In March 2017, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was undergoing questioning as part of the investigation into the corruption cases he was ultimately indicted for, a phone call arrived from the White House.
Netanyahu took a half-hour break to answer the call. The jury is still out as to whether the timing of U.S. President Donald Trump's call was coincidence or pre-arranged.
Just under three years later, on the eve of the second round of elections in September of last year, news outlets began reporting an imminent defense agreement was to be signed between Israel and the United States. Trump himself tweeted about it, confirming the reports.
Needless to say, nothing has happened since to advance the agreement. As far as we know, no bilateral discussions were ever held on the subject.
On Tuesday, the Knesset plenum is due to convene and vote on the establishment of the parliamentary committee that will be tasked with deciding whether to grant Netanyahu's request for immunity from prosecution for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
The prime minister has gone to great lengths to stop the Knesset from deciding on the matter, hoping the upcoming third election in less than one year will yield a majority Likud parliament that will ensure his immunity.
And lo and behold! The U.S. president has once again come to the aid of his friend and announced he would release the long-awaited Mideast peace plan on the very same Tuesday, requiring Netanyahu's presence in Washington.
Was the White House unable to find another day suitable for revealing the peace plan? Is this just a coincidence that has taken Netanyahu to Washington while his political and legal fate is being weighed by the Knesset? Perhaps. Though past experience makes one skeptical.
After Blue & White leader Benny Gantz enjoyed some success controlling the message these past weeks, making the immunity question predominate in voters' minds, Netanyahu set a trap for his opponent by arranging a visit for both leaders to the White House for the great reveal of the plan.
Had the former military chief agreed to travel with the prime minister, he would have been cast during the visit as Netanyahu's underling at best and a petty politician preoccupied with petty things like immunity, while his prime minister answers the call of history.
Gantz had fallen into Netanyahu's trap earlier in the week when he joined the rightwing call for the annexation of the Jordan Valley.
But at least on the visit to Washington, Gantz was able to show that he foresaw the prime minister's efforts to diminish him, and was able to come out ahead by arranging a separate meeting with Trump before Netanyahu's arrival.
Still, someone is missing from all the talk about Trump’s self-styled “Deal of the Century.”
The Palestinians of course.
This appears to be more a plan to make peace between right and left in Israeli politics than an effort to bring about the end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may explain why there is little interest in the Arab press and on the Arab street.
The Arabs understand this is about the Israeli elections and Trump's attempts to ensure Netanyahu's ultimate success. It is clear to all that there can be no Palestinian agreement to such a proposed plan.