Trump is good for the Jews
If anyone had any doubt that U.S. President Donald Trump would be good for Israel, the press conference in the White House before his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proved as much, despite the cries of “anti-Semitism in America” heard since Trump won the elections. A new era has begun in Washington, a much more refreshing one.
The press conference with Trump and Netanyahu was a U-turn from everything we have heard, known, understood and considered for decades.
For the most part, the ideas of the two-state solution for peace, road maps, multilateral negotiations, international initiatives, threats of sanctions against Israel, fingers of blame pointed at the settlements, have become irrelevant, or at best, secondary.
Not only have the eight years of the Obama administration become history, even Bill Clinton’s era now sounds obsolete and detached from reality. Trump has left the 1993 Oslo Accords and peace initiatives to the archaeologists, and his administration works with a new formula. And while the Israeli Left will surely frown upon this formula, only time will tell of the Israeli Right will fully subscribe to it.
By and large, Israel has a friend in the White House, and Wednesday’s news conference illustrated that. While no one can truly promise peace between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach, peace certainly awaits us with the White House. After eight years of Barack Obama, that is significant.
One can conclude from the press conference that Trump enjoys the backing of the Persian Gulf states for a regional peace initiative. Farsighted Trump hopes for peace in the region, as he said in his interview with Israel Hayom last week, and while he does not have a clear formula, he has done his homework, providing a statement that will most likely become a classic: “I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like.”
The Saudis will play a part, as Trump’s new vision will prompt them to once again introduce their peace initiative. In this respect, Jerusalem must clarify which points in the Saudi initiative are problematic. The idea is good, but its implementation less so. The Iranian threat will goad both parties to compromise, but not necessarily at Israel’s expense — and that’s the big change of the Trump era.
Trump admitted that “I thought for a while the two-state [solution] looked like it may be the easier of the two, but … if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.” In other words, the idea of a Palestinian state met a serious obstacle. The Palestinians’ persistent refusal when it comes to recognizing Israel as the Jewish state may have caused them to miss the boat.
There may be another solution for the regional conflict and many other options can be considered as the cards have been re-dealt. All in all, one can conclude that the idea of two-state solution is in its final days, and no doctor in Washington can revive it.
Trump is far more attentive to Israel’s security needs. For him, Iran and jihadist terrorism are enemies against which he must fight and win. The Palestinian Authority’s education to terrorism is problematic and dangerous, and Trump is more than willing to call Islamic terrorism by its name.
Trump believes Israel and the Palestinians both must compromise to achieve peace. This too is a new approach, as we were used to only Israel having to make concessions. Now the onus lies on the Palestinians as well.
The issue of settlements obviously came up. While Trump does not believe that the settlements are an obstacle to peace, he stated he would “like to see you [Israel] hold back on settlements for a little bit … but I would like to see a deal be made.”
Some will underscore the “hold back” part, but after eight years of Obama, we can focus on the “little bit.” Each one left the White House with what he wanted to hear.
There were some who left the press conference on Wednesday and said that Trump does not understand and has no clear doctrine on how to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Trump wants to make a deal, even if he has yet to figure out exactly how to do it. Maybe this is actually a good thing. We have seen where the various peace experts have gotten us.
We can breathe a sigh of relief. The president is a friend. A true one.