The optimistic nature of Trump’s first foreign visit last month, with the aim of promoting harmony and halting the seemingly ceaseless bloodshed throughout the Middle East, is a hopeful but misplaced bid for peace.
In his own words, this presents a ‘rare opportunity’ as he tries to amass a coalition of Israel and Arab Gulf states to counter Iran’s incendiary nature, by acknowledging the country as a shared threat. Trump also intended to use the opportunity to drive forward a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Where so many have been unsuccessful, is it going to be the unlikely figure of Trump to make peace after half a century of failure?
This ganging up on Iran is a popular prospect among the Gulf States, and a tactful approach by President Trump. His emphatic and unwavering opposition to Iran gaining nuclear weapons, in what he described as the ‘worst deal ever‘, is also very welcome in the region. Iran is also the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism by providing weaponry and funds for Hezbollah and terrorist groups in Gaza — something that perpetuates regional violence and destabilises the region further. Trump utilised his first foreign visit as a platform to attack the damaging regime in Tehran in order to push for more cordial Israel-Arab relations and ultimately to attempt a peace deal.
Throughout Trump’s visit, he repeatedly spoke rather eloquently for the prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He spoke of an end to the bloodshed and suffering in order to create a better life for future generations. He also spoke of establishing a lasting peace deal in order to save lives on both sides of the conflict. This optimism was largely shared by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas as they both seemed hopeful about writing a new chapter of peace and leaving the history of bloodshed and suffering in the past. Mr Netanyahu said that the coalition against Iran would, ‘help reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians’. President Abbas also stated his commitment to a two-state solution, according to reports from The Telegraph.
However, is this deal likely to come to fruition? According to many Middle East experts, it still seems highly unlikely. Trump was quick to discuss the wonderful, life-changing benefits of a peace deal, yet failed to discuss the contentious, gory details of the concessions that need to happen for this to occur.
On the one hand, you have the Palestinian leadership which incites, funds and rewards terrorist attacks against Israelis. The PA spend $300 million a year to reward terrorists and their families. The PA name streets and public squares after these attackers, ensuring they become martyrs. The PA incite children from a young age to hate the Jewish State. Of course, for any lasting peace deal, this toxic policy of the Palestinian authority would need to be immediately halted.
On the other hand, you have the Israeli right who are promoting the ongoing building of settlements on what was partitioned to be Palestinian land. This inflammatory policy of the Israeli government drastically decreases the likelihood of a two-state solution and is used as propaganda to fuel further tension in the region.
On the whole, both sides will need to make tough concessions for this peace to occur — regardless of President Trump’s passionate and optimistic speeches. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a key issue for all American administrations to tackle, regretfully with little success over the last half century.
Trump’s approach in ganging up on Iran is likely to increase Arab-Israeli co-operation and ties, but without rooting out the cause of the conflict between Israel and Palestine it seems Trump’s passionate speeches will be in vain and his confidence misplaced.