Amid headlines from the usual suspects about President Trump ‘criticizing Israeli settlements’ (including the leftist press in Israel) the truth is that Trump’s policies anda new Israeli law could lead to real peace.
What President Trump actually said was that the creation of new settlements was not helpful when it came to “the process of reaching peace.”
With a meeting coming up between the president and Israeli PM Netanyahu, someone he’s been on friendly terms with for years, it’s obvious that the Donald is laying the groundwork for a serious attempt at a deal. In an interview with Israel Hayom, President Trump had some revealing things to say.
After praising PM Netanyahu, voicing his expectation of an excellent future relationship with Israel and harshly criticizing the Iran deal, the conversation turned to Jerusalem and Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Actually President Trump has said nothing negative about building and expanding existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Nor will he. In fact when he was asked whether he was going to condemn Israeli announcements of building in existing Jewish communities like the previous administration, he responded “No, I don’t want to condemn Israel. Israel has had a long history of condemnation and difficulty. And I don’t want to be condemning Israel. I understand Israel very well, and I respect Israel a lot, and they have been through a lot. I would like to see peace and beyond that. And I think that peace for Israel would be a good thing for the Israeli people, not just a good thing, a great thing.” …
” They [ new settlements] don’t help the process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options, we’ll see. ”
That hardly qualifies as ‘criticizing settlements.’ It’s simply a self-evident statement and an attempt at prepping the ground with an appearance of neutrality pending any coming negotiations. And President Trump also had this to say about relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem:
Q: How soon will you decide on the issue of relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?
“Well, I want Israel to be reasonable with respect to peace. I want to see peace happen. It should happen. After all these years. … Maybe there is even a chance for a bigger peace than just Israel and the Palestinians. I would like to see a level of reasonableness of both parties, and I think we have a good chance of doing that.”
Q: And the embassy?
“I am thinking about the embassy, I am studying the embassy [issue], and we will see what happens. The embassy is not an easy decision. It has obviously been out there for many, many years, and nobody has wanted to make that decision. I’m thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens.”
Q: You always speak about making good deals. Don’t the Palestinians have to make concessions as well?
“Yeah. They do. Absolutely. It has to be good for everybody. No deal is good if it is not good for everybody, and we are in that process, and we will see what happens. People have been in that process for many decades, and it has been going a long for a long time. So many people think it cannot be made. I have very smart people that … say a deal can’t be made. I disagree with them. I think a deal should be made, and it can be made,” he concluded.
What President Trump is doing here is straight out of ‘The Art Of The Deal.’ He is deliberately positioning himself so that the U.S. can appear as a reasonable arbiter. With the Israelis, whom he knows are the far more reasonable party, he’s holding out certain carrots; an embassy in Jerusalem, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capitol as well as recognition of Jewish communities and their right to natural growth in Judea and Samaria. There’s also the promise of demanding real life meaningful concessions from the Arabs whom call themselves ‘Palestinians’ as part of any deal as opposed to just taking Abbas’s word for it. He’s even holding out the promise of formal relations between Israel and the other Arab states. While those relationships exist in reality, especially with Saudis Arabia and the Gulf States, they’re clandestine. And Trump’s disdainful mention of the Iran deal maybe points to something big in the future. Nothing unites like a common enemy.
With the ‘Palestinians’, Trump’s using the stick.
(Read more and find out why Trump’s Mideast policies and a new Israeli law could lead to real peace)