Finally, ordering the closure of the Palestinian mission in Washington is probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. Under any circumstance, a continuing dialogue with the Palestinians is necessary if for no other reason but to keep the diplomatic channels open for both practical as well as symbolic reasons.
How could the closure of the Palestinian mission help the peace process? This step is in total contrast to one of the main principles of conflict resolution. Leaving the Palestinian mission open would at a minimum suggest that not all doors are shut, especially following all other punitive measures that Trump has thoughtlessly taken.
The eerie thing about all this is that Netanyahu has been cheering Trump as if all the punitive measures are good for Israel. As much as the Palestinians are hurting and may well continue to suffer for many years to come, the longer the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists, the greater the damage Israel will sustain.
Trump, more than any of his predecessors, has enabled Israel, especially under Netanyahu’s leadership, to further entrench itself in the West Bank, deny the Palestinians their human rights, pass racist laws that openly discriminate against the Palestinians, and methodically chip away at what’s left of a two-state solution.
We are still waiting for the unveiling of Trump’s grandiose peace plans, which by all accounts is tailor-made to suit Netanyahu’s vision that precludes a Palestinian state. As such, Trump’s “deal of the century” will be recalled as the debacle of the century, condemning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to decades more deepening distrust, intensified hatred, and bloodshed, which may well put an end to any prospect of a two-state solution.
Artwork by Michael Anderson and Sam Ben-Meir
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for
Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and
Middle Eastern studies.