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Trump stands alone in his faith in Middle East peace pact

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Gerardo Zavala, Associate Editor

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Confidence, as President Trump has not learned, doesn’t breed success as a president; it sets him up for failure.

Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met at the White House Wednesday to discuss peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump confidently vowed to achieve what over two decades of U.S. administrations have failed to do. He said the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is something he thinks is not as difficult as people have thought over the years.

He’s naive in thinking that this deal will be as easy as handling other issues such as health care, the “huge” wall he promised to build and many other shortcomings he’s had in his first 100 days in office. Eventually he’ll realize the complexities involved and admit that the situation was harder than expected, as prior presidents could tell him.

Although Abbas praised Trump and told him he and the Palestinian Authority could be great partners in achieving a peace treaty, it will never happen— at least not with current circumstances.

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.

However, both Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu and Abbas lack the popularity and support of their parties or populations. Even if they were to sign any agreements, they would not have the power to put them into effect.

Netanyahu is under corruption investigations and under pressure from his political right not to make a deal. Abbas is 82-years-old and lacks the popularity among Palestinians to be the voice of all Palestinians.

If Netanyahu, Abbas and Trump were to meet and come up with an agreement, it would take more than confidence to convince two communities that don’t see eye to eye on anything to work together.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict transcends generations and has increasingly gotten worse with time.  Distrust that has developed from both sides due to terrorist attacks from Palestinians and Islamic extremists have made Israel crack down on its occupied territories, creating even more dissent within the Palestinian community.

Trump and Abbas’s meeting shows improvement towards getting back on track to negotiations, but the harsh reality is that there is not enough trust between the two sides to guarantee any change.

Israel is far more powerful than the Palestinians economically, politically and militarily. Therefore, they have the power to decide the faith of the occupied territories. Their actions have largely gone ignored by the world and Palestinians have suffered because of a lack of intervention.

There is no clear or easy solution to the conflict and many presidents before Trump have tried and failed. However, his confidence in fixing the conflict and meeting with Abbas shows that he is at least trying.

Trump has even announced that he will travel to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican in his first foreign trip since entering office. His visit to the three religious centers of the world signals his administration’s early priorities to work towards peace in the Middle East.

Even though Trump might not completely understand the situation, his heart is definitely in the right place.

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Trump stands alone in his faith in Middle East peace pact