Why Trump Might be Good for Palestine

By   /   February 26, 2017  /   7 Comments

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Strangely, though, some Palestinians see cause for hope in a Trump Presidency. This might seem counter-intuitive, but there are some real, albeit highly cynical, reasons for believing this optimistic minority might be onto something. Here are three things to think about:

So far, Donald Trump has been a total disaster for Palestine. Even before he took office, the Israeli right’s glee could barely be contained as they rushed to approve over 6,000 new settlement units and retrospectively legalize 16 West Bank outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land. Since taking office, Trump has announced he would freeze $250 million in Palestinian aid, nominated a pro-settlement ambassador to Israel, promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and, following his meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu last week, declared that America is no longer committed to a two-state solution.

Rather than hatred brewing here in Palestine over the new President, the tone is mainly one of indifference. For most locals, foreign leaders come and go and what they say or don’t say, do or don’t do about Palestine makes little difference to their lives, which continue to worsen under what is now 50 years of occupation. Strangely, though, some Palestinians see cause for hope in a Trump Presidency. This might seem counter-intuitive, but there are some real, albeit highly cynical, reasons for believing this optimistic minority might be onto something. Here are three things to think about:

1) Trump might have finally killed the two-state solution. For decades now, the framework for all international peace efforts in Israel/Palestine has been the two-state solution. It was an imperfect, although perhaps workable, solution to begin with, but as time has passed, the expansion of Israeli settlements, the stubborn refusal of Israel to further implement the Oslo Accords and, let’s be honest here, the mess that the Palestinian Authority has made of its limited level of self-governance have consigned the two-state solution to the graveyard of well-intentioned ideas. Yet it continues to dominate the discourse, making it more of a hindrance than a help. Advancing the two-state solution has allowed world leaders’ (including Israel’s and arguably Palestine’s too) to engage in a charade of attempting to resolve the situation without achieving anything at all. I wouldn’t dare guess what Trump had in his mind when he vocalized his indifference to the two-state solution. But, regardless of his motivations, if his statement does lead to the final extinguishing of this idea, it will remove a big blockage to peace and stimulate new thinking on what a sustainable solution for the Holy Land might look like.

2) Trump’s America can’t pretend to be an honest broker. A fundamental flaw in peace negotiations has been America’s central role. I am not in the camp of those who believe that America’s self-servience mean it should never have a brokerage role to play in international relations. But, when it comes to Israel/Palestine, the United States is the least objective country on the planet. As Noam Chomsky put it “Negotiations organized by the USA… makes about as much sense as if Iran was called upon to mediate the Shia/Sunni conflict in Iraq.” Trump, though, might be the first President to openly acknowledge his Israel-bias or, at the very least, pull down the very thing curtain of rhetoric that has allowed previous White Houses to maintain an objective pretence. This may make it easier for America to step (or be pushed) aside to let someone else take the lead. As a friend of mine from Ramallah put it, “In many ways, we prefer a man like Trump. With him, at least we know where we stand.”

3) Trump-induced chaos might be preferable to the gridlocked status quo. Chaos has been the key word to describe the Presidency so far. We’ve seen it play out in numerous domestic issues already and it’s the same in the Middle East. In the cauldron that is Israeli and Palestinian politics, international diplomacy is a huge steadying influence. In both Ramallah and Jerusalem, political leaders have one eye to the nods or head-shakes of the international community, especially the Americans, for every move they make. At the present moment, though, no-one knows what Trump is thinking (neither do American diplomats I’ve spoken to). Is Trump actually giving Netanyahu carte blanche on settlement expansion or does he fear that every time he picks up the phone it will be Donald Trump telling him he’s changed his mind? Do American diplomats start construction on a new embassy or do they renew the lease on the existing one? Does Mahmoud Abbas have a line to the US embassy or will he be shunned as a terrorist? It’s early days in the Trump Presidency, of course, but as many commentators are saying, confusion and uncertainty might well be President Trump’s modus operandi. Such chaos could create a gridlock of its own or, worse, create a downward spiral of turbulence that leads only to further violence (likely to be exacerbated by similar confusion elsewhere in the region). But, for many Palestinians, these risks might be preferable to the inertia of the status quo. As another friend of mine put it, “Obama loved to act tough with Netanyahu, but what did he achieve? Hilary loves to negotiate. But, we are tired of endless talk while settlements are built and our children sit in Israeli jails. With Trump, we know he hates us from the start, but he is also crazy. Maybe a bit of craziness from the Americans is exactly what we need.”

 

The Nomad is a NZer who works overseas and blogs here anonymously as his host government is not exactly a big fan of free speech.

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7 Comments

  1. esoteric pineapples says:

    I was wondering why Trump was being surprisingly neutral position on a one or two state solution until I remembered that he is anti-Semetic and his advisors like Bannon even more so. Same goes for Christian fundamentalist Vice President Pence.

    • cagey says:

      If you watch the press conference with Benjamin Netenyahu it’s pretty clear he didn’t understand what the one or two state solution is ( Netenyahu actually has a bit of a laugh about it). I don’t think he was being neutral – he was being uninterested. As I’ve said since before he was elected – look who surrounds him and you’ll see where he’ll stand.

  2. WILD KATIPO says:

    Well , we do know that Trump doesn’t have a particular amiability with international globalism. Nor they with him.

    Poor Rothschild’s… seems they wont be making the massive returns on carrying on the constant state of warfare they thought they might have with Trump in power…

    A bit like the Clinton Foundation can no longer be a conduit for moneys from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco to purchase American made arms to be redistributed to Sunni ISIS – ISIS being Sunnis just like the country’s that are/were supporting them.

    America dodges a bullet with the demise of that cozy little relationship…

    And the good news for Trump?… unlike Obama he doesn’t have to sign off every Tuesday for drone guided missile strikes to take the lives of innocent men , women and children.

    And ,… we all know about the ‘ balance of power’ so important to these globalists…

    And we all are well aware of Hegelian Dialectics… you know… the one about ‘ thesis’ , ‘antithesis’ and ‘solution ‘ ? …

    Now… what happens to all that emotional energy if one player refuses to play the game ?…well ,… for one thing… the non player doesn’t get to be branded as having an extreme influence… similar to Trump basically saying … ” its time these nations start to pay more for their own military upkeep and security ‘…

    Ouch.

    That’s gotta hurt.

    Poor Europe. Poor NATO.

    ” If they want to have their little squabbles, let them… were not playing ball and running to every sniffle they make anymore ”… essentially.

    So now… maybe there is no two state solution . Now,… perhaps because of that ,… Israel is forced to recognize just how brutal its being to an ethnic group within their borders…. and if they don’t?… the international community can continually lambaste them for it.

    Ouch.

    No more state of the art American manufactured arms to talk tough with?

    Or perhaps their favorite imported brand of Bagels will be in short supply and they will have to start eating halal instead ?

    So perhaps again , those poor impoverished Rothschild’s luck out on yet another American President playing the game and listening to the Council on Foreign Relations … and the BilderBergers etc, etc , etc…

    Its all so up in the air and complete chaos… so who knows?

    I’m sure there’s one person who knows exactly who’s toes hes treading on and that he knows they really are not enjoying the experience.

    So , so long Frank Lloyd Wright ,…

    And so long Jake ‘ the Muss’ Rothschild ( 4th Baron Rothschild )

    We never did actually like your bully boy Jacob Frank version of extreme Zionism , anyways….

    Toorah , poppet.

    • cagey says:

      One point – Palatine is not an ethnic group within Israel’s borders but a sovereign state that Israel has been invading – bit by bit -for 50 years.

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        Erm…

        1) There are ‘ Palestinians’ currently within Israel and areas they have ‘ annexed ‘ …

        2) Speaking in terms of a one state versus a two state ‘ solution’ …and in terms of Israels current aggressive land ‘ acquisitions ‘ …

        Without splitting hairs about it… this is what I meant, on a ‘people’ level… not necessarily on any formally recognized or de facto political boundary’s…

        Basically … as Palestinians who happen to live in both of the current areas and are getting the rough end of the stick.


 
Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,