President Trump’s threat to cut-off aid to the Palestinians if their leaders don’t agree to peace talks is a brilliant move — a hardline negotiating tactic that will have a powerful effect on the Palestinians.
In the parlance of those of us who understand nothing about the intricacies of diplomacy, such a move is called a takeaway.
Making such a threat does everything to change the failed 50 year diplomatic impasse in the Middle East between the Jewish state whose founding came out of the ashes of the Holocaust.
Cries from the left about the demise of the failed diplomacy and the rise of a new one are classic and pathetic at the same time.
It is as if a drowning policy nearly sinking under the water must be rescued and resuscitated to make things right again or things simply aren’t the way they ought to be.
The president said that the Palestinian snub of Vice President Pence’s visit to Jerusalem had disrespected the United States — and he is right.
Using the Muslim standard for respect, the president tossed the respect ball back at the Palestinians. They are left holding the ball and nothing else in this instance.
The president declared Jerusalem “off the table” in negotiations after he declared the city the capital of Israel.
Whether or not this was right to do doesn’t matter. He did it. Now everyone married to the failed 50 year peace effort and pretending to be a diplomat has to live with the new reality.
Hamas and Hezbolla, the real rulers of the Palestinians who refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist must also live with this new reality.
What can they do but complain?
The president is saying to them that they must recognize Israel’s right to exist and sit at a table to discuss a plan for peace.
“They’re going to have to want to make peace,” the president said, “or we’re going to have nothing to do with them any longer.”
If you are an American and a Jew or an Israeli trying to get by in a world somewhat blind these days to the Holocaust or the full sweep of history, the president’s words are the like the utterings of a Messiah.
He has turned the moribund peace debate upside down for the Palestinians.
It does the same for the Israelis.
Obviously, the Israelis have promised to come to the peace table.
The Palestinians need to do the same.
“We’ll see what happens with the peace process but respect has to be shown to the US or we’re just not going further,” the president said.
What’s wrong about asking for respect to be shown to the US by a people striving for nationhood who refuse to recognize the Israeli state?
The US “remains deeply committed to helping the Israelis and Palestinians reach a historic peace agreement that brings a better future to both peoples,” Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Thursday. “But we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what’s needed to achieve peace. To get historic results, we need courageous leaders.”
The president said in Davos that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not forestall peace talks.
He said he had eliminated Jerusalem as a sticking point for a more comprehensive deal.
“I didn’t set it back, I helped it just by taking it off the table. That was the toughest issue,” he said. “And Israel will have to pay for that. Look, Israel, something’s going to happen, they’ll do something that’s going to be a very good thing. But they want to make peace, and I hope the Palestinians want to make peace, and if they do, everybody’s going to be very happy in the end.”