How sure is US to help Israel and the Palestinians reach peace?

Source
China Military
Editor
Huang Panyue
Time
2017-05-05
The U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas after their statements in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

BEIJING, May 5 (ChinaMil) -- The US President Donald Trump held talks with the visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday at the White House and they delivered a joint television speech.

Trump committed the United States to helping Israel and the Palestinians reach peace and said that this goal is "very likely" to achieve.

The Palestine-Israel issue has always been a central difficulty of the US’ Middle East policies, pointed out analysts. Trump's predecessor Obama made a huge amount of effort to solve it, yet without success.

Despite Trump’s positive note, he did not give specific measures and approaches. Therefore, how likely will the "very likely" in his words be remains difficult to finalize a conclusion.

Plump dream

Trump expressed his confidence in realizing Palestinian-Israeli peace in his speech. He said that the Palestine-Israel conflict has continued for a long time, but "we will get it done and I think this is very, very likely to achieve."

Trump said that any country, including the United States, cannot impose peace agreements on Palestine and Israel, and that Palestine and Israel should work together to achieve peaceful coexistence.

He is willing to "take all necessary means" to mediate between Palestine and Israel and play a role of arbitration to make the two parties reach an agreement. However, Trump did not elaborate on concrete steps or programs to achieve Palestinian-Israeli peace.

Abbas also expressed his confidence in peace-making between Palestine and Israel. He praised Trump for having "extraordinary negotiating skills" and that he was "convinced" that it is “possible” to work out the ultimate solution to the long-term conflicts between Palestine and Israel.

Abbas also firmly reiterated the Palestine’s consistent position, saying that "it is time" to end Israel’s50-year-long occupation of Palestinian lands and halt construction of Jewish settlements.

He made it clear that the Palestinian “strategic option” is to achieve peace based on the "Two-State Solution", that is, the peaceful coexistence of the State of Palestine established based on the border rules in 1967 with East Jerusalem as the capital, and Israel.

The Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh expressed that the talks between leaders of the two countries are "an important opportunity" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieve peace, and Trump's determination to promote the peace cause in the Middle East should be praised.

Skinny reality

In order to embolden himself for the talks with Trump and to show more sincerity, Abbas made full preparation before the visit to Washington.

Externally, Abbas traveled to Cairo and Amman to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el- Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II to coordinate their positions.

Internally, Abbas put pressure on the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), which launched a new political document on May 1 to accept the establishment of a sovereign-independent State of Palestine with territorial integrity based on the border rules in 1967.

Analysts pointed out that Trump and Abbas's positions are undoubtedly positive, but positive attitudes and positions are far from enough.

Restarting the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks faces many obstacles, and it is even harder to achieve peace.

Dennis Ross, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argues that the Palestinian-Israeli relationship is now at a low level, with a wide gap between the two sides, and that the peace-making endeavor is difficult to make progress in a short time.

But leaders of the United States and Palestine both expressed the possibility of breaking the deadlock and achieving the goal, which is the meaning of the meeting, he added.

Robert Danin, a senior research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said it is surprising that Trump's speech did not mention the steps and approaches for achieving peace between Palestine and Israel at all.

Trump apparently has underestimated the complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and seemed to take it for granted that as long as he served as a mediator, Palestine and Israel would be able to negotiate efficiently and complete the previously frustrated peace process, Danin said.

Abbas has repeatedly stressed the prerequisite for resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks: a timetable for ending the Israeli occupation and for founding of the State of Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also raised two conditions for future peace talks during his visit to the United States earlier this year: the Palestinian side should recognize the status of Israel’s status as a Jewish state and agree with Israel’s control over the security situation in the region as a whole.

Trump also made a requirement for the Palestinian side when he met with Abbas: stop providing assistance and pension funds to families of Palestinian "prisoners" who were detained in Israeli prisons and families of those Palestinian "martyrs" killed in the attacks.

Some report said that this part of subsidy added up to US$ 300 million a year, or about 10 percent of the Palestinian government budget.

Analysts believe that it seems difficult for Palestine to accept the conditions of Israel and the United States. Even if the United States does not insist on its own conditions, it is difficult to bridge the differences between the two sides in the short term. In this case, if the United States insists on direct talks between the two sides, the result is likely to be a fruitless breakup in discord.

Disclaimer: The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are Zhou Erjie and Liu Liwei from the Xinhua News Agency and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.

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