Why Trump is on track to disappoint Israel’s Netanyahu


USCPR Executive Director Yousef Munayyer quoted by the Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor

Trump “has built up Abbas by treating him with respect. And his envoy is pressing the Israelis to take meaningful steps to allow the Palestinians to grow their economy,” said Martin Indyk, a former U.S. envoy for Israeli­Palestinian negotiations, in an interview with the Atlantic. “It’s almost exactly what Bill Clinton did when he was president.”

The big question is whether Trump will follow through on his stated zeal to fix the problem, especially when the status quo seems to serve his friend Netanyahu’s interests.

“Both the Israelis and Palestinians are aware that even a more traditional American president is unlikely to have the political will to do what is necessary to broker a just peace agreement,” wrote Yousef Munayyer, a scholar at the Middle East Institute. “With Trump, they know the chances are even more remote. At the same time, neither can afford to alienate Washington. So they must carefully play along as Trump engages the issues, and they will likely seek opportunities to get whatever they can from him in the process.”

Ilan Goldenberg, a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security, suggested Netanyahu is now “freaked out because Trump seems serious about peace.” That means he “will have to produce” at the risk of antagonizing key right­wing allies — and likely losing votes to their parties.

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