Three things that we should take away from yesterday’s meeting, as reported by the Jerusalem Post, between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which was focused mainly on a peace agreement.
Trump’s refraining from clearly saying that two states is the only way, while endorsing a wider regional approach, is a significant reset of the entire diplomatic process with the Palestinians.
One of the three major takeaways from the Trump-Netanyahu press conference on Wednesday in the White House: There will be differences between the two men because they are leaders of different countries, whose interests do not always intersect, but the differences will be dealt with very differently – as among friends, not rivals.
Obama’s tone, his demeanor at his first meeting, was almost that of a teacher telling a pupil what he has to do. Trump’s tone was friendlier, lighter.
The second major takeaway from the press conference was one of substance: Trump’s refusal to unequivocally endorse the two-state solution, even though US policy since president George W. Bush announced support for a Palestinian state in 2002.
That is a significant shift from what has become unquestionable, that the only solution is a two-state solution. Trump is essentially saying that he is open to entertaining ideas and approaches to the diplomatic process other than the ones that have been tried – and have failed – since the Oslo process began in 1993.
The third major takeaway is this administration’s endorsement of looking at a wider regional diplomatic process, as Netanyahu has been advocating for a number of years.
According to this idea, the sands in the Middle East have shifted fundamentally, and it will now be easier for Israel to reach understandings with the pragmatic Sunni states in the region – Egypt, Jordan, the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates. Once those understandings are reached, those countries will then nudge the Palestinians to be more flexible, which will make an Israeli-Palestinian deal more likely.
Former US secretary of state John Kerry dismissed this out of hand as unrealistic, saying the Arabs would never go for it. Not Trump; he wants to give the ideal a whirl.
“It is actually a much bigger deal. A much more important deal, in a sense; it would take in many, many countries, and cover a very large territory,” he said. “I think we have some pretty good cooperation from people who in the past would never, ever have thought about doing this.”
Much has been written in the last few days about how this first Trump-Netanyahu meeting – and the new, friendlier tone between the two leaders – will reset Israel-US relations after the rocky Obama years.
But more than a reset of Israel-US ties, Trump’s refraining from clearly saying that two states is the only way, while endorsing a wider regional approach, is a significant reset of the entire diplomatic process with the Palestinians.
It appears that new strategical efforts are being made towards a future peace agreement and it is absolutely necessary that we follow them because the specific peace agreement that we are looking for will begin the Final Seven Years before the Second Coming of Jesus and the Battle of Armageddon.