Trump, Abbas vow to prove skeptics wrong on reaching peace deal


USCPR Executive Director Yousef Munayyer spoke to Al-Monitor’s Laura Rozen

Washington Middle East peace process veterans and observers expressed mild incredulity that the only person who really seems convinced there is a chance in the current context to reach a peace deal is Trump. And they noted that even before any possible revived negotiations have gotten underway, both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be calculating how to make sure the other one got blamed if and when it inevitably collapses.

“None of the players expects this White House is going to get this done,” Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American analyst with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told Al-Monitor. “So the question I think they are both dealing with is, how do you maintain your important relationship with the … president of United States, and at the same time participate in whatever process he wants to carry forward, without being perceived as the reason that it didn’t succeed.”

“The real wild card is Trump and his personality,” Munayyer said. “And nobody knows how that is going to work out. Trump is a businessperson. He approaches the deal in a way that many businesspeople do. If you are serious, we can find a mutually beneficial deal and get this thing done.”

But if he finds that his negotiating counterparts are not negotiating in good faith and are “dragging up reason after reason not to move forward, I don’t think Trump will have patience for that,” Munayyer said.

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