EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In his recent visit to Washington and speech to the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused his diplomatic efforts on the Iranian threat. Meanwhile, as President Trump looks for a breakthrough on the Palestinian issue, a linkage – tacitly if not explicitly expressed – has again been created between the White House’s support for Israel’s demands in the Iranian-Syrian arena and what is required of Israel in the Palestinian arena. This linkage is dangerous for Israel.
The greatest threat to Israel’s existence is neither Shiite militias on the Golan border nor the Iranian nuclear threat, which are of physical and military nature. It is instead the threat of a Palestinian state within the Clinton parameters, which would entail dividing Jerusalem and withdrawing to the 1967 lines. The Netanyahu government’s reluctance to build in key parts of Jerusalem such as Givat Hamatos, which is on the seam line between east Jerusalem and the Beit Safafa neighborhood, shows how much – despite the change in the White House – the division of Jerusalem is still seen as essential to reaching an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.
A dynamic of change
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