Trump is in for a rude awakening in Middle East

The Trump administration's extreme approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is making a difficult situat...

Posted: Sep 17, 2018 7:11 AM
Updated: Sep 17, 2018 7:11 AM

The Trump administration's extreme approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is making a difficult situation far worse.

Since at least the early 1990s, there has been broad agreement among Israelis, Palestinians and the entire international community that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through a negotiated two-state agreement.

Conflicts and wars

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Gaza

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations

International relations and national security

Israel

Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

North America

Palestinian Territory

Political Figures - US

Refugees

The Americas

United States

Unrest, conflicts and war

US federal government

West Bank

White House

The parties may have been sharply divided on many of the issues that need to be settled in such negotiations -- but at least they agreed on that.

Now, President Donald Trump is taking a wrecking ball to the very concept of negotiations. He seems to be advancing a delusional narrative that a peace agreement can be imposed on the Palestinians -- mimicking the way that Israel's right-wing settlement movement has acted for years to impose its own policies on the Palestinians and entrench its occupation and control over the West Bank.

One of the first major signs of this drastic change in the US approach was when Trump broke decades of bipartisan US policy by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, declaring at the time and on several occasions since that he had taken the issue of Jerusalem "off the table."

There are new reports that the administration is about to seek to redefine who it regards as a Palestinian refugee so that he can take that issue off the table as well. They are expected to drastically reduce the amount of Palestinian refugees the United States will recognize.

It would accomplish this by declaring that it no longer accepts the definition of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the UN body responsible for dealing with Palestinian refugees, which states that refugee status is passed from one generation to the next.

The United States already took a major step in this direction by announcing earlier this month that it would cancel all funding to UNRWA -- which normally totals over $100 million annually. That drastic move follows the announcement in August that the administration would cut virtually the entirety of direct bilateral aid to the Palestinian people, most of which supports vital humanitarian and economic projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

And in a move to further silence and marginalize Palestinian voices, the Trump administration announced this week that it would close the main mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the United States, effectively removing any Palestinian diplomatic presence from Washington.

All this appears to be the prelude to the long-awaited unveiling of the so-called "peace plan" being worked on by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. But by declaring that two of the core issues to be negotiated by the parties -- Jerusalem and refugees -- are no longer on the table, Trump has essentially removed the table itself. There is virtually nothing left for the Palestinians to negotiate. This is no peace plan at all -- it's a peace sham.

This approach fits perfectly into two other dominant themes of the Trump presidency. First, a callous disregard of the needs of refugees, and open cruelty toward them -- women and children included.

Cutting UNRWA funds and bilateral aid is not an abstraction. It means depriving desperate people in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza of food, employment, education and health care. But what would one expect from an administration that had no qualms about ripping toddlers and infants from the arms of their parents, who crossed the US border with Mexico seeking asylum?

Secondly, it fits into Trump's general approach to international relations. He apparently sees little value in meaningful diplomacy and negotiation. Instead, his method is invariably to try to bully other parties, whether friends or adversaries, into doing what he wants. We've seen it in trade issues with China and the European community; we've seen it in relations with our NATO allies. We've seen with the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump irresponsibly ripped up. And now we're seeing it with the Palestinians.

On many of these issues, Trump is due for a rude awakening. No matter how powerful the United States is, it cannot so easily enforce its will on other nations and peoples. Palestinian nationhood has been forged through conflict and suffering over many decades and there is no way they will simply surrender their legitimate rights.

Trump's policy is actually much more likely to hurt Israel by taking the two-state solution off the table, leaving Palestinians and the international community no alternative but to demand equal democratic rights for all people living under one state. That would mean the end of a Jewish majority in Israel and the end of Israel itself as a Jewish homeland.

Trump and his supporters should beware the law of unintended consequences. The rest of us should fiercely oppose this cruel and destructive policy.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3967

Reported Deaths: 148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah105258
Marion91425
Washington69817
Clackamas29610
Deschutes1200
Linn1159
Umatilla1123
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill667
Jackson600
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Coos310
Malheur280
Josephine251
Douglas250
Jefferson240
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Crook60
Curry60
Union60
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 99387

Reported Deaths: 3819
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles478452145
Riverside7139303
San Diego6797249
Orange5578131
San Bernardino4567176
Alameda298693
Santa Clara2675139
San Francisco239940
San Mateo190482
Kern187629
Tulare177179
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno148222
Contra Costa135337
Imperial135224
Sacramento131056
Ventura91230
San Joaquin77133
Kings6882
Stanislaus65928
Sonoma5154
Solano45520
Monterey4298
Marin41714
Merced2687
San Luis Obispo2631
Santa Cruz2002
Yolo19822
Placer1889
Napa1093
Humboldt942
Madera852
El Dorado780
San Benito762
Sutter422
Nevada411
Butte400
Del Norte400
Shasta364
Mono341
Yuba281
Mendocino220
Inyo191
Mariposa161
Lake140
Calaveras140
Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Plumas40
Lassen40
Tuolumne30
Tehama31
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 78°
Brookings
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 65°
Grants Pass
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 73°
Klamath Falls
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 65°
Hot week, stormy weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Smoke expected through today

Image

Fighting fires during coronavirus

Image

Nate Bittle is gearing up for his senior year

Image

Search and rescue adjusts to a pandemic

Image

Tuesday, May 26th Evening Weather

Image

Search and Rescue teams adjust their jobs during the pandemic

Image

Anywhere Learning: Read-aloud - Sarah, Plain and Tall, Part 2

Image

Anywhere Learning: Mystery Adventure, Part 2

Image

Anywhere Learning: All About Family

Image

Anywhere Learning: Mystery Adventure, Part 1