west bank Lucas Schifres/Getty Images

Trump the Peacemaker?

Over the last 50 years, Palestinians have tried virtually everything to escape Israel’s repressive occupation – from civil resistance to armed conflict to international diplomacy – to no avail. Now they will try something new: negotiating with Donald Trump.

MADRID – A half-century ago, Israel won the Six-Day War against its Arab neighbors, occupying territories from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank – and establishing its rule over millions of Palestinians. In the ensuing decades, Palestinians tried virtually everything to escape Israel’s repressive occupation – from civil resistance to armed conflict to international diplomacy – to no avail. Now they will try something new: negotiating with US President Donald Trump.

Every American president since 1967 has sought to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Bill Clinton offering the most thorough and judicious parameters for a peace settlement ever conceived by any foreign statesman. Yet Trump confidently asserts that he will “get done” an agreement, which he believes isn’t “as difficult as people have thought.”

Needless to say, not everyone is as optimistic as Trump. Israelis and Palestinians have largely lost hope that a mutually acceptable solution even exists. But the specter of a bi-national state locked in a permanent civil war has so far prevented the relevant actors from fully giving up. In fact, both the Palestinians and the Israeli left seem to have suddenly become infatuated with Trump, though that may signal their despair more than a real chance of a breakthrough.

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