Donald Trump will never make the Middle East Peace Deal of the Century that he’s been bragging about. Here’s 10 reasons why.
1. He is unprepared. He has no serious plan. He is lazy, has a tiny attention span, little interest in learning the issues and less intellectual curiosity – guarantees for failure. His gut instincts won’t work here.
2. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not another real estate deal, and he can’t bully the two sides into an agreement they don’t want.
3. This is no job for amateurs. He has shut out experienced diplomats and other experts, many because they once criticized candidate Trump. He wants sycophants, not specialists.
4. He may really think his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is “a good boy” but he’s in over his head. So are his former lawyers from his previous business, notably David Friedman, who opposes Palestinian statehood and has called Jews who don’t share his anti-Palestinian extremism “Kapos.
5. Israeli and Palestinian leaders are no more interested in making peace with each other than flying to Rome to enter the Catholic priesthood. Their only goal here is to avoid being blamed when the Trump initiative crashes in a fury of finger-pointing POTUS tweets.
6. Bibi Netanyahu is preoccupied with staying out of prison. He could be indicted on sundry corruption charges any day now. His wife, too. He promised voters in the last election there will be no Palestinian state so long as he is prime minister. That’s a rare promise he wants to keep. He has tied himself inextricably to the religious and nationalist rejectionists in order to keep his hold on power
7. Mahmoud Abbas is 82, in poor health, has lower approval ratings than Trump and has no heir apparent. The fight for his succession could be bloody, and no one will be running on a peace ticket. He’s more interested in delegitimizing the Jewish state than in working for reconciliation. He’s been leading a campaign to spread the lie that there is no connection between the Jews and Jerusalem’s Temple Mount or Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs
8. The Palestinians can’t make peace with each other, so how do they expect to make peace with Israel? It is more than a family squabble. Each is determined to destroy the other. The secular Fatah recognizes Israel and supports a two-state solution, at least in theory, while the Islamist Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the United States and Israel, seeks the eradication of the Jewish state.
9. Arab leaders may be tired of the conflict and ready to deal with Israel, but they’re not going to step up to help break the impasse. They reject Netanyahu’s call for an “outside-in” arrangement which calls for the Arab nations and Israel make peace first, and the Palestinians will have cover and motivation to cut a deal of their own. They don’t trust Netanyahu to follow through and cut a reasonable deal with the Palestinians. The Arab leaders also know that there is strong public support in their countries for the Palestinians and they won’t risk being accused of selling them out.
10. Kushner himself admits there’s little hope Team Trump will succeed. Speaking off-the-record to Congressional interns last week, he confessed, “There may be no solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Not a lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years we’ve been doing this,” said the inexperienced and uninformed envoy, revealing why he is unqualified and incompetent. No one apparently told him about the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, the disengagement agreements with Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian progress.
Making peace is not a hobby for well-meaning millionaires. Failure won’t be all Trump’s fault, but his boasting has irresponsibly built-up expectations, and that will make his inevitable failure all the more dangerous. This episode could end in a whimper or a bang, a very big and bloody bank. And all of Trump’s tweets blaming others won’t absolve him.