Shimon Riklin, easily the most pro-Netanyahu reporter in Israel, who works for Channel 20, easily the most pro-Netanyahu media outlet anywhere, tweeted just before boarding the prime minister’s plane to Washington: “This is a historic visit and kind of a second Balfour Declaration for the Israeli settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.”
Riklin, 57, who is known for his softball interviews with Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, is probably the most likely reporter the prime minister would pick to leak information about the upcoming White House meeting which will discuss President Donald Trump’s peace plan, a.k.a. Deal of the Century.
His next tweet reads: “We just took off. A little less than 12 hours to Washington. Must say that Netanyahu seems very excited to me, unlike other flights. I wonder if history is really going to be made here. Because if not now, when? Promise to update as needed. Adieu.”
Finally, after having landed on the other side, Riklin tweeted: “Cautious optimism. The debate now is what to annex and not whether. The key points: public presidential support; the international response; the status of the Arabs (will receive permanent residency). The options (for annexation – DI): Jordan Valley; settlements; Ma’ale Adumim.”
Riklin concluded: “Tomorrow, Trump and Netanyahu will tighten the corners. And the day after tomorrow, expect a dramatic announcement, followed by a government decision. That’s the direction.”
Below is a Riklin tweet from the flight, showing him (center) in a group of reporters receiving an “eloquent and clear briefing” from Minister Yariv Levin (Likud).
השר יריב לוין בתדרוך רהוט וברור על המטוס בדרך לוושינגטון pic.twitter.com/M6cjzATYo3
— שמעון ריקלין (@Riklin10) January 27, 2020
Ariel Kahane, from Netanyahu’s other strongly affiliated media outlet, Israel Hayom, is also with the PM’s entourage in Washington, and has reported that later on Monday, probably after the president’s meetings with Netanyahu and Blue&White Chairman Benny Gantz, there will be an official publication of the contents of the political segment of the peace plan – meaning, likely, who gets a statehood and how many Jewish settlers are evacuated. There will then be a second meeting between Trump and Netanyahu on Tuesday at noon DC time.
Kahane, who is gushing almost as emphatically as Riklin, quoted Netanyahu’s statement before his departure for the US that he and President Trump “will make history on Tuesday.” The PM’s entourage confirmed that Netanyahu does believe that a rare opportunity will open before Israel in the coming days, and that it should be exploited.
Kahane reported that the entourage compared this week’s events to David Ben-Gurion’s decision to declare the establishment of the state, back in 1948, despite the many dangers and despite the objections of many of his colleagues at the time, and even in spite of explicit warnings from then US President Harry Truman, not to seek independence.
In fact, according to Israel Hayom, the administration has been sending messages to the visiting Israelis that it is preferable to carry out the annexation moves in the near future.
Hallelujah? Maybe? Come back, we’ll probably know more in a few hours…