How do Palestinians and Israelis view Trump’s victory?

Palestinian man watches Donald Trump's victory speech on 9th November 2016 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]

Palestinian man watches Donald Trump’s victory speech on 9th November 2016

By  Motasem A Dalloul

Once it was known for certain that Donald Trump had won the presidential election in the US, both Palestinians and Israelis expressed their hopes and expectations about a Trump presidency. With each side expecting that he will help them to achieve their goals, the clear differences in what this would mean in practice shows how far the conflict is from being resolved.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Trump on his victory, saying that he hopes he will work to realise a “just peace”. Senior Abbas aide Nabil Abu-Rudeineh clarified what “just peace” means, telling the official PA news agency Wafa, “It has to be based on an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He stressed that solving the Palestinian issue is the key to solving all of the crises in the region. “The US administration should realise that achieving peace and security in the region will come by solving the Palestinian issue with a just and internationally legitimate solution, which will lead to the elimination of chaos and extremism in the world.” Veteran negotiator Saeb Erekat, another of the Palestinian president’s senior aides, expressed his hope that the Trump White House “will turn the talk about a two-state solution into a reality on the ground.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas — the other main player in Palestinian politics — expects Trump to be biased towards the Israelis. “He won’t bring anything new to the table, said spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri. “Indeed, he will take the same path as his predecessors.” Nevertheless, speaking to Agence France-Presse, Abu-Zuhri expressed the wish that President-elect Trump will “re-evaluate this policy and re-balance it on the Palestinian issue.”

Unsurprisingly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also congratulated Donald Trump, saying, “We will work together to advance security, stability and peace in our region.” How will they “work together”? Netanyahu’s fellow right-winger and Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, explained that, “Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause.”

In the same statement, which was reported widely by the Israeli media, he made it even clearer: “The era of a Palestinian state is over. We are sure the special relationship between the United States and Israel will continue, and even grow stronger.”

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked – another extremist – also expressed Israel’s expectations from Trump. “This is an opportunity for the American government to move the US embassy to Jerusalem,” she said. “That would symbolise the close ties and brave friendship between the two countries.” This was echoed by Israel’s mayor of the Holy City, Nir Barkat, who tweeted, “I am confident that you [Trump] will continue to empower our city by reaffirming its sovereignty by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.” No country in the world recognises Israel’s illegal annexation of Jerusalem, nor its self-declared status as the “undivided capital” of the Zionist State.

It is thus very clear that the Palestinians and Israelis have very different goals when it comes to solving the decades-old conflict, which most of the world hopes to see come to a satisfactory end soon. Where exactly is Trump going to stand? He made it clear throughout his campaign that he stands with Israel 100 per cent. The Hamas spokesman seems to have hit the nail on the head.

(Source / 09.11.2016)


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