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Netanyahu dangles Trump card in rotation talks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still pushing for a rotation agreement and insisting that his relationship with US President Donald Trump offers Israel important security opportunities.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hugs U.S. President Donald Trump as they talk during meetings at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RC15FD644460
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“This is a historic opportunity,” whispered one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insiders to Al-Monitor this week. “You have no idea what we can wheedle from the Americans now, what a golden opportunity we face when the US is about to enter an election year — if we have a unity government headed by [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” I asked my source, who asked for anonymity, for an example. Something of strategic importance that we could get from the Americans now, but not at any other time. Except for a defense treaty, of course. “Bunker busters,” he answered.

Netanyahu is desperate to convince his political rivals to allow him to remain a few more months in power, and he will do anything to accomplish it. His people dangle promises of toys and strategic achievements like the Spaniards used to give beads to the Native Americans. The source’s bunker-buster bomb is the cherry on top. It refers to the recent American development of giant bombs in this category — bombs that have not yet been provided to Israel despite its repeated pleas. According to members of Netanyahu’s inner circle, these bombs will be given to Israel once it signs the mutual defense agreement that Netanyahu has been working on.

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