If you heard joyous sounds on Wednesday evening, like you hear during a soccer game when an unusual goal is struck, those were the sounds of the Right. And they have a good reason to make those sounds: Not only have they managed to trap Netanyahu in their demands, now Trump has done it as well in his declarations.
After the meeting with Trump, Netanyahu will have to deal with his greatest fear—the need to decide. Up until now, he was able to say that he cannot withdraw from the two-state vision, from the settlement construction freeze, because America is against it.
Now, all the barriers have been removed. The prime minister will have to decide whether he is sticking to the vision he presented eight years ago or adopting Naftali Bennett’s plan for the annexation of Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu is a much more intelligent, experienced and sensible than Trump. He knows how the world will respond if he decides to implement what the American president is allowing him to implement.
What will he say now to all those who want to build, annex, keep controlling the Palestinians? Trump singlehandedly pulled the rug of excuses from under his feet.
There was a reason why Netanyahu tried to lower expectations among his ministers, those who demanded that he seize the historical opportunity. It’s no coincidence that his comments at the cabinet meeting, that Trump must not be confronted because of his character and complexity, were leaked.
I suggest that we remember that even during these euphoric days. Even if the visit was successful, it’s all in the short run. Trump is a total mystery, an unpredictable person, and there is no way of knowing what his stance will be tomorrow. The weeks that have passed since he entered the White House have only confirmed all the fears, that the man arrived completely unprepared.
Netanyahu is now in a situation of “damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” He may suffer from any choice he makes. The American reception was a dream that even he didn’t dream of. The way Trump waited for him at the entrance to the White House. The way he spoke to him and about him at the press conference. The way he treated Sara, telling her to stand up so that everyone would applaud her.
There is no champagne which can provide that same feeling of euphoria. In the report Trump received about the investigations against Netanyahu, there was likely a special chapter about Mrs. Netanyahu. Trump doesn’t even treat his own wife with such nobility.
But real life is not at the Blair House in Washington, crowding alongside the aggressive Trump and the beautiful Melania. Life itself is here. And here, he has the right-wing camp waiting for him, and it will demand that he seizes the opportunity he was given in full.
Netanyahu will discover that it’s all in his hands. Trump won’t life a finger. He won’t push for a solution and won’t force Israel to reach an agreement. He has enough urgent matters on the agenda.
What Netanyahu will have to do is the exact thing he doesn’t know how to do.