President of the United States Donald Trump has arrived in Israel on the second stop of his first international trip. He was welcomed with great ceremony by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a host of dignitaries, and a guard of honor. Israelis are looking forward to the president’s visit with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.

Trump is Israel’s new best friend

Netanyahu must look forward to greeting Trump on the soil of his country with great eagerness. He and President Barack Obama detested one another, a great impediment in a region where personal relationships matter.

Obama had treated Israel as at best an inconvenience and at worse as a quasi-enemy. The former president had forged a nuclear weapons deal with Iran that, in the view of Netanyahu and most Israelis, place the Jewish State in extreme peril. Obama had even bent every effort toward arranging Netanyahu’s defeat in the most recent Israeli elections/

Trump is a different matter altogether. He recognizes that Iran is a threat not only to peace in peace in the Middle East but the very existence of Israel.

Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia proved that the president regards terrorism with the utmost seriousness. Netanyahu can expect that Trump will provide lavish support for Israel as an ally in the war on terror. He can also have much hope that the American president will bring with him business deals with Israel’s thriving high-tech industrial sector just as he did in Saudi Arabia.

Bringing the Art of the Deal to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The variant of an old saying states, “To make an American president mad, first get him to think that he can solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Trump would like to at least see peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, moribund since 2014, jump started.

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He will meet with Palestinian leaders while on this leg of his journey. Netanyahu must be nervous because, as history has shown us, every time an American president desires to do a little peacemaking, Israel is expected to make concessions while the Palestinians stand pat and make more demands. They prefer to have peace that does not include Israel or Jews anywhere in the Middle East.

What is likely to happen

Still. Israel is liable to be the gainer once Trump is wheels up on his way to the Vatican.

Netanyahu will make sure that the president is lavished with every pomp, ceremony, and praise in public. But he will be a tough negotiator while in private. He will exact a price for entering into what is likely another kabuki dance with the Palestinians. Trump’s boundless ego will appreciate the former. Trump, the purveyor of the Art of the Deal, will hopefully be impressed by the latter.

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