Trump win could give Is­rael freer hand with Pales­tini­ans

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

DON­ALD TRUMP’S pres­i­den­tial vic­tory has dimmed hopes for re­viv­ing Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace process, and an­a­lysts say Is­rael may be given carte blanche from his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Amer­i­can pres­i­dents have long struck a del­i­cate bal­ance in the con­flict, stress­ing the close US friend­ship and lav­ish­ing the Jewish state with aid. But re­cent pres­i­dents also have tried to ne­go­ti­ate, and they have called out Is­rael for ac­tions seen as un­der­min­ing peace ef­forts, such as ex­pand­ing set­tle­ments in the oc­cu­pied West Bank. Trump’s role can­not be eas­ily pre­dicted. A for­eign pol­icy novice, the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man takes pride in his deal-mak­ing skills and said he would love the chal­lenge of ne­go­ti­at­ing a Mideast agree­ment. He told The New York Times on Monday that it “would be such a great achieve­ment”. He said his son-in­law, Jared Kush­ner, an ob­ser­vant Jew and a close ad­viser, may help make that hap­pen. Last De­cem­ber, Trump told The As­so­ci­ated Press that he wanted to be “very neu­tral” and try to get both sides to­gether. But his tone be­came de­cid­edly more pro-Is­rael as the cam­paign pro­gressed. He has spo­ken dis­parag­ingly of Pales­tini­ans, say­ing they have been “taken over” by or are con­don­ing mil­i­tant groups. Some of his top aides chal­lenge the le­git­i­macy of Pales­tinian de­mands for a state and have claimed that the Pales­tini­ans are a made-up peo­ple.

That has cast doubt on whether he would ever ques­tion Is­raeli ac­tions or even try to serve as a neu­tral bro­ker.

“Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion may take a to­tally hands-off ap­proach,” said Yousef Mu­nayyer, a political an­a­lyst and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the US Cam­paign to End the Is­raeli Oc­cu­pa­tion. “Is­rael would have free rein to dom­i­nate the Pales­tini­ans for­ever and ever if there is no ex­ter­nal in­volve­ment.”


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