Trump’s best option may be to focus on maintaining a stable, relatively peaceful state of ceasefire, or better phrased, to keep hostilities to a bearable minimum.
As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, it seems as though Israel’s alliance with the United States has never been stronger than now under the Trump administration. Trump’s warm feelings for Israel, and positive relations with its Prime Minister, have exposed the mendacity of his detractors, and I am happy to see that after many years, Israel has once again a real friend in the White House.
Speaking of improving relationships, Trump said that his administration is giving the Middle East peace process “an absolute go,” adding, “I really think we have a chance,” and “I think Israel would like to see it, and I think the Palestinians would like to see it.”
Israel would like to see peace, but the Palestinians, clearly, would not. Just recently, Fatah Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi responded on Awdah TV to a question about the possibility of Fatah recognizing Israel’s right to exist: “Certainly not,” he said. “This is not required, and we will not recognize Israel.” Al-Qawasmi also added a message to his partners in reconciliation talks, the terror organization Hamas: “My friends, Hamas, you should not recognize Israel, you are not required to.”
And if this is not discouraging enough, Al-Qawasmi also shared his organization’s view on terrorism, which he describes as “popular resistance”: “We said that the armed resistance, popular resistance, is also legitimate … we chose popular resistance as the means that we see as the most effective under the present circumstances.” To achieve what? Certainly not peace.
Since without good will and good faith among all parties it is impossible to achieve peace, it is only Israel’s fortune that despite being offered twice, complete withdrawal from the territories conquered in the Six Day War in return for peace, the Palestinians were too greedy to accept.
Yet, despite the dismal situation, I don’t think Trump should leave Israel and the Palestinians to sort things out for themselves. Under the current circumstances, if a violent conflict erupts in Israel, it could set the rest of the world aflame. President Trump’s best option, therefore, is to focus on maintaining a stable, relatively peaceful state of ceasefire, or better phrased, to keep hostilities to a bearable minimum.
An official ceasefire is impractical. Any kind of agreement with a regime that doesn’t recognize your right to exist is, by definition, impossible. Attempting peace with such a government would only frustrate the negotiators and envoys involved, send the parties into a political blame-game, and could incite new hostilities in the region.
Therefore, I wholeheartedly believe that the Trump administration should keep a close eye on the developments between Israel and the Palestinians, and encourage the parties to maintain calm. At the same time, it should play down the hopes for achieving a full-blown peace treaty simply because right now, it is unachievable.
Also, to solidify such efforts, it would be a good idea for the U.S. administration to coordinate its efforts to sustain a state of non-violence in Israel with Russia and the EU. This would make it much harder for parties who wish to inflame the region to do so, as they would have no international backing. Additionally, successful coordination among the U.S., Russia, and the EU on the issue of the Middle East will have a positive impact on their relationships and create a more favorable international environment all around.
So, at the end of the day, I believe that a quiet Middle East is good for America, good for Israel, and good for the world. In fact, it is even good for the Palestinian people, though their leaders might not be too pleased with it.
State of Israel vs. American Jews
And there is another point I would like to stress. There should be complete disengagement between the U.S. administration’s relationship with Israel and its relationship with American Jewry. With the exception of a few, diminishing segments, American Jewry has detached itself from Israel, does not support it, and often supports organizations that are explicitly anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.
Moreover, the majority of American Jewry disapproves of the renewed rapport between the Israeli and U.S. governments. The majority of American Jews supports neither Trump nor Netanyahu and would like to see both heads of state ousted at the earliest opportunity. For this reason, I believe there should be complete disconnect between the American government’s relationship with American Jewry and its relationship with the Jewish state. Let’s face it, Donald Trump is a better friend to Israel than most American Jews.
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