SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Trump is in for a rude awakening in Middle East

The Trump administration's extreme approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is making a difficult situat...

Posted: Sep 17, 2018 10:11 AM
Updated: Sep 17, 2018 10:11 AM

The Trump administration's extreme approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is making a difficult situation far worse.

Since at least the early 1990s, there has been broad agreement among Israelis, Palestinians and the entire international community that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through a negotiated two-state agreement.

Conflicts and wars

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Gaza

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations

International relations and national security

Israel

Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

North America

Palestinian Territory

Political Figures - US

Refugees

The Americas

United States

Unrest, conflicts and war

US federal government

West Bank

White House

The parties may have been sharply divided on many of the issues that need to be settled in such negotiations -- but at least they agreed on that.

Now, President Donald Trump is taking a wrecking ball to the very concept of negotiations. He seems to be advancing a delusional narrative that a peace agreement can be imposed on the Palestinians -- mimicking the way that Israel's right-wing settlement movement has acted for years to impose its own policies on the Palestinians and entrench its occupation and control over the West Bank.

One of the first major signs of this drastic change in the US approach was when Trump broke decades of bipartisan US policy by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, declaring at the time and on several occasions since that he had taken the issue of Jerusalem "off the table."

There are new reports that the administration is about to seek to redefine who it regards as a Palestinian refugee so that he can take that issue off the table as well. They are expected to drastically reduce the amount of Palestinian refugees the United States will recognize.

It would accomplish this by declaring that it no longer accepts the definition of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the UN body responsible for dealing with Palestinian refugees, which states that refugee status is passed from one generation to the next.

The United States already took a major step in this direction by announcing earlier this month that it would cancel all funding to UNRWA -- which normally totals over $100 million annually. That drastic move follows the announcement in August that the administration would cut virtually the entirety of direct bilateral aid to the Palestinian people, most of which supports vital humanitarian and economic projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

And in a move to further silence and marginalize Palestinian voices, the Trump administration announced this week that it would close the main mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the United States, effectively removing any Palestinian diplomatic presence from Washington.

All this appears to be the prelude to the long-awaited unveiling of the so-called "peace plan" being worked on by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. But by declaring that two of the core issues to be negotiated by the parties -- Jerusalem and refugees -- are no longer on the table, Trump has essentially removed the table itself. There is virtually nothing left for the Palestinians to negotiate. This is no peace plan at all -- it's a peace sham.

This approach fits perfectly into two other dominant themes of the Trump presidency. First, a callous disregard of the needs of refugees, and open cruelty toward them -- women and children included.

Cutting UNRWA funds and bilateral aid is not an abstraction. It means depriving desperate people in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza of food, employment, education and health care. But what would one expect from an administration that had no qualms about ripping toddlers and infants from the arms of their parents, who crossed the US border with Mexico seeking asylum?

Secondly, it fits into Trump's general approach to international relations. He apparently sees little value in meaningful diplomacy and negotiation. Instead, his method is invariably to try to bully other parties, whether friends or adversaries, into doing what he wants. We've seen it in trade issues with China and the European community; we've seen it in relations with our NATO allies. We've seen with the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump irresponsibly ripped up. And now we're seeing it with the Palestinians.

On many of these issues, Trump is due for a rude awakening. No matter how powerful the United States is, it cannot so easily enforce its will on other nations and peoples. Palestinian nationhood has been forged through conflict and suffering over many decades and there is no way they will simply surrender their legitimate rights.

Trump's policy is actually much more likely to hurt Israel by taking the two-state solution off the table, leaving Palestinians and the international community no alternative but to demand equal democratic rights for all people living under one state. That would mean the end of a Jewish majority in Israel and the end of Israel itself as a Jewish homeland.

Trump and his supporters should beware the law of unintended consequences. The rest of us should fiercely oppose this cruel and destructive policy.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 28°
Huntington
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 30°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Dry start to Monday, snow/freezing rain moves in late
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events