Palestinians try to Assess the Meaning of a Trump Presidency

Here in the region, it’s not unexpected to see pundits working overtime to predict what the Trump Middle East policy will be or who will represent the new administration in the Middle Eastern capitals and United Nations. On the Israeli side, the political right is, by and large, viewing the Trump victory as a win for the home team while left-wing politicos appear to be more representative of the American right-left split. Palestinians, too, have a lot at stake, but virtually all along the political spectrum speculation the analysis begins with the presumption that any American government will be pro-Israel and the best the Palestinians can hope for is a president who is a leader who will use his relationship with the Jewish state to find the peace deal that eluded his predecessors. An excellent case-in-point is what Palestinian columnist Ramzy Baroud wrote for the Ma’an news agency: “For Palestinians, however, the signs are even more ominous. From former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani to Republican leader Newt Gingrich, the Trump team is filling up with dishonorable men who have made careers out of pandering to Israeli interests and unabashedly discounting Palestinian rights.” Baroud included President Obama among the “Israel-first” crowd, writing, “The Obama administration, despite the uneasy relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been one of the friendliest and most generous towards Israel. Obama has remained steadfast on Israel’s side as they both fought against Palestinian political aspirations in international institutions.” One hopes that the interest in being the one who brokers peace expressed several times by President-elect Trump over the past several days augurs well for the region.

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