1

Trump recently tweeted:

...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?

How do you parse the sentence in bold? "We have taken... but Israel for that..." seem to be contradictory. Or perhaps there's a 'would' missing before the first have?

  • @Mari-LouA Added. – TheAsh Jan 3 '18 at 13:51
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    Do you want to parse it or make sense of it? The first is difficult, the second is impossible. – Hot Licks Jan 3 '18 at 14:01
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The phrase is ambiguous (surprise surprise).

There are two units of information being presented here:

  1. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table,

  2. but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.

In the first instance Trump is asserting that Jerusalem is no longer open for discussion (it has been removed from the table), this is something that America wanted.

However Israel is still on the table, meaning it is still open for discussion. The concessions required of America to take Israel off the table, were too expensive.

An alternative reading could be:

  1. Jerusalem is no longer up for discussion, we have removed it from the table.
  2. If Israel wanted to achieve this same outcome, it would have cost them more than America had to concede.
2

Ignore the appositive. That's simply:

  • We have taken Jerusalem off the table, but Israel would have had to pay more for that (=to achieve that same result).

Think of it like this:

  • I just bought this ice cream cone for a penny, which I’m giving to you, but you would have had to pay more for it, so aren’t you the lucky one?
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    Avoid using comments for a purpose other than improving the post they are attached to. For example, comments can be used to ask for clarification, or to suggest changes or offer relevant information to the poster. A better place for debate or free-wheeling discussion is our main English Language & Usage Chat (or, when one exists, the chatroom attached to the post itself). – MetaEd Jan 3 '18 at 22:07

protected by tchrist Jan 7 '18 at 2:40

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