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Israel builds Trump a Potemkin village

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Finally, the long-anticipated Trump Middle East Peace Plan is taking shape.

Under terms of the proposal, President Trump agrees that Israel gets whatever it wants: all of Jerusalem, all of the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Gaza -- you name it. In exchange, Israel agrees to name a village after Trump.

And not even a real village. More like a sign marking where a village might be. Someday.

This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to thank Trump for supporting Israel's claims to the occupied territories by naming a village after him in the Golan Heights: Ramat Trump, or Trump Heights.

Netanyahu, the U.S. ambassador and other dignitaries met on a barren patch in the middle of nowhere, rolled out a strip of artificial turf and erected a sign with the U.S. president's name just as he likes it -- in gilded letters.

Naturally, Trump was pleased. "Thank you PM @Netanyahu and the State of Israel for this great honor!" Trump tweeted.

 

But it quickly emerged that the Israeli government had approved no such plan, had dedicated no funds to it and had established no specific location. The cabinet resolution says the place will be called Trump Heights "if it is founded."

The founder of the Golan caucus in Israel's Knesset called the whole thing an "Israbluff" and compared it to a well-known Israeli satire. The Haaretz newspaper called Trump Heights "a mythological town that exists only in the imagination."

Now, a week after we learned that the "friendship tree" the French president gave Trump has died, we discover that the Israeli prime minister has given Trump a Potemkin village?

This was a shrewd move by Netanyahu, who correctly recognized that Trump can be bought with just a bit of ego-stroking. No substantive concessions necessary!

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