If Palestinians won't talk, Trump should cut aid
The Palestinians are always looking for an excuse not to make a serious peace deal. Jerusalem is only the latest pretext. President Trump should make good on his threat to cut the hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid unless they start negotiating seriously now. They can dance to their rejectionism on their own dime, not America's
So just as World War III did not after all break out over President Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, we now see another entirely predictable phenomenon in the Middle East -- the Palestinians are refusing to negotiate with Israel about peace.
The Palestinian position since President Trump's announcement has been to say that they are still theoretically in favour of negotiations but that they will only embark on them if they are based on "international laws and resolutions", as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been putting it to journalists around the world.
What this means, of course, is that they have found a new excuse to avoid negotiations. It is ironic that Jerusalem has turned out to be the latest one since the Palestinians have, since 2000, twice been offered a two state solution with east jerusalem as its capital. Both times they have flatly refused.
As President Trump to his credit understands, this is a long, dreary, and familiar theme. Though you might not know it of you only read mainstream media outlets like the BBC and the New York Times, there never needed to be an Israel-Palestine conflict in the first place.
In 1947, the United Nations resolved to create two states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace with Jerusalem as a place for all, under international jurisdiction.
The Jewish Israeli side accepted the deal; the Palestinian/ Arab side opted for war.
And the reason why the Palestinians have always tried to wriggle out of any and all two-state peace agreements is as simple as it is devastating for the prospects of a lasting solution: they do not accept the legitimacy of a Jewish democratic state in the Middle East.
You can twist and turn this conflict all you like, but ultimately that is what has stopped a two state solution from emerging.
President Trump has rightly had enough of all this -- both the Palestinians' hostile response to his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the broader issue of Palestinian unwillingness to open themselves to serious talks.
Now, he is threatening to cut off aid, which amounts to $260 million a year in bilateral form, and a further $368 million for them through the UN Relief and Works Agency.
In all honesty, why should the United States be funding Palestinian governing bodies that not only routinely glorify terrorism and excoriate the US, but also refuse to engage in peace efforts?
President Trump should have no fear of using American leverage to get the Palestinians to see sense. If they won't negotiate, they can dance to their rejectionism on their own dime, not America's.
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