Tags: Israel | Middle East | Trump Administration | trump | mideast team | facilitate | not dictate

Trump's Middle East Team: Goal Is to 'Facilitate, Not Dictate, a Lasting Peace Agreement'

Image: Trump's Middle East Team: Goal Is to 'Facilitate, Not Dictate, a Lasting Peace Agreement'
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shake hands during a joint news conference at the East Room of the White House February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 12 Nov 2017 10:24 AM

President Donald Trump and his advisers are developing “the ultimate deal” to end the intractable Israel-Palestinian conflict — one based on a two-state solution that’ll go beyond previous frameworks offered by the U.S. government, The New York Times reported.

According to the Times, Trump’s team of Middle East peacemaking neophytes has studied the issue for the last 10 months and is ready to address the status of Jerusalem and settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“We have spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with the Israelis, Palestinians and key regional leaders over the past few months to help reach an enduring peace deal,” Jason Greenblatt, the president’s chief negotiator, told the Times.

“We are not going to put an artificial timeline on the development or presentation of any specific ideas and will also never impose a deal. Our goal is to facilitate, not dictate, a lasting peace agreement to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians and security across the region.”

Trump’s team — the president early on assigned the peace-deal effort to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser — is hoping the time is right, and point to an increased willingness by Arab states to finally solve the issue to refocus attention on their common threat, Iran, the Times reported.

Along with Kushner and Greenblatt, the core team drafting the plan includes Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser, and David Friedman, the ambassador to Israel — and they freely admit they’re pro-Israel, the Times reported.

“They are trying to think out of the box,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a trip to London this month, the Times reported.

There’s plenty of skepticism, the Times reported.

“There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to Middle East peace,” Philip Gordon, a White House Middle East coordinator under former President Barack Obama, told the Times.

“When you get into these details, that’s when you come up against the strong objections of the two sides. If they don’t want it to be dead on arrival, they may wind up with vague principles, but as we’ve seen, even vague principles are beyond what the parties are willing to embrace.”

But one analyst thinks the “biggest impediment” for the team will be Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas themselves.

“Ultimately, both Netanyahu and Abbas just have this long, long history and they’ve played this game really well,” Grant Rumley, a scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Times.

“And they don’t trust each other and I don’t think they will ever get to the point where they will trust each other.”

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President Donald Trump and his advisers are developing "the ultimate deal" to end the intractable Israel-Palestinian conflict - one based on a two-state solution that'll go beyond previous frameworks offered by the U.S. government, The New York Times reported.
trump, mideast team, facilitate, not dictate, lasting peace
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2017-24-12
Sunday, 12 Nov 2017 10:24 AM
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