Opinion Can Trump Bring Peace to the Middle East?

17:52  07 december  2017
17:52  07 december  2017 Source:   The New York Times

Trump likely to delay move of U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: official

  Trump likely to delay move of U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: official President Donald Trump is likely to waive a requirement that the United States move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but is weighing other options to make clear his intent to do so eventually, a senior administration official said on Thursday. Trump pledged on the campaign trail last year that he would move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a long-time goal of Republican politicians.But in keeping with recent practice, Trump in June waived the requirement to avoid inflaming tensions in the Middle East.

And every American president who has tried to bring peace to this violent and riven part of the world has failed. But one thing is for sure: President Trump will make zero progress on peace in the Middle East . Let's take stock of the region.

President-elect Donald Trump said he is counting on his 36-year-old son-in-law to bring peace to the Middle East . Speaking at a dinner on the eve of his inauguration on Thursday, Trump singled out Jared Kushner as a “special person” in the audience.

a man that is on fire: Palestinian demonstrators in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Tuesday. © Musa Al Shaer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Palestinian demonstrators in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Tuesday.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

While President Trump has followed in few of his predecessors’ footsteps, his administration has done the expected in at least one respect: It has undertaken a Middle East peace initiative in its first year. Most recent administrations have done the same, and all have failed. Will Mr. Trump do any better?

The specifics of the initiative are still being hammered out, but some elements are clear. Most administrations start with modest proposals to build trust between the parties and then, when these efforts have bred mutual suspicion and disappointment, they propose a framework for an agreement just as the process moves toward collapse. Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the chief negotiator, have done the reverse, hinting that Washington will lay down the principles of an agreement at the outset of talks, but without imposing them on either party.

Muslim states warn US against moving embassy to Jerusalem

  Muslim states warn US against moving embassy to Jerusalem An umbrella organization of Muslim countries said Monday that President Donald Trump's possible recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would constitute "naked aggression" against the Arab and Muslim world, as the ruling Palestinian party has called for mass protests against such a move by Washington.The Organization for Islamic Cooperation issued a statement condemning an anticipated announcement by the president, saying its 57 member states should sever ties with any state that transfers its embassy to Jerusalem or recognizes Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem.Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, but the international community doesn

Several key Middle Eastern leaders are confident President Donald Trump may have what it takes to finally bring peace to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump will visit Israel for two days starting Monday as part of his tour of the Middle East .

US President Donald Trump is keen to secure Middle East peace , but does not say how he plans to do it. Previous administrations in Washington have tried in the past, but failed. The last talks between Israel and Palestine collapsed three years ago.

A two-state solution might not be in the cards. While talks toward a plan move forward, the administration will undertake a series of confidence-building measures; these might include a Palestinian pledge to resume security cooperation with Israel in return for the transfer of a bit of land to the Palestinian Authority, a limited settlement freeze and economic aid for West Bank Palestinians. This is standard fare.

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Mr. Trump will also try to regionalize the process. In exchange for Israeli flexibility, Arab countries in the Sunni coalition — notably Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — would extend privileges that Israel has long coveted, including overflight and perhaps some sort of diplomatic status, and offer lavish funding to prop up the Palestinian entity that signs an agreement with Israel. The Obama administration attempted to elicit Saudi involvement, too, but King Abdullah rejected its proposal. As the process evolves, the particulars of these canonical provisions will change as well.

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When it comes to Middle East policy, usually all roads don’t lead to Rome. To begin with, it’s worth sketching the outlines of the only Middle East peace deal that could realistically emerge from Trump ’s initiative.

Donald Trump has called an Israeli Palestinian peace accord "the ultimate deal" - but his first challenge will be Syria, says the BBC's Lyse Doucet. What is, for many, a surprising ascent to power is likely to keep bringing surprises. US election 2016: Middle East awaits Trump policy decisions.

In addition, on Wednesday Mr. Trump conferred American recognition on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced that the Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem. He did not, however, define what he meant by “Jerusalem,” only defining it as an Israeli capital whose boundaries have yet to be negotiated with Palestinians. It is therefore unclear what precisely has been formally recognized.

It is possible that Mr. Trump is attempting to lure Israel into concessions through this policy departure and maybe even trap Mr. Netanyahu into responding in kind. But the emptiness of the gesture suggests otherwise. One thing that the announcement will have done is to shore up the president’s evangelical base, who won’t inquire too closely into the practical import of the announcement but will be seduced by the headlines it generates.

The Trump administration seems to believe that after a half-century of failed peace initiatives, the stars have finally aligned. And it’s not entirely wrong.

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  14 Security Council members criticize US action on Jerusalem One by one, 14 members of the U.N. Security Council spoke out against President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at an emergency meeting on Friday, some with regret and some with anger at the 15th member, the United States.It wasn't the first time that the U.S. stood alone in defending its close ally, Israel, in the U.N.'s most powerful body. Over decades, it has vetoed many council resolutions it viewed as harmful to Israel.But this was a rare rebuke for an action the United States took that in the eyes of the rest of the council and most of the world clearly violates U.N.

How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? By COGwriter. President Donald Trump says the U.S. seeks a “coalition of nations” in the Middle East with the aim of “stamping out extremism.” …

Donald Trump relished a “rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace ” to the Middle East when he landed in Israel Monday for the second leg of his first foreign trip in office.

Israel and Saudi Arabia, for example, have forged a cooperative relationship that could provide Arab cover for a deal on Israeli terms. Indeed, there are unconfirmed rumors that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has told the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, to agree to an Israeli offer or resign. By isolating the Palestinians, Saudi cover would work in the same way that Egyptian cover enabled Menachem Begin to deflect Jimmy Carter’s push for Palestinian autonomy at Camp David.

Bill Clinton’s prioritization of an Israel-Syria agreement was meant to weaken Mr. Abbas’s predecessor, Yasir Arafat, who lamented his reduced position by labeling himself “the other woman.” Egypt and Israel, moreover, can now exert pressure on Hamas to pursue reconciliation with West Bank moderates, that way disarming — in theory — Gaza-based rejectionists.

Furthermore, Washington’s assertive stance toward Iran has long been urged by Israel, which has hinted now and then that American pressure on Iran might prompt Israeli concessions to Palestinians. So there might be an opening for a quid pro quo. And, the thinking goes, if Richard Nixon’s anti-Communist credentials gave him the credibility to stage an opening to China, President Trump’s pro-Israeli, pro-Saudi and anti-Iranian positions might enable him to persuade Israel to consider serious compromise.

Netanyahu: Palestinians must face reality

  Netanyahu: Palestinians must face reality Israel's prime minister says Jerusalem has "never been the capital of any other people".Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and had "never been the capital of any other people".

LONDON — President Donald Trump said shortly after taking office that he wants to broker "the ultimate deal" — peace in the Middle East . I thank @POTUS for directing Jared Kushner and sending Jason Greenblatt to help our efforts to bring the Israeli embassy staff home quickly.

I am personally skeptical that a superpower in decline can turn itself around, just as I am skeptical that Trump can reinvent himself. How can the US actually bring peace to the Middle East ?

Finally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is in serious political trouble, and should he fall, his successor might adopt a more flexible attitude.

This is a superficially impressive case, but the whole is far less than the sum of its parts. First, the Saudis are unlikely to pay Israel for something they already get free. The Israeli Foreign Ministry, for example, has already instructed its diplomats to lobby on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s tough talk on Lebanon. Israel will encourage an aggressive American stance toward Iran whether or not the Saudis take a tough line with Palestinian leaders.

Second, Hamas will not play dead just because it is under pressure to proceed with reconciliation. And the moderates lack the capacity to govern Gaza, in any case. Their latest waltz is unlikely to culminate in betrothal.

Third, an American crackdown on Iran is unlikely to yield Israeli accommodation of Palestinian goals. Quite the opposite: Israeli leaders believe that if they can prevail on Mr. Trump on confronting Iran, they can win on the peace process, too. And if Mr. Netanyahu does fall, there is scant evidence that his successor will be more open to concessions to the Palestinians.

The larger point is that successive peace process efforts have failed not because of avoidable misunderstandings, inept negotiating tactics, diplomatic blunders or bad luck. They have failed because neither side wants an agreement on anything like the other side’s terms. (And this is all separate from Mr. Trump’s unfocused volatility, not to mention his ill-timed plan to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Such recognition limited to West Jerusalem might make sense to clinch Israel’s buy-in at the endgame of a negotiation, but not at the very outset, when an ill-defined pledge will antagonize Palestinians and most likely inflame the Arab world.)

Haley insists US move on Jerusalem will 'move the ball forward'

  Haley insists US move on Jerusalem will 'move the ball forward' President Donald Trump's administration insisted on Sunday that its recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital will help the cause of peace, with UN Ambassador Nikki Haley saying it will "move the ball forward."The new US stance, fiercely criticized by Palestinians, Arab leaders and others as gravely damaging any prospects for Middle East peace, has given rise to swelling protests across the region in recent days.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on whether the Trump administration can bring peace to the Middle East .

May.22 -- Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon explains the reasons why he believes President Donald Trump may gain traction in his efforts to bring peace in the Middle East while his predecessors failed.

The obstacles are structural. On the whole, Israeli voters are more right-wing, more religious, less well educated and more mistrustful of Arabs than they were in the past. The Orthodox Jewish population on the West Bank is growing rapidly, twice as fast as the Palestinian population. Sophisticated surveys also show that Israelis are generally happy with their lives; they will not welcome disruption.

Israel remains much more powerful than the Palestinians and in firm control of Palestinian territories. Accordingly, many Israelis do not perceive a need to give up the West Bank, divide Jerusalem or accept the security risks implied by withdrawal because they regard such concessions as both morally wrong and practically unnecessary. Mr. Netanyahu is reported to believe that liberal American Jews will disappear in the next generation or two and that evangelicals and Orthodox Jews will be strong enough to immunize Israel against American pressure. Israel, in other words, is willing to wait it out.

On the other side, many Palestinians have discarded the idea of a Palestinian state. The alternatives they have are the status quo, the forlorn hope for Israeli citizenship or, for those with the energy and resources, emigration to Jordan and then, maybe, to the wider Arab world. Europe and the United States are no longer welcoming destinations. Political violence is also an option.

Last, a successful peace effort would require the president to lean heavily on Israel, rope in Arab states as deep-pocketed honest brokers and collaborate with leaders on both sides who can deliver in the face of strong — even violent — domestic opposition. There is no such Israeli leadership on the horizon, nor is there any on the Palestinian side as Mr. Abbas prepares his exit.

Nor is American pressure in the cards. For all the talk from successive administrations, a Palestinian-Israeli peace has never been a strategic imperative for Washington. Thus, no administration has been willing to incur the domestic political costs entailed by an imposed agreement along the lines the Trump administration has already disavowed. When strategic interests do come into play, the United States has consistently pursued its own interest, as when it blocked Israeli aircraft from Iraqi airspace during Desert Storm or refused to strike Iran in 2012.

There is no reason to believe that the Trump administration is insincere in its pursuit of an agreement. But against the deeper structures underlying the surface reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt will make much of a dent.

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Russia’s influence in the Middle East is growing .
Vladimir Putin conducted a whirlwind tour of the greater Middle East region this week. For some observers, it was a showcase for Russia’s growing influence in the region. According to Ishaan Tharoor, “he exhibited the kind of clever strategic policymaking that the US is simply not doing in the region.”Tharoor is a foreign affairs writer with the Washington Post and recently wrote “Putin is outplaying Trump in the Middle East.

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