This right wing represents the nucleus for his supporters in the US.
It is also important to add that he believes his support for Israel puts the pro-Isreal lobby on his side, or at least it remains neutral. He knows that if the lobby turns against him, he will not survive.
What both men do not realise is the fact that their behaviour reinforces their isolation. This may be costly for the United States, as the Russia and China benefit from the conflicts between Trump and his European partners.
Meanwhile, what Netanyahu fails to realize is that the Palestinians have no interest in defeat. Palestinians will not accept a solution that excludes Jerusalem, the refugees or sovereignty over all the territories occupied in 1967.
When he speaks about the Arab regimes flattering him, he does not point out that this is done in secret. No one dares (let alone those with relations in the past) to announce this publically due to its high cost.
In conclusion, we are watching two men who are floundering and exaggerating their adventures and ambitions.
Trump will not stop the US’ decline, nor will Netanyahu liquidate the Palestinian cause. They will fail.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the New Khaleej on 29 July 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.