President Donald Trump’s visits with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas come with a lot of expectations, at least from Trump’s perspective, that he can make some progress in advancing the peace process between the two sides.
There are a lot of topics that are off limit, however, and perhaps none more glaringly so, at least on this leg of the visit, than the subject of basic Palestinian rights, which Trump is eager to avoid bringing up, knowing the implications that even a tacit recognition of such rights would have for Israel’s far-right government.
Trump styles himself the greatest deal-maker in the world, and has embraced the idea of making a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians since taking office, but also remains determined to protect his status as a “pro-Israel” president, with a collection of aides to match.
That has done much to temper Palestinian excitement about Trump’s talk of peace, as they see the talk of peace, with no plan, and a US Ambassador to Israel that is openly supporting settlements in occupied Palestine, and conclude the talk of peace is as empty as ever.
As Israel celebrates 50 years of military occupation of the Palestinians, it’s impossible not to figure that the moment the peace process becomes inconvenient to US-Israeli relations, it will again be cast off, to wait for another administration’s half-hearted efforts.