Donald Trump betrays his dangerous ignorance of the situation concerning the relationships between Israel and Palestine and indicates US disengagement from attempts to negotiate a settlement ( Peter Beaumont, 'Trump casts aside decades of Middle East diplomacy in one sentence', Guardian Wednesday 15 February 2017).
But it was in what the neophyte president did not say – and perhaps does not even understand – that the real substance lay. Gone was any talk about Palestinian ambitions for a state. Instead, Trump’s remarks reinforced the inherent asymmetry in the two parties’ positions. Israel is a state with widespread international recognition. It has a powerful military and is a technological power. Crucially, it is the occupier of the Palestinian territories, an occupation now entering its 50th year, which has seen continued Jewish settlement building and settlement announcements – 6,000 since Trump’s inauguration. With America’s withdrawal as a shaping force, the negotiation devolves to a non-process between an occupying body that doesn’t really want to end its occupation, and an occupied body with little leverage outside of the international support for its cause. That is not all. In other aspects, Trump’s comments were deeply contradictory, showing an apparent ignorance of the subject he was addressing.