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Trump and Netanyahu bromance

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They seemed, at times, to be on the verge of holding hands, reported Sky News.

The bromance was so warm between the Israeli Prime Minister and the US President they were almost coy.

And they could have signalled an important new moment for hope for ending the intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation.

The warmth between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu could have been used by the Israeli Prime Minister to lure the right wing of his ruling coalition away from attitudes to the Palestinians many believe make peace a distant fantasy.

To create the space for a return to talks.

But, instead, Trump abandoned decades of internationally agreed principle that both nations, the Jews and the Palestinians, deserve to live in peace and dignity in their own independent territory - unmolested by their neighbours.

And that such a 'two state solution' was the only hope for a long-term and lasting settlement.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like," he said.

"I can live with either one. I thought for a while it looked like the two-state, looked like it may be the easier of the two, but honestly if Bibi and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best," the US president added.

Already Saeb Erekat, one of the longest-serving Palestinian negotiators, condemned any talk of abandoning the idea of a Palestinian state.

Sensing that the argument in Washington was going his way, Netanyahu pushed home with a new first principle for opening talks which, in the recent past, had been up for negotiation.

"There are two prerequisites for peace. First the Palestinians must recognise the Jewish state ... Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River," he said.

Military control of all of the territory west of the Jordan would mean that a Palestinian state would have no sovereignty over its borders.

Limited Israeli control, as a consequence of a recognised need for self-defence in a very dangerous neighbourhood, has long been accepted as inevitable by Palestinian negotiators (not that they would admit it in public).

But total Israeli military dominance would look like continued occupation.

So, in one pre-meeting press conference, the US president swept away decades of international principle, and the Israeli Prime Minister snuck in a new condition for talks to even occur.

But for the first time in many years this was a moment of truth that emerged in the never-ending "peace process".

What Trump and Netanyahu were signalling is what diplomats, many Palestinians, and Israelis believe (whatever their previous hopes).

And that is that it is simply a basic truth that the two-state solution is dead and buried under the concrete of illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank, and cemented by the inefficiency, cowardice and corruption of Palestinians leaders bereft of alternative ideas and separated from their constituents by mountains of foreign aid money.

Fine. But the two leaders offered no clues as to what terrific new ideas they had, merely hints that they were "big".

They had better be - if not there will be blood.


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