Many fear that a Trump presidency will, by default, favor Netanyahu and his policies. But if Trump’s past statements on Israel are precedent, what will matter more is whether the ‘dealmaker’ gets to broker the ultimate deal.
We’re not even a week in, and the panic is palpable. “Trump Election Already Bad News for Palestinians,” reads one headline. Settlement construction will surely spike. “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”
But for even the most casual observer of the Middle East, these pronouncements are nothing new. And despite the official statements from Jerusalem and Ramallah, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority know it, too: when it comes to the Middle East’s oldest conflict, Donald Trump, for all his swagger, can do little more than tiptoe around the status quo.
His promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? His advisors have already begun to walk that one back. And even if they didn’t, Palestinians know that the move would do little to change the status quo on the ground in Jerusalem. The Qalandiya checkpoint, with its gun towers and retina scans, would still be there. And East Jerusalem, home to some half a million Palestinians who once generated some 40 percent of the Palestinian economy, would still be walled off from the West Bank.
OK, you say. So Trump isn’t as bold as he thinks, and this conflict has made humbler men of every president since Truman. But couldn’t Trump further embolden the Israeli Right, giving more cover to the Netanyahu government’s expansionist policies?
Sure. But does Netanyahu really need Trump to do that? And anyway, in an era of inexplicable outcomes, why waste our time looking for answers to these questions? Shouldn’t we, like everybody else in the battered mainstream, be asking new questions?
Donald Trump. That’s who.
On Thursday morning, the Washington Post reported that Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the rank and file’s top pick to lead his party in the Senate, had backed the representative from Minnesota to head the Democratic National Committee.
Never mind that Schumer’s support came on the heels of a similar endorsement by Bernie...Read More