Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Miracle Didn’t Happen: Trump Never Said “Palestinian State”

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Miracle Didn’t Happen: Trump Never Said “Palestinian State”

Article excerpt

ANYONE UNFAMILIAR WITH the conflict might have thought, based on Donald Trump's visit and his warm words about Israelis' suffering, that the Palestinians were occupying and oppressing the Israelis. This wasn't due to Trump's usual inarticulateness, epitomized this time in the embarrassing "amazing" he scrawled in Yad Vashem's visitors book. His worldview, background and divisiveness all prime him to treat Israel as the victim (actual and potential).

Thus the miracle (or disaster) didn't occur; the U.S. president didn't say the words "Palestinian state." Perhaps in Israel a few cockeyed optimists expected him to say a bit more than schmaltz about peace and were disappointed. Many others, who feared that he would, breathed sighs of relief.

As for the Palestinians, sober after so many years of disappointments and unfulfilled promises, they expected no surprises from Trump. And as I've written before, for the Palestinian Authority's leaders, even maintaining the status quo and the protocols of respect were enough for now.

Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, spared its readers the sentence Trump uttered in Bethlehem, which the Israeli media highlighted: "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded or rewarded." The Ma'an news agency also skipped that sentence, which is obviously a slap in the face to the hunger-striking prisoners, their families and Palestinian society as a whole. Still, both Ma'an and Wafa mentioned Trump's statements about fighting terror. …

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