Fact check: half true, at least when it comes to leadership. Donald Trump seems convinced he can cut a yuuuuuuge deal that will change the score to completely true, and mark his place in the history books. “I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas,” Trump said earlier, “and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I know you’ve heard it before,” Trump continued. No kidding:
Trump told the Israeli crowd that his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his conversations with Netanyahu, left him certain that the elusive deal is within reach.
“The Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I know you’ve heard it before — I am telling you, that’s what I do,” Trump said during remarks at the Israel Museum.
The speech — which offered no concrete proposals for Israel-Palestinian peace — brought to a close the second leg of his first foreign trip that has focused on bringing together the world’s religions in an effort to combat terrorism. Trump first visited Saudi Arabia where he called on Muslims to combat extremism, and from Israel he will head to Rome where he will meet Pope Francis.
“People of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience. And to follow their dreams, right here. Today, gathered with friends, I call upon all people, Jews, Christians, Muslims and every faith, every tribe, every creed to draw inspiration from this ancient city to set aside our sectarian differences,” Trump said.
Is it possible? The Israelis would love to settle the conflict with the Palestinians in a way that allows them to keep their security positions, their major settlements, and all of Jerusalem. The Palestinians would love to settle the conflict by beginning the process of ejecting all of the Israelis from Israel. Both sides have to compromise to come to an agreement, but … the Palestinians need to come a lot further than the Israelis, and thus far the Palestinian leadership has shown little inclination to move at all.
Andrew McCarthy notes that Abbas has not prepared his people for those compromises, which makes them politically — and existentially — impossible. In fact, he’s still subsidizing terrorists, or as we call them now, “evil losers”:
Trump and Abbas stood side-by-side in Bethlehem as the American president condemned the terrorists as “evil losers in life” — “radical Islamic terrorism” having evidently been retired from Trump’s repertoire while he meets with regimes that support radical Islamic terrorism.
Abbas, it bears emphasizing, is an utterly unfit “peace partner.”
Though he still clings to power in the thirteenth year of his four-year term, he does not even control the Palestinian territory — his rival, the Hamas jihadist organization, runs Gaza. His Fatah faction, the legacy of master-terrorist Yasser Arafat, sports its own terrorist wing (the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade). It spends much of its time glorifying jihadists who mass-murder Jews, including Jewish children, naming streets and monuments in their honor.
So what is the plan that will change the Palestinian position? No one knows, Reuters reports, except maybe for special envoy Jared Kushner, and he’s not talking. By putting that promise out, Trump has raised expectations for a deal, and that may come back to bite both the president and his son-in-law:
In the four months since President Donald Trump took office and gave his 36-year-old son-in-law the job of forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Kushner has kept his plans under wraps for a conflict that is nearly twice as old as he is.
The assignment would pose daunting challenges for the most seasoned diplomat, much less a novice. Peace talks have been stalled for years, most recently breaking down in 2014 following disagreements over Israeli settlement-building and a Palestinian move to reconcile with the Islamist group Hamas.
By making the Arab-Israeli conflict the centerpiece of his first trip abroad, and putting such a high-profile figure in charge of it, Trump has jumped headlong in without the usual caution and discretion shown by his predecessors.
One might have thought that a president who won office in part by rejecting interventionism would have taken the opportunity to tell Abbas and Netanyahu to work it out between themselves. However, Trump prides himself on his ability to make the best deals, and to succeed in dealmaking where all others fail. What could possibly engage that part of his ego more than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It’s not even really that much of a risk to his reputation. If he fails, well, so has everyone else, and it would be easy to lay that blame off onto the primary parties. (Just ask Bill Clinton, who came closest to success only to get betrayed by Yasser Arafat.) If Trump succeeds, though, he’ll go down in history as the world’s greatest negotiator.
In other words, Abbas and Netanyahu had better get used to seeing Trump around the Camp David campfire. Or Mir-a-Lago. Whatever’s the classiest.
Jeff Dunetz has paid close attention to this Trump trip, and made an interesting catch while waiting for a live stream from the White House. Has any other official White House communication recognized Jerusalem as a part of Israel? Hmmm.