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This was Netanyahu's triumph: Trump used Israel's language, word for word

Anshel Pfeffer examines what Donald Trump's Iran decision means for Israel

    Benjamin Netanyahu meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday
    Benjamin Netanyahu meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (Photo: Getty Images)

    No matter how the ongoing saga of the Iran nuclear deal turns out, Tuesday at the White House was a moment of crowning glory for Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The President of the United States made a major foreign policy announcement that word-for-word repeated the very messages Mr Netanyahu has been making for years.

    Donald Trump’s main motive in pulling out of the Iran deal and announcing new, as yet unspecified, sanctions against Iranian regime was his burning desire to obliterate every last shred of his predecessor Barack Obama’s legacy.

    But for Mr Netanyahu that does not matter: the US and Israeli governments are now connected at the hip, on the same page like never before.

    And next week, as Mr Trump’s daughter and son-in-law Ivanka and Jared Kushner arrive in Jerusalem to celebrate the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, a move that was originally a largely empty gesture will symbolise a virtual twin-city pact between Washington and Jerusalem.

    Benjamin Netanyahu was not sure in November 2016 that he wanted a Trump presidency. The Republican candidate was like no Republican he knew — unpredictable, and Bibi hates unpredictability.

    But in the sixteen months since his inauguration, the president has delivered just about everything that Mr Netanyahu could have dreamed of: the embassy in Jerusalem, a complete marginalisation of the Palestinians, erasing the word “occupied territory” from the State Department’s annual reports and, now, pulling out of the Iran deal.

    It may all go horribly wrong. The Europeans could ignore Mr Trump’s move and find a way to stick to the JCPOA. Iran could use the period to “breakout” to nuclear weapons capability. Or a war could break out.

    But for now Israel’s leader is basking in the victor’s glory. On the day after Mr Trump’s announcement he was in Red Square, standing beside Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Victory Day parade, a master-statesman, America’s closest ally, and a mega-player on the global stage.

    No matter what happens next, no one can take this moment away from him.

    Anshel Pfeffer’s Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu is published in the UK by Hurst on May 17

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