For the first time since Donald Trump became President, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will sit face-to-face with Trump to discuss Middle East issues. The two will meet at the White House tomorrow.
While Netanyahu proclaims that he and Trump see “eye to eye,” it is highly unlikely that Trump will give Israel everything they ask for. In fact, there are pundits (particularly in Israel, it seems) being very cautious about what to expect in the high-level meeting.
For example, The Jerusalem Post published an article entitled, Which Trump will Benjamin Netanyahu Meet on Wednesday, which said:
Since taking office, Trump has not stopped surprising Israel. During the campaign, Trump was hailed as the savior of the Right, with his advisers saying he would allow Israel to press the reset button on almost everything in the region. The Iran deal would be annulled, they said, and the peace process with the Palestinians would be reevaluated to the point that a two-state solution would be taken off the table.
That explains Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s demand that Netanyahu revoke his support for a two-state solution in his meeting with Trump. Bennett and others on the Right listened to these supporters and genuinely believed that the paradigm had shifted.
The problem is that it hasn’t.
The article goes on to point out “about faces” by Trump on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and settlements. Trump’s once strong positions on each of those seem to be withering.
Heading into these talks, there are several things to keep an eye and an ear on:
- How strongly will President Trump support Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Will the two set a united course when it comes to dealing with Iran and their vow to “wipe Israel off the map?” This is Israel’s greatest concern and America definitely needs to stand on the right side of the equation. Late last year, Newsweek indicated that Netanyahu plans to give Trump 5 alternative plans to the Iran deal. We’ll see how that goes, and whether or not the two can forge a solid plan to deal with Iran.
- Can the two world leaders come up with a way to secure Israel’s borders while still “making a deal” with the Palestinians? Trump claims to be the ultimate “deal maker,” and has brought on his son-in-law Jared Kushner (a Jew) to lead the efforts in cutting a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Frankly, I wonder if a peace deal is even remotely possible with a group (the Palestinians) who have been offered incredibly generous concessions by several Israeli Prime Ministers, only to turn them all down in favor of antagonizing Israel further. The fact of the matter is that the Palestinians seem dissatisfied with anything other than driving Jews entirely out of the land. So, can Trump and Netanyahu lay down a solid plan that works?
- What about the embassy? While on the campaign trail, Trump pledged over and over again to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and made it sound as though it would be one of the first orders of business once he reached the White House. However, threats of international turmoil have caused President Trump to put on the brakes. Will the President and Prime Minister jointly agree on what to do about the embassy and when? While I am all for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, it requires prudence right now, and it appears that Netanyahu may think there are bigger fish to fry. Perhaps that idea needs some seasoning. Perhaps Netanyahu’s insight tomorrow will provide some guidance to President Trump.
There are other important things (such preventing the war in Syria from spilling over the Israeli border) on the agenda as well. The security of Israel, and ultimately the US, are at stake. Friends, I believe we need to bathe the day in prayer as these key allies sit down to discuss critical issues.
Will you join me in a day-long prayer effort for President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Vice President Pence, members of the House and Senate, as well as Netanyahu’s entourage who will take part in various discussions tomorrow? Let’s pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit to be overwhelming, as it is only He who can bring wisdom and discernment of God’s will. Are you game? Will you pray?
Meet you at the foot of the throne tomorrow!
UPDATE: Others are writing about this too. See Joel Rosenberg’s latest.