Trump is nothing if not self confident. He apparently thinks his mastery at deal making will serve him well with PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. He’s invited Abbas to meet him at the White House on Wednesday.
You have to wonder if Trump has correctly assessed the situation of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. You have to wonder if he understands that the PLO leader, whoever it happens to be at any one time, does not want to make peace with Israel. Arab leaders who make peace deals with Israel significantly shorten their life span. Just ask Anwar Sadat. Or look at the example of the efforts of Bill Clinton with Yassir Arafat. Clinton offered, apparently with Israeli concurrence, to give Arafat all that he said he wanted, and even a bit more than he had asked for. The result? Arafat stormed out of the room in a huff.
You can’t make a deal with someone who believes that it’s in his best interest to never make a deal, at least a genuine deal. No POL leader will agree to a bona fide peace with Israel when he is personally benefiting from the status quo, and believes that if real peace with Israel ever actually got done, he would lose the life style to which he has become accustomed and has no intention of giving up.
Arafat died with quite a few million dollars and euro’s in his Swiss bank account. Abbas is very different from Arafat in some ways, but there can be no doubt that he is profiting quite well from all the money the United States, the Europeans, and the Swedes shower on the Palestinian leadership every year. Some of that money is used to benefit poor Palestinians, sure. But the bulk of it probably never sees the light of day once it lands in the lap of the PLO leaders and the terrorists they support. In essence, the United States and Europe, along a bunch of Arab nations, are bankrolling the Palestinian terror against Israel. So long as that continues the terror against Israel will continue.
Abbas will be glad to meet Trump at the White House. He will be most gracious, and so will Trump. Both will go away believing they have had a productive session. Peace surely must be at hand. But not really. Not a chance. Abbas no less than Arafat is never going to make peace with Israel so long as he can keep the current status quo going. Oh, he may sign a peace agreement if it includes lots of Israeli concessions. It won’t be worth the paper it’s written on. His people will understand that, and they will be happy. They don’t want peace with Israel either. They’re just as happy with the status quo as Abbas.
In welcoming Abbas to the White House, Trump chose to ignore all of this in the interest of fostering a peace deal between Israel and the PLO.
There are three problems with this goal. First, the peace process between Israel and the PLO is predicated on the notion that the US must pressure Israel to make massive concessions to the PLO. So simply by engaging in a negotiating process with the PLO, Trump has adopted an antagonistic position toward Israel.
The second problem is that Abbas himself has proven, repeatedly, that he will never support a peace deal with Israel. Abbas opposed Israel’s peace offer at Camp David in 2000. He rejected then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s peace offer in 2008. He rejected then-president Barack Obama’s peace offer in 2013. Since then, Abbas made no sign of moderating his position.
The third problem with Trump’s decision to engage in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is that any hypothetical deal a hypothetical Palestinian leader would accept, would endanger Israel’s very existence. So in the unlikely event that he reaches “the deal,” his achievement will imperil Israel, rather than protect it.
Again, Israel isn’t the only party harmed by Trump’s decision to embrace the Palestinian dictator whose legal term of office ended eight years ago.
Trump himself is harmed by his move.
Trump moves is self-destructive for two reasons. First, he is setting himself up for failure. By positioning himself in the middle of a diplomatic initiative that will fail, he is guaranteeing that he will fail.
Trump’s move also endangers the support of one of his key constituencies. Evangelical Christians in the US voted overwhelmingly for Trump in both the Republican primaries and in the general election. They rallied to his side due to Trump’s pledge to appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court, and to support Israel. By initiating a diplomatic process that pits his administration against Israel, Trump places that support in jeopardy.
The simple truth is that nobody can make peace with the Palestinians so long as they believe it is in their interest to be terrorists. Part of why they see it in their interest is because they like being terrorists. They like killing Jews. A carrot and stick approach is always doomed to failure because what may seem like a carrot and stick to Western minds seems like two carrots to the Palestinians and their leaders. So long as they believe the deal they have right now is the one they really want, nothing can change. They have plenty of money and they thrive on killing Jews. In their minds (even though they don’t want you to know it) what’s not to like?