Netanyahu, Israeli Right, Palestinians All Hopeful About Trump

During Primary, Trump Vowed to Be 'Neutral,' Work Toward Peace

by Jason Ditz, November 09, 2016

Everyone around the world is reacting to the election of President-elect Donald Trump in the US, with everyone trying, for good or ill, to interpret comments made during the campaign as fitting their own expectations. Nowhere is this more apparent than Israel and Palestine, where all sides are upbeat about Trump’s election, and for very different reasons.

Trump’s aides in Israel were big on promises when campaigning there, promising everything under the sun to the Netanyahu government, and Trump’s invitation to Netanyahu to visit after the election has the prime minister very hopeful that he’s got an incoming US president who won’t be as willing to criticize him as Obama has been.

The Israeli far-right takes it even farther, with settler groups celebrating the Trump victory as a big boost for settlement construction, and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett going so far as to say he believes Trump’s victory marks the end of the “two-state solution,” and that the era of talking about Palestinian statehood is over.

That Trump bears no resemblance to the Trump that the Palestinians are hoping for. During the early Republican primaries, Trump presented himself as a tough negotiator who would try to come into the peace process as a neutral third party and try to help negotiated a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.

Trump conceded that making a deal between the two sides was “probably the toughest deal in the world right now,” but insisted that he would “give it one hell of a shot.” Indeed at the time, Trump’s comments on trying to broker peace had other primary candidates strongly criticizing him for not being pro-Israel enough.

And while Trump tried to placate Israel with comments from his advisers promising things like moving the embassy to Jerusalem, he never formally abandoned the idea of trying to broker a peace between the two sides, meaning that the Israeli far-right is unrealistic in expecting Trump to spell the end of the peace process outright, and moreover that the Palestinians have room to hope for another push toward a deal.

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