I busted out laughing while watching President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu giving a press briefing. President Trump says:
I’m looking at a two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I could live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two, but honestly, if Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
This, of course, refers to the outcome in the Middle East—”two states” of Israel and Palestine, or a “one-state” solution where Israel incorporates the disputed areas into Israel itself.
The first thing I thought was, what a lovely negotiating move. My second thought was, man, this is gonna set the Palestinians’ hair on fire.
Of course, the media is all a-Twitter about how “in 12 seconds Trump changed decades of US foreign policy” … with the hidden implication that it was something he just thought up during that 12 seconds. The LA Times fatuously claims he “casually demolished” the US position … yeah, as if he didn’t give it a second’s thought, as though it was spur-of-the-moment.
It was nothing of the sort. It was the one of the oldest of negotiating ploys, the “walk-away”. See, the Palestinians have been gaming the negotiations for decades because they knew that the US and other players were insisting on a “two-state solution”. This gave them the upper hand, because the pressure was on Israel to give them a state. They could hold out forever for a better deal.
Now, however, Trump has said we’ll wisely sit this fight out, and whatever the two parties can work out, we’ll support it.
And as I’d guessed, the Palestinians recognized what the President had done. They knew that the 12-second statement meant the old game was over and a new game was on. The Palestinian boss showed up immediately, with his hair ablaze:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that he is still committed to the two-state solution and is prepared to work with the new US administration, according to a statement from the PA president’s office.
Oh, yeah, NOW he is “prepared to work” with the US, now that we’ve threatened to walk away … big surprise.
My own opinion is, we’ve tried the “two-state” solution for two decades, with exactly zero progress. And Israel tried it with the Gaza Strip, pulled out all settlements and gave it back. All they got for that was unending rockets and terrorism. At this point it’s time to try something new.
And just like the President, whatever deal the two parties come up with, I’m 100% in favor of it.
What a world …
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