Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House on Wednesday unprepared for what awaited him—a controversy that, the day prior, former CBS star journalist Dan Rather said could have repercussions as serious as the Watergate scandal.
If Donald Trump or his team were found to be involved with Russian political interference unfavorable to Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign, the new president could share the same political fate as Richard Nixon: resignation. The controversy surrounding the firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn reconfirms Trump’s worrisome nonchalance about facts in general, as well as the most basic democratic rules and international geopolitical issues.
Trump’s nonchalance was visible during his press conference on the Israel-Palestine conflict with Netanyahu. Trump, using his 50-word vocabulary, renounced the two-state solution, the traditional American and European diplomatic position.
This reversal wouldn’t be so troubling if Trump had a relevant solution to propose, but that wasn’t the case. His only proposal, a vague one at that, was to agree with the approach Netanyahu has long defended—to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with large-scale regional negotiations (which were tried, and failed) with Sunni countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Overjoyed at being free of Barack Obama and John Kerry, Netanyahu now hopes to lead Trump by the nose. The two-state solution is a “label,” and we must instead “seek new avenues of peace,” said Netanyahu arrogantly.
As illusionary as it’s become, the two-state solution is a bulwark against Israeli colonization of the West Bank. What Trump has done by abandoning this bulwark is to bury the promise of a Palestinian state and allow Israel to accelerate building its colonies. Israel has the fundamental right to safety, and peace obviously means being accepted by its Arab neighbors. But peace cannot be achieved without reciprocal recognition and an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories. Netanyahu ignores this completely.
After a secret vote on Monday, Hamas elected a new leader to head the Gaza government: Yehya Sinwar, an ultraradical from the group’s military wing. It’s one intransigent against another. Hence, many believe that Israel and Hamas, which have faced each other in three conflicts since 2008, are headed toward another war. Far from the empty words spoken in Washington on Wednesday.