Kafe Knesset Feb. 16

Immediately following the White House visit, Netanyahu summoned the press to the Blair House for a briefing. He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, and that was the main takeaway as Netanyahu didn’t provide much details regarding the understandings achieved in the meeting but was very generous in complimenting the President and stressing their new bromance. “I have met, during my life, quite a few presidents, and we never had a greater friend to Israel than President Trump,” Netanyahu said while praising the “warm welcome to me and my wife. They went out of their way to demonstrate this friendship.” The President certainly did his homework on the Netanyahus, as was evident when he called on Sara Netanyahu to stand up during the press conference…

Meanwhile, back in Israel the reaction included mixed feelings and various interpretations about exactly what Trump meant. For Naftali Bennet, the fact that the term ‘Palestinian state’ was not mentioned is considered a great victory, though it is not clear how satisfied he will be with the fact that Bibi and Trump agreed to discuss curbing settlement activity. Meanwhile, Bennett reacted as if it’s the the dawn of a new era, ignoring the inconvenient questions. “Today the Palestinian flag was replaced by the Israeli flag. Palestinians already have two states: Gaza and Jordan. There is no need for a third one. I congratulate the Prime Minister for making the right decision, demonstrating leadership and boldness and strengthening Israel’s security and sovereignty.”

When Netanyahu comes home and tells Bennet his sovereignty dreams need to be put on hold, he will likely be less generous. On the other side, opposition leader Isaac Herzog said “It was a sad and shameful to see Netanyahu twisting and winding only to avoid the idea of separation from the Palestinians in the form of two states. Every Israeli should be very worried about the possible one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, which means there is no Jewish state. This could be a dangerous disaster and we will fight it in every way possible.”

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