Trump: Giving Peace ‘A Shot’
The President of the United States could have worded his failure only just a little worse. He could have ‘taken a stab’ at peace negotiations before not moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
If I forget thee,
let my right hand forget her cunning.
King James Version
President of the United States, Donald Trump has just announced his permission for President of President of Narnia, Mahmoud Abbas with the kunya† Abu Mazen, to do what he does best – play for time.
Trump won’t fulfil his much-publicised promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem because he wants to give his plans for achieving a peace agreement in the Middle East a chance first.
He wants to give peace ‘a shot’.
This is despite Abbas declaring last week that he would continue to fund the families of Palestinians ‘martyrs’ who have been jailed by Israel. This should have warned Trump how determined Abbas was not to make any concessions.
It would not be irrational for Abbas to think that Donald Trump may not finish his term and, even if he does, probably will not be elected for a second. What’s another three years and three months of bluffing to a man still in office eight years after his elected term expired?
After playing with previous administration over his willingness for serious negotiations with Israel he shouldn’t find it too hard to sell ‘the Donald’ any number of time-wasting Brooklyn Bridges.
In the meantime he can continue his tactics of subsidising, inciting and possibly ordering terrorism against Israel. He has been joining international organisations, with some success and the American administration may be encouraged to abstain in the voting to keep the ‘talks’ going.
Here are some predictions for Abbas’s tactics.
- Demanding another settlement freeze as a condition for entering negotiations.
- Insisting on added non negotiable red lines before he is willing to sit. Look for full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank within four years, recognition of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and a “just and agreed upon” solution to the refugee issue.
- Adding extra demands T.B.D. How about release of terrorists or ‘safe passage’ between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority.
- Signalling for incentives from America and then still not delivering. More money???
- Quibbling about procedure. Will he accept Israeli negotiators in the same room? Will they shake hands for the cameras? Ask John Kerry about that.
- Quibbling about who will represent America. Given the attrition rate with Trump officials and advisors that could be an issue.
- Making time out for a war. Regrettably a war with Hezbollah that many predict for the summer would be the perfect reason for a delay. That’s not even taking account of the possibility that Abbas’s new best friends from Hamas might decide on opening a second front.
- American distractions. North Korea???
About the graphics
Many translations of Psalm 135:5 substitute ‘skill’ for ‘cunning’. I felt that the American announcement that removed any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate indicated that the cunning was already in the hands of the ‘kunyas’. So I stuck with the traditional version.
I was looking for a photograph to illustrate Donald Trump in Jerusalem when I discovered this one of him placing a request in a crack in the Western Wall (Kotel) with his right hand. Seemed appropriate.
The Hamsa amulet, is a popular symbol found throughout the Middle East and northern Africa, particularly within the Islamic and Jewish faiths. For some it provides defense against the evil eye. For others it is simply a decoration.
† Kunya is the name of an adult derived from his or her eldest child. BTW Yasser Arafat’s kunya was Abu Ammar, a name he adopted long before his only child, Zahwa, was born.