Monday, May 22, 2017

Next MAJOR PEACE MOVE: Bereft of meat, Trump declarations leave Israel with much to chew on

Bereft of meat, Trump declarations leave Israel with much to chew on: Heavy on symbolic gestures, short on substance, US president’s baffling first day in Jewish state deepens mystery of how he’ll achieve his stated goal of the ‘ultimate deal’

Netanyahu and Trump complimented and thanked each other for their respective willingness to seek peace. But neither gave any public indication of how exactly they were going about achieving any progress on that front. Trump and Netanyahu both avoided endorsing Palestinian statehood or the idea of “two states for two peoples” (though, in contrast to the February 14 White House press conference, Trump did not say he would be also be fine with a one-state solution).

“I thank the prime minister for his commitment to pursuing the peace process,” Trump said. “He’s working very hard at it. It’s not easy. I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling that we’re going to get there eventually, I hope.”

On Sunday, the Israel cabinet approved a series of steps — call them goodwill gestures — geared at improving the daily lives of Palestinians and boosting the economy in the West Bank. Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office explained that the administration had asked for something Trump can show to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when they meet Tuesday morning in Bethlehem.

On Tuesday, Trump will meet Abbas for a second time in less than a month, before he returns to Jerusalem to deliver a speech at the Israel Museum. Judging by Trump’s public statements so far — which were full of warm words for Israel, but bereft of political or diplomatic meat — it seems unlikely that his speech will contain any bombshells. He is unlikely to announce a move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem or formally recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

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