Trump Heights: A Fraudulent Town Named For A Fraudulent President
Benjamin Netanyahu named a town that doesn't exist, and most probably will never exist, after the President of the United States.
Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a settlement in the disputed Golan Heights, which Israel took from Syria in the 1967 war, will be named after President Trump:
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his first steps Sunday to express his gratitude to President Trump, unveiling, at a specially convened cabinet meeting, a plaque marking the spot where Israel’s newest town — Trump Heights — will sit.
The new community is located on the occupied Golan Heights, which — in a highly controversial move that upended decades of U.S. foreign policy — Trump recognized as being part of sovereign Israel last March.
The establishment of Trump Heights — Ramat Trump in Hebrew — is another sign of the flourishing political relationship between the Israeli and American leaders, whose political rhetoric and actions often appear to mirror each other as they lavish mutual praise.
The Golan Heights, a lush plateau between Israel and Syria, was captured by Israeli forces during the 1967 Israeli-Arab War, which began when Israel launched a preemptive strike after neighboring Arab countries mobilized forces at the borders. The area was formally annexed by Israel in 1981, a move not recognized by the United Nations or much of the international community.
Israel argues that handing back the territory, used by Syria as a shelling position, would allow a strategic threat. Just over half the population are Arabic-speaking Druze, living alongside the Israelis who have settled there since 1967.
“This is a historic day,” Netanyahu said at Sunday’s meeting. “We are going to do two things: Establish a new community on the Golan Heights, something that has not been done for many years. This is an act of Zionism, and it is paramount.
“The second thing is to honor our friend, a very great friend of the state of Israel — President Donald Trump, who recently recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
At Sunday’s ceremony, which was also attended by U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, a gold-rimmed plaque displaying the name of the new community in Hebrew and English was unveiled.
Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israel, called the creation of a community in Trump’s honor “an extraordinary gesture.”
Not surprisingly, the egocentric President was quite pleased with this move:
As it turns out, though, Trump Heights is as phony as the President it was named after:
In huge gilded letters (what else?), on a piece of synthetic lawn (of course), a large sign was erected in the Golan Heights, as if taken directly from the best of comedy sketches. Ramat Trump, or Trump Heights, will be built here. Even the strong gusts, which made it difficult to put up the scenery, gave this ridiculous event the atmosphere of an Israeli satire – a moment before a variety of government ministers began their comically dramatic march toward the ceremony.
We’ll begin at the end. No new community named for U.S. President Donald Trump was actually established on Sunday in the Golan Heights. As even the founder of the Knesset caucus for the Golan, Kahol Lavan MK Zvi Hauser, observed: “Anyone who reads the fine print of the ‘historic’ decision understands that this is a conceptual decision. There is no funding. There is no planning. There is no location and there is really no committed decision. That’s what the ‘Israbluff‘” – to borrow a term from Israeli comedy, avoiding a problem with a fictional solution – “of establishing of a new community in the Golan Heights looks like. Salah Shabati at his best,” he added, referring to the 1964 Israeli satire film
Indeed, the proposal put before the cabinet to found the new community includes no real steps toward its establishment. It’s mainly “administrative work,” which in Israeli speak means barely a single meeting around a plate of carbs. Numerous other expressions from the very creative “Israbluff” lexicon appear there in full force: “Formulating recommendations,” “examining a variety of aspects,” “submitting opinions,” “the government notes,” and so on and so forth.
There’s just one sentence at the end that reveals the deceit: “When the final government decision is made on the establishment of the community, and insofar as the location of the new town will be in the area of the community of Kela…” There it is. Indeed, no such final decision was made, and it’s unclear if after the sign’s installation such a community will ever be established, or will remain a celestial “Trump Heights” – a mythological town that exists only in the imagination.
In the explanatory notes on the government decision, the ruse at our expense continues: “There is importance in advancing the decision as noted at this time to strengthen the diplomatic ties between Israel and the United States.” On the other hand, the joke’s not really at our expense, in real financial terms, because the next clause is the most charming: “Economic data and impact on the country’s economy: not relevant.” Finally, a glimmer of truth.
And why isn’t it relevant? Because of the clause entitled “legal difficulties, if any, and means of resolving them.” These difficulties certainly exist. A temporary government, like the one that gathered on Sunday in the Golan Heights and is no government at all, can’t make such a decision until elections are held again and a real government is established. The solution? The legal opinion states that the next government will be the one to decide, and is under no obligation to do so at all. And in the meantime, the blathering about “administrative work” will continue and a pretty sign will go up on artificial grass. If a Netanyahu government is elected again, they’ll figure out whether and how to resolve it.
It’s no surprise that Netanyahu would do something like this. As is the case with many other world leaders, the way to Trump’s heart is by stroking his enormous over-inflated ego. What better way to do that than to name a town after him complete with an enormous sign with his name on it? It’s a lesson that the Saudis, Chinese, North Koreans, French, and so many other national leaders have learned, and it’s something we’ll likely see from other world leaders for the remainder of Trump’s time in office whether than ends in 2021 or 2025. There’s virtually no cost to it, and the benefits in terms of favorable treatment from the Administration cannot be underestimated, although in the case of Israel this President has already bent over backward to show his own obsequious praise for the Israeli Prime Minister. In any case, a relatively costless move like this is difficult to pass up. Pamper the American President’s ego, and there’s no telling how it will benefit you in the future.
This move also has the potential to benefit Netanyahu politically in his own country, something he appears to desperately need at the moment. After appearing to emerge from April’s election victorious, the Prime Minister was forced to admit defeat in his effort to form a government, meaning that there will be another round of elections in September. In addition to that, Netanyahu has been charged with multiple counts of corruption and misuse of public funds and will eventually face trial on those charges regardless of whether or not his party retains control of the government. This is on top of the charges against Netanyahu’s wife Sara, to which she pled guilty last week. Given the fact that Israel is one of the few, or perhaps the only, nation on Earth where President Trump is popular, reminding voters in Israel of his close relationship with the American President. Again, given the potential benefit, this move is costless and potentially of benefit to Netanyahu politically.
So basically we’ve got a town that will most likely never exist named after a President who shouldn’t be President. It all seems rather appropriate, don’t you think?