Palestinian diplomat calls Trump effort “failure-of-the-century”
An opinion piece published in the Israeli daily Haaretz has publicly articulated what many have expressed privately: that it is problematic that the Trump administration peacemaking team is comprised of “American Jews” who are “committed right-wing Zionists.”
Referring to Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman, senior Arab-Israeli parliamentarian Ahmad Tibi stressed that Trump’s team opposed the two-state solution, and identified with the most recalcitrant sectors of the US Republican Party.
Speaking to The Media Line, Tibi downplayed the implicit problem of having American Jews as negotiators, but reiterated what has been a concern of the pro-Palestinian street since the make-up of the new president’s team was clear: that the extremist right-wing background of the three envoys to the Middle East was a big validation of the Palestinians’ assertion that none of them was qualified to mediate the peace process or even participate in it.
“They have a long history of supporting the illegal settlements politically and financially,” he elaborated. “It’s not about the fact that they are all Jews, but [about] how extremist they are.”
He explained further that there were many moderate Jews with “logical” points of view in the US, but for some reason the American administration led by Trump appointed the current “right-wing” envoys.
“They aim to bury the Palestinian national project, destroying the Palestinian dream of establishing a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and eliminating Palestinian rights,” he said.
Tibi pointed out that Trump’s Mideast team had redirected White House policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “to fully support Netanyahu’s approach in the area.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh affirmed to The Media Line that the PA was not judging the issues from a religious perspective but rather from a political one.
“We deal with the American administration team as a representative of American policy, not religions or beliefs,” he stated.
Although, he added, the current team of envoys espoused exactly the same ideas as the Israelis, and “sometimes worse.” ”They managed to manipulate their president [into believing] that removing the Jerusalem file off the negotiation table would solve the issue; the ignorant thoughts they adopted made the situation worse,” he said.
To that end, Abu Rudeineh asserted, the approach Trump’s team of envoys had taken since the beginning of their assignment had created an obvious gap between them and their president.
“Trump believes in the two-state solution, but his team definitely does not.”
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Moreover, he confirmed that the PA had a solid position on dealing with any American administration “based on the two-state solution that ensures a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
In a recent interview by The Media Line with Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, Erekat described Trump’s team to the Middle East as “biased.”
He explained that if the peace process had come to mean considering the PLO a terrorist organization, cutting aid to Palestinian refugees, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and declaring that the settlements were no longer illegal, then “the American administration has managed to put me in a position as a negotiator where I have nothing to lose,” he said.
“It’s the failure-of-the-century, not the deal-of-the-century,” Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian mission to the United States told The Media Line. He maintained that the American administration’s team to the Middle East had turned the “ultimate deal” into the “ultimate failure” by adopting Netanyahu’s ideology while lacking knowledge and experience in politics.
“The Israeli prime minister overwhelmed them [the American Mideast envoys] with huge strategic mistakes,” said Zomlot, referring to moving the US embassy and cutting aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency as “hearing one side of the story without the other.”
He clarified that throughout the years the historical American position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was for the two-state solution on the basis of international resolutions. Zomlot opined further that the “sudden change” in American policy did not represent the American mainstream or US public opinion.
Recently, in a rare interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds – during a five-country regional tour with his collogue Greenblatt to the Middle East – Kushner insisted on the importance of finding a solution that protected Palestinian dignity and achieved a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. Kushner said that the “deal-of-the-century” would be ready “soon,” offering that the American administration was almost done formulating it.
However, he wasn’t sure if Abbas had “the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal,” he said.