Like every new president before him, Barack Obama hoped to make some headway in resolving the bitter dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. But he and his secretary of state John Kerry eventually realized that Israeli intransigence was too strong especially since, thanks to the Israel lobby in the US has a lock on the US congress, they could not use as a bargaining chip the only real leverage they have, the massive amount of aid that the US gives that country. So they essentially gave up.
Of course Donald Trump, who sees himself as this master dealmaker, thinks he can get a deal done. During his visit to Israel he made the usual noises that American politicians make about wanting to achieve peace in the region, with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu continuing to pretend that he is serious about wanting anything other than the full annexation of Palestinian lands. And the media once again pretends that this might be an opportunity to achieve some kind of peace agreement.
President Trump began a two-day visit to Israel on Monday with a blunt assessment for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: If Israel really wants peace with its Arab neighbors, the cost will be resolving the generations-old standoff with the Palestinians.
For years, Mr. Netanyahu has sought to recalibrate relations with Sunni Arab nations in a mutual bid to counter Shiite-led Iran, while subordinating the Palestinian dispute as a secondary issue. But as Mr. Trump arrived in Jerusalem after meetings in Saudi Arabia, the president indicated that he and those Arab states see an agreement with the Palestinians as integral to that new regional alignment.
“On those issues, there is a strong consensus among the nations of the world — including many in the Muslim world,” Mr. Trump said. “I was deeply encouraged by my conversations with Muslim world leaders in Saudi Arabia, including King Salman, who I spoke to at great length. King Salman feels very strongly and, I can tell you, would love to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians.”
Kevin Drum pretty much sums up my own views on where all this is likely to go.
Anyway, we all know where this is going, right? Benjamin Netanyahu wants to stay on good terms with Trump, and Trump wants a peace deal. Everyone on the planet knows perfectly well that Netanyahu has no interest in this, but he’ll string Trump along anyway. A “peace process” will be set up, Jared Kushner will preside over a meeting or two, and Netanyahu will settle back and wait for some kind of bombing or other terror attack to declare that he tried but the Palestinians just can’t be dealt with. Every neocon in America will immediately jump on the bandwagon and insist that this is the final straw. Things were so hopeful thanks to Trump’s goodwill, but they bombed innocent women and children while Israel was earnestly trying to make peace! They’re savages! Netanyahu will ask Trump for a statement of support, and of course Trump will provide it because terrorists are bad. And that will be that.
Yes, that is how this cycle will again play out as Israel continues to annex land and make life miserable for the Palestinians in their apartheid state.