The new US president says he would love to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Can the man behind ‘the art of the deal’ bring hope after years of missed opportunities?
President Trump credit Flickr Michael Vadon 630 230

By Dana Allin, IISS Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Transatlantic Affairs.

Every U.S. president since Harry Truman has sought peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Every president since Lyndon Johnson has opposed the building of Jewish settlements on land that Israel occupied in June 1967 and has supported a diplomatic solution by which the Jewish state would trade much of that land for a secure and lasting peace. And every president since Bill Clinton has worked for a two-state solution under which Israel would enjoy security and genuine acceptance in the Middle East and the Palestinians would run their own affairs and prosper in a viable, independent state

Achieving these goals has never been easy, and Washington’s attempts to put the Israelis and the Palestinians on the path to peace have regularly been stymied by rejectionism on both sides. Palestinian leaders have proved unable or unwilling to grasp past diplomatic opportunities, and the current Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, represents segments of society that are fixated on a vision of an Israel that excludes Palestinian aspirations and rights. The Obama administration made a serious effort to break the impasse but failed, and the status quo is probably unsustainable. Although any new administration would find the landscape daunting, the United States’ strategic interests and moral values call for continued opposition to Israeli settlements in occupied territory, a continued insistence that the Palestinians pursue their cause through peaceful means, a continued commitment to a two-state solution, and continued attentiveness to Israel’s strategic vulnerabilities. In other words, the most basic requirement is to do no harm, thus following in the tradition of past presidents.

Donald Trump, it must be said, looks like a different kind of president.

Read the full article at Foreign Affairs

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