Regardless of the debate on Israel’s right about the pitfalls of Trump’s peace plan, the real challenge to getting it approved is the apprehension and lack of commitment by coalition partners Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi.
With nothing else to show for the Blue and White joining Netanyahu’s government, their main case for capitulating and partnering with the Prime Minister has been as they say to block the extension of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
The real question is do they have the power?
Yes and no. The Prime Minister has been known to use political opponents and allies in ways that gets the country, especially the settlement movement past dangerous moments and even expand without he himself pulling the trigger. It appears this is one of those moments.
Bibi would like to hold onto the status quo for as long as possible. He has never been a fan of half-baked final status situations for Judea and Samaria. For one reason – why give anything up. Aliyah ebbs and flows and the status quo affords the ability to always extend sovereignty in the future.
Trump’s plan, for all the good it offers is still based on the idea that there will be a final status situation. Prime Minister Netanyahu would love to be remembered for something, but not for actually handing 70% of Israel’s historic homeland over to a terrorist entity.
On one hand he cannot turn away such a “gift” of land by President Trump and on the other hand, accepting it would lock him and his rightwing allies into box that they would most certainly regret. Then, in steps Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi. Both are willing to torpedo Trump’s plan and don’t mind being blamed for it. The Prime Minister will no doubt do the blaming – essentially deflecting blame for the potential loss of recognition over 30% of Judea and Samaria to his coalition partners he never really wanted. When he is done he will throw in some token sovereignty over consensus areas like Ariel, Gush Etzion, and Maale Adumim. All of this without agreeing to a “Palestinian” State.
Bibi can claim he brought the beginnings of sovereignty in a careful manner without agreeing to give anything to the “Palestinians.” Of course this all may lead to another round of elections far sooner than even the left assumed.