Palestinians Face Reckoning with Us Administration in a Shifting Middle East


USCPR Executive Director Yousef Munayyer talks to Middle East Eye about efforts by the Trump administration to pressure the Palestinians into joining a peace process that has a foregone conclusion.

In Washington, the Trump administration has taken the shifting dynamics in the Middle East as a sign that a peace deal is ripe, and what started as an internal purge in Saudi Arabia in November has morphed into a grand scheme with major ramifications for the region.

“What followed very shortly [after that] was the Trump declaration on Jerusalem,” noted Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, referring to Washington’s decision to change long-standing US policy on the status of the Holy City.

“What we saw that followed that – and it really crystallised what has come to be the American strategy under Trump – is a pressure strategy on the Palestinians,” Munayyer said.

“The Trump administration has … this notion that the reason the peace process has not been successful to date is because the Palestinians – the party under foreign military occupation – [and] not the Israelis, are the party that needs to be pressured more,” Munayyer said.

“So if you pressure the Palestinians more,” he continued, outlining the Trump administration’s view, “then eventually there will be acquiescence to Israeli demands that will make negotiations result in some kind of agreement.”

Still, he said, “Palestinians are very good at saying ‘no’ to things like this, as I think they should.”