The passion with which Trump talks about a peace deal and his personal involvement shows he’s no less ‘obsessive and messianic’ than John Kerry. At this rate, Netanyahu will have to dust off his Bar-Ilan speech of support for two states
Many international figures who have met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his advisers since they returned from their successful meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House two weeks ago say the Palestinian leaders feel like they are in seventh heaven.
Statements by Trump’s national security adviser, Herbert Raymond McMaster, on Friday evening provided an additional shot of endorphins that further increased the euphoria of government officials in Ramallah.
Briefing reporters on Trump’s upcoming trip to the Middle East, McMaster spoke mainly about Trump’s planned visit to Saudi Arabia. But almost by the way, he added that during Trump’s visit to Israel and the PA in about a week, the president is planning to express his support for the right of the Palestinians to dignity and self-determination.
McMaster’s remarks, which were an almost precise reprise of a statement Abbas himself made at a joint press conference with Trump, are another sign that the U.S. president is continuing to move ahead consistently in the direction of an expression of public support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Ostensibly, there is nothing new in a statement like this from Trump. After all, the three presidents who preceded him – Clinton, Bush and Obama – also expressed support for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The latter two even defined the realization of the two-state solution as an American security interest. But only 120 days ago, Trump really was not there. Just 90 days ago, in a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump was still talking about the possibility of supporting a one-state solution.
From the moment Trump entered the Oval Office on January 20, his policy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been in constant movement in one direction toward the traditional American policy for the past 50 years since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967. Like all his predecessors, Trump’s current policy is to oppose settlement construction, oppose annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and support the national aspirations of the Palestinians. It is doubtful whether Trump has delved deeply into the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in his four months in office he has also realized that there is no real solution other than two states for two peoples.