Locals hold vigil in support of Palestinian hunger strikers
May 08 2017 by Lorena Waters
On Wednesday, during a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, President Donald Trump expressed confidence that he would achieve what none of his predecessors have been able to.
Trump insisted he is "committed" to brokering an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that "allows both people to live, worship and thrive and prosper in peace".
Abbas echoed the conditions agreed to in the Oslo Peace Process that started in 1993 of a two-state solution for the creation of an independent Palestinian state and the right of return for refugees and freedom for prisoners in Israeli cells. Lauder, however, is among those who are still pushing Trump to try to make a deal, something he's shown significant interest in.
And though Mr. Trump said he'll "do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement" and declared a such a pact "maybe not as hard as people have thought", Israel should not be pressured to take the plunge if the security risks remain as they are now.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are now detained by Israel for a range of terror offenses and crimes.
Abbas said he believes the Trump administration can play an important role as a mediator, and the US president indeed restated his ambition to facilitate the deal that has eluded negotiators for over two decades. Even the appearance of normalized ties with Israel, at the expense of the Palestinians, would only serve to inflame extremists, while at the same time producing a propaganda boon for the Iranians. And a truly workable deal needs to be backed up with global support: with the United Nations still unabashedly anti-Israel, who would enforce Palestinian violations of a peace pact? For years, Palestinians have been disenchanted with Abbas's rule, but owing to his repeated cancellation of elections and long-running rule by presidential decree, they have been unable to cast a ballot for anyone else. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip, was named on Saturday to succeed Meshaal.
At first glance, the idea of two parties negotiating their differences sounds appealing as a non-violent means of dispute resolution. This gives the Israelis the quite reasonable excuse that there is no united Palestinian authority they can negotiate with.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015. Numerous neighboring Arab states, obsessed by their own much bigger security threats and civil wars, have been cooperating quietly with Israel for years now. There is no convincing reason why it can not last for another half-century, although there is bound to be an eruption of Palestinian resistance from time to time.