In a January, 23 2019 piece for Lawfare, “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is Not a Bankruptcy Sale,” POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Andrew Miller examines the Trump’s administration’s latest take on the “deal of the century” and its effects on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise call for early elections in April, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman indicated that the release of the Trump administration’s much ballyhooed “deal of the century” would be postponed several months. After working on this peace plan for close to two years, President Trump’s team is probably disappointed by yet another delay, but Israel’s early elections may prove a blessing in disguise. U.S. negotiators have indicated that they have approached peace talks from a business perspective, but this fundamentally misunderstands the conflict and the Palestinian national movement.
This approach is unsurprising given the background of the president and his negotiators, all of whom come from the world of New York real estate. But a bankruptcy sale is a poor analogue for a national conflict, and international politics cannot be easily reduced to a commercial transaction. While the Trump administration can make life more difficult for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. pressure is highly unlikely to force the Palestinians to concede on their longstanding red lines for an end-of-conflict settlement. Three major differences between the worlds of business and foreign affairs help explain why this is the case.
It is clear that President Trump’s proposal will not be the “deal of the century.” But if it disqualifies the United States from playing a future role in promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace it could prove to be one of the follies of the century. Trump and his negotiating team have shelved their ill-conceived “peace” plan while awaiting Israeli elections. It should stay shelved for good.
Read the full article here.
Photo: Shealah Craighead/White House