Kafe Knesset for May 26

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Skepticism about Trump’s Visit: One of the major criticisms of Trump’s visit from the Israeli punditry is that it was all style, no substance. While members of the Cabinet were wowed by Trump’s warm embrace – especially compared to tensions with the previous POTUS – the newspapers and TV news were filled with people saying the whole thing was mostly meaningless and just for show. Now, a Ma’ariv poll shows that the Israeli public seems to feel the same way: 78% of Israelis think that there is no chance of a peace agreement with the Palestinians anytime soon, despite Turmp’s efforts. The results are similar looking only at the Israeli Left: Just 21% think that a peace agreement is possible. Only 17% think that the Palestinians are a partner for peace, with a similar amount (18%) saying that they don’t know, and the rest saying the Palestinians are not a partner. And only about a third of Israelis (37%) said they think there will even be talks, with 55% saying no. At the same time, more than half of Israelis (58%) favored restarting negotiations. A third opposed, and 9% didn’t know.

What does Trump want? Whether Israelis are skeptical or not, Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt is in Israel pushing something for peace. There have been different reports of what is going to happen next, and the PMO denied all of them. Channel 10 says that the US wants parts of Area C (Israeli control) in the West Bank moved to Area B (Palestinian control). Ma’ariv reported that Netanyahu is considering a plan written by MK Anat Berko (Likud) to transfer Arab neighborhoods that are in Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries but beyond the security barrier to Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, the PMO and the White House are keeping mum about what happened in Greenblatt’s meeting with Netanyahu on Thursday. Abbas also met with Greenblatt yesterday, and he talked to him about the demands of Palestinian terrorists who are on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

Adelson in the hot seat: Sheldon Adelson wasn’t just in Israel for Trump’s speech at the Israel Museum. He and his wife Miriam was interrogated by the police on Thursday in conjunction with investigations of corruption allegations against Netanyahu. The Police have said that the Adelsons are not suspects in the case. The casino magnate’s testimony was taken in connection with Case 2000 – as in, the recordings of Netanyahu and Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes plotting to weaken Yisrael Hayom and burnish Bibi’s image in its biggest competition. Of the Adelsons, Miriam is more important to the investigation, because she is said to be more involved in Yisrael Hayom’s day-to-day operations.

Bibi briefly hospitalized: If that is not enough to make Netanyahu feel sick, last night he underwent surgery to remove bladder stones. Since the PM was under general anesthesia, a substitute premier had to be appointed – this time, it was Jerusalem Minister Ze’ev Elkin. Netanyahu’s office said that he made a full recovery this morning and is back to his prime ministerial duties.

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