Donald Trump is preparing for his visit to Israel on May 22nd, his first trip overseas as president.
On several occasions, President Trump has announced his commitment to brokering a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, the “ultimate deal,” as he called it.
We take the president at his words. And as we stated in a recent press release, if Trump takes serious action to pursue a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, APN will leverage its influence and experience to support him.
In order to be an effective, credible broker, President Trump will have to push both sides – Israelis and Palestinians – to take actions that build trust and that don’t slam the door on a future peace deal.
Expectations of the Palestinian leadership to foster an environment conducive to peace are imperative and obviously justified, but President Trump must realize that the conflict is asymmetrical, that Israel holds almost all the cards, and most importantly, that Israel has the capacity to create irreversible facts on the ground that could make a two-state solution impossible.. Because the government of Israel is using its control of the West Bank to create such facts on the ground in the form of settlements, it is incumbent upon President Trump to demand a complete halt to settlement construction, both in “distant” settlements and in those adjacent to the pre-1967 Green Line.
Stopping settlement construction would serve to lower the flames of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, to restore a modicum of much-needed trust for the sake of credible, viable peacemaking effort, and to prevent brick and mortar from jeopardizing a future peace deal.