With president-elect likely to be either maximalist pro-Israel or isolationist, the question is whether stagnant process can survive
By Peter Beaumont / The Guardian
November 17, 2016
What is clear, for all the muddle, is that the centre of gravity in US thinking is lurching from the two-state solution as it has been understood by US politicians and diplomats for more than 20 years seemingly towards one of two extremes: a maximalist pro-Israel administration or, equally risky, a minimalist and disconnected isolationist position.
As Donald Trump continues to ponder his choice for secretary of state, and other key foreign policy positions, one thing seems clear: the impact on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians is likely to be serious and retrograde.
The question now is whether the moribund process, which has weathered presidents both Republican and Democrat since it was sealed in 1993 with the aim of securing a two-state solution, can survive the Trump era at all.
The signs are not encouraging. Israel’s far right has greeted Trump’s success with ecstasy, hailing his promises to recognize Jerusalem as the country’s capital and move the US embassy to the city, as well as suggestions from his team he would not stand in the way of Israeli settlement construction.
The frontrunners for the secretary of state nomination — Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton — have both been vocal opponents of the idea of a Palestinian state.
Trump’s own pronouncements have swerved wildly between suggesting he would be “neutral” on the question, promising to be Israel’s “best friend,” and even suggesting he could secure the best peace deal ever.
Meanwhile his advisers have fueled a sense of deep confusion by making a series of highly contradictory statements.