Jonathan Zausmer
Jonathan Zausmer

Peace for Dummies

This piece follows “The Trump Brief: Israel — Palestine for Dummies”. Firstly, Donald thanks for your fast response. Now that we are on first name terms and as you have asked me to move from the “what” to the “how,” attached hereto (a word used occasionally in English) follows the “how” in 600 words.

You’ve got three major players out here: Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashal. You have some emerging players: more about this later.

Netanyahu: What drives this guy? Simple, D, and you can sure relate to this: greed and fear. He loves private “gifts” (no less than NIS 100K to start with), He loves private suites on planes and he loves his luxuries. But of course, what he loves most is power. No surprises here. What does he fear? 1. Losing. 2. His wife, Sara. 3. America (you) 4. Arabs.

What we’re gonna do isn’t a bait and switch this time. We are gonna play The Apprentice, where the only real winner is you. We’re gonna flash a red flag to the bull — we’re gonna play the red herring game, otherwise known in Israel as “putting a goat in the room”.

Seeing that both losing and his wife are Netanyahu’s major fears you will need to mention as often as possible that a minor politician here by the name of Naftali Bennett, is a great guy and you love him and love his style. This will freak Netanyahu out. Why? Cos’ Bennett is draining off Netanyahu’s power base by attracting the ultra-right and because Bennett is Sara Netanyahu’s pet hate. Bennett of course is just a side show. This Bennett guy believes in some kind of neo-apartheid non-democratic entity, neither viable nor serious. While Netanyahu is focusing on Bennett as your favorite, and while Bennett is speaking to the mic about him and you being pals, you will be meeting in secret with another player: Yair Lapid. He is slated to take the next elections. You will make him your apprentice in earnest: burnish him, furnish him with the goods, finance him. The reason is that as much as you like Bibi, business is business and Bibi is going down. Believe me. Police file numbers 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 are all closing in on him, ranging from petty thievery to major corruption. He may soon be history, so you leverage what’s left of him but change your bets quietly while the odds are still good.

Mahmoud Abbas. Nice guy, mildly corrupt apparently, and very vigilant regarding his power base. He is a peace ideologue but finds himself being dragged by extremists into trashing the Israelis so he can look like a good guy with his own people. Basically, he is history. He is over 80-years-old and he has no successor. But while he is still around we need to understand what drives him. Once again, no surprises: greed and fear: Greed for recognition and status. He would love a Nobel peace prize, so you work on that. His fears are leaving the Presidency (for what it’s worth) and being remembered as an Israeli puppet. How do we manage this? Once again, we divert attention to his worst enemy, a guy by the name of Muhammed Dahlan who lives in Qatar and is trying to wrench away the Palestinian presidency from Abbas. You mention to Abbas what a lovely guy Dahlan is. Maybe send Nikki to say hello to him or something.

Now, while Netanyahu is freaking out about Bennett, and Abbas is hassling about Dahlan, you make your play. Marwan Barghouti. Major spanner in the works, major. How? I’ve given you all the tools, D, and I’m running out of words here. Send Jared across. He will figure it out.

Mashal? Forget about him. Barghouti will take Palestine by a 70% vote. The winnings will go to the house. And you, D, are the house.

About the Author
Originally from South Africa, Jonathan made aliya in the seventies, and lived and worked on a kibbutz for several years. He has a graduate degree in business from Boston University and is a managing partner of an Israeli based business. He was a co-founder of the Forum Tzora peace action group and participates in the Geneva Initiative workshops. He is the author of the book “Valley of Heaven and Earth”.
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