Breakups can get ugly, especially when erstwhile lovers start flinging personal insults. Such was apparently the case between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, two leaders whose publicly chummy relationship did not survive the last year. According to recent reporting from Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Trump had some choice expletives for the former Israeli prime minister. While the ex-president appears to have soured on his Israeli colleague a year ago, many of the details of the rift are only now coming to light, with all of the consequences that portends.

This past July, Michael Wolff reported in his book Landslide that Trump had branded Netanyahu’s mere acknowledgement of Joe Biden’s presidential election win as “the ultimate betrayal.” Now, it appears Trump has been erroneously claiming that Bibi was the first foreign leader to congratulate then-President-elect Biden (that distinction actually goes to the Fijians). Trump’s disenchantment over Netanyahu due to the latter’s unwillingness to embrace 2020 election conspiracies has prompted something of a revisionist accounting of the the last administration’s Israeli-Palestinian policy from senior White House advisors and the former president himself.

Netanyahu meets with President Donald Trump in Jerusalem, May 2017.

Feeling spurned by Netanyahu, Trump has gone further than just insulting Bibi. With his friendship ended with Netanyahu, now Trump has set out making the case that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is his best friend in the Middle East. Speaking to Ravid, Trump showered Abbas with characteristically hyperbolic and Trumpian compliments. Abbas was “so nice, couldn’t have been nicer.” “Like a father.” Someone with whom the U.S. “can definitely do a deal.” As for Netanyahu? “He did not want to make a deal.”

If this were really how Trump felt about Abbas, he had a funny way of showing it. The two did have a brief honeymoon period at the very beginning of Trump’s term in 2017.

President Donald Trump participates in arrival ceremonies with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Palestinian officials seemed cautiously optimistic about Trump after Obama’s failure to deliver an agreement with Israel, and Abbas played to Trump’s sensibilities by using the president’s terminology—“the deal of the century”—in reaching out for a mediator in negotiations. But it appears the Palestinians misjudged Trump—as many Americans did—assuming that “different” necessarily meant “better,” and things quickly went south. Here, a brief recap of U.S.-Palestinian relations under Trump is in order: the United States relocated its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem prompting a diplomatic boycott by the PA/PLO, Trump shuttered the PLO mission in Washington, cut all humanitarian funding bound for the West Bank and Gaza, and eventually incorporated West Bank annexation into his administration’s Peace to Prosperity proposal.

Trump’s about-face on Netanyahu and Abbas is easy to understand because he never had any strong convictions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Far from being a break in Trump’s approach toward the issue, this is a return to form from the same president who flippantly said he was fine with one state, two states, whatever, without regard for the massive substantive differences between those ideas. As with most things, Trump’s beliefs on the Israeli-Palestinian question generally centered on his own self-interest, favoring personal loyalty, and preferring supposed “winners” over “losers” (Netanyahu is now both disloyal and a loser). There were earlier signs that Trump’s bromance with Netanyahu was only skin-deep; as Israel’s seemingly endless election cycle wore on in the second half of Trump’s tenure, the president seemed increasingly impatient with Netanyahu’s inability to pull out a decisive victory despite the U.S. administration’s political freebies to the Israeli right. So what we’re witnessing now isn’t a change of heart from Trump, it’s a man with a bruised ego lashing out.

Yet while Trump is untethered by ideology, the same cannot be said for many of his close advisors. Where does this Trump-Bibi divorce leave people like Ambassador David Friedman, as dedicated a supporter of settlements and annexation as they come, Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner, or the many Evangelical Christian voters and organizations who enthusiastically greeted Trump’s pro-Israel policy?

Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner, and U.S. President Donald Trump seen during their meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Photo by Kobi Gideon.

For reasons that have more to do with American domestic politics than U.S. foreign policy, the ideological actors behind Trump’s approach (and likely future Republican administrations’ approaches) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will move on from Netanyahu before they move on from Trump. As Amir Tibon observed in Haaretz, the American group Christians United For Israel is carrying on with its public messaging on a business-as-usual basis, as if two icons of its movement did not just experience a very public and acrimonious breakup. Despite the recent (re)cancellation of Israeli settlement plans in Atarot, the very existence of those plans, as well as the persistence of proposals for E1, suggest that the annexationist current lives on in some quarters of Israel’s government, and certainly in the opposition benches. To be sure, many right-wing American supporters of Israel—especially Christian Zionist groups—were uneasy about Netanyahu’s departure from Balfour Street earlier this year, but if Bibi is persona non grata at Mar-A-Lago, the replacements will have to do.

Where does this all leave Netanyahu? He was always the junior partner in the relationship, and his groveling before the former president even after Trump’s insults were publicized only reinforces that fact. Expert management of Israel’s foreign affairs—especially through access to the Republican Party and the Trump administration—was one of Netanyahu’s central claims to political relevance. But news of his breakup with Trump—coming the same week Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister to visit the United Arab Emirates—further erodes a line that was becoming progressively more tenuous the longer Netanyahu was out of office. As the old song goes, breaking up is hard to do, all the more so when your political self-worth is bound up in the fickle friendship of a former flame.