Despite top figures in Israel’s far-right government seeing his election as the end of the peace process, President-elect Donald Trump is talking about his serious interest in the challenge of trying to reach “the deal that can’t be made.”
During the campaign, Trump had presented his experience as a deal-maker as a major boost for making a push at peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, fueling considerable disquiet during the Republican primary for promising to approach the talks as a neutral broker.
There has been considerable split both in the expectations from outside of the Trump campaign on what he will bring to the peace process, and also within, as Trump’s campaign aides within Israel certainly didn’t do anything to harm the far-right’s impression that he’d roll over and let them do whatever they want.
The advisers had also given the impression that moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was a done deal, something Trump has since backed away from. His campaign suggested last week that the move was dependent on there being relative unanimity among officials on the matter, and early reports from advisers suggest they are deeply divided on the matter.
Israel is keen to see embassies in general relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a way of proving an international recognition of their claims over all of Jerusalem, including the occupied portion. Congress called on the US to move the embassy way back in 1995, but allowed presidents to delay the moving indefinitely for “national security concerns.” This has left the embassy in Tel Aviv, and the Jerusalem site a consulate.