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US President Donald Trump in Jerusalem. His speeches were music to Israeli ears
Photo: AFP
A modest approach toward Mideast problems
Op-ed: While Trump has not abandoned the American aspiration to bring peace to the Middle East, he has no intention of forcing the parties involved in the conflict to accept the agreement he is interested in—and that is a very refreshing innovation.

Anyone who is slightly familiar with the secrets of the stock exchange knows that a company’s share price is not determined based on whether the company recorded profits or losses. It is determined based on the ratio between the results and the estimates. If the company earned less than the forecasts, the share price will drop. On the other hand, if the company lost less than the early forecasts, the price of the share will rise.

 

 

If I may borrow this financial image and apply it to the political-diplomatic world, the first day of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel can definitely be deemed a success. While it’s still very difficult to measure in absolute terms at this stage, in light of the early predictions, there is no doubt that it was a very successful event.

 

Cynics may summarize the first day of Trump’s visit as a day of speeches. Trump jumped from a speech at the airport to a speech at the President’s Residence, and from a speech at the President’s Residence—after a short religious pause—to a speech at the Prime Minister’s Residence. But if we try to put the cynicism aside for a moment, it was a series of pleasant speeches which were music to Israeli ears.

 

Trump and Netanyahu. The most interesting thing in the American president’s speeches was that he did not mention the two-state principle (Photo: AFP)
Trump and Netanyahu. The most interesting thing in the American president’s speeches was that he did not mention the two-state principle (Photo: AFP)

 

The focus on terrorism and placing Iran at the center of the new “axis of evil” are an almost complete adoption of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy on these issues. In his speech at the President’s Residence, Trump made it a point to recognize the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel. No longer just a “safe haven.” According to Trump’s speech, the Land of Israel is the Jewish people’s homeland. And of course, like with every other American president, Trump’s speech included a commitment to the alliance between the two countries. This is such a routine statement that it almost seems obvious to us. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s not that obvious.

 

But the most interesting thing in Trump’s different speeches Monday was what they did not include. In all his speeches, Trump did not mention the “two states for two people” principle. This mantra, which we have gotten so used to hearing from every Western leader who visits Israel, was completely missing from his remarks.

 

Make no mistake: Trump has not abandoned the American aspiration to bring peace to the Middle East. His speeches create the impression that he too is somewhat stuck in the belief that if only there were peace between Israel and the Palestinians, many of the Middle East’s other problems would almost solve themselves. Fortunately, however, Trump doesn’t think he is more familiar with the region’s problems than the two sides involved in the conflict. He is very eager to reach an agreement here, but he has no intention of forcing the parties to accept the agreement he is interested in. Such an American approach, which views the Middle East’s problems modestly, is a very refreshing innovation. Now, it’s the Israeli leadership’s turn to leverage this approach to positive places that will strengthen the State of Israel rather than to places that will weaken it.

 

So what did overshadow the visit? Even writing about it is unpleasant, but silence is not always golden. Knesset Member Oren Hazan. Is there anything that has yet to be said about this young, and somewhat amiable, man? How many more fiascos will we have to endure before his tenure at the Knesset ends? How many more times will we feel the natural and so simple need to look away in shame? Hazan’s act is not the heartwarming Israeli bluntness. It’s not an expression of the beautiful Israeli but of the ugly Israeli, the one who knows nothing about politeness and rules of conduct. The only comfort is the hope that in the next term, he will no longer represent us in Israel’s parliament.

 

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