The speeches by President Donald Trump and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at their White House summit last week were full of the usual obsequious flattery, empty promises, unjustified optimism and empty rhetoric. You could truthfully call it fake news. It all sounded wonderful, optimistic and carefully choreographed.
There was the usual ambitious bombast but it was meaningless because each knew nothing would come of it. However, neither they nor Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can afford to say so. The overriding interest – ambition – of all three is to avoid being blamed for the inevitable failure.
It will fail because neither Netanyahu nor Abbas wants it to succeed and Trump doesn’t have the attention span, zitz fleisch (patience) and commitment needed even in the best of circumstances.
What’s important though, is what they didn’t say.
Although it has been the policy of the three previous administrations, Trump didn’t mention the two-state solution, which his pal Bibi has drawn away from (if he ever really was there), and Abbas didn’t mention that one of the two states he spoke about would be Jewish.
I don’t know what was said in private, but publicly Trump never once mentioned Israeli settlements, Jerusalem or Palestinian statehood, and Abbas didn’t acknowledge historic Jewish ties to the land.
And there are some other the words Trump won’t say.
He will not announce that he is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv when he goes to Israel later this month. He’ll say he wants to and intends to do it – as have several presidents before him – but it’s not happening now because it would undermine his larger goal to enhance cooperation with the Arabs on fighting terrorism and containing Iran – the top priorities for his trip to the region — and could incite Palestinian violence.
Instead Trump will speak of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital but don’t look for him to use adjectives like “undivided” or “indivisible” for the same reasons.
That’s also why Trump turned down an Israeli request to delay his visit until early June to coincide with the celebration of the Six Day War victory and the reunification of the Israeli capital.
None of that will keep Trump’s visit to Israel from being a love-in led by his fellow Republican, Bibi, who is not a religious man but will be praying fervently that Trump will get over this peace bubbehmysis and focus on fighting ISIS and Iran.