Donald Trump was far less interested in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — a struggle that has outlasted every postwar president — and far more in a 22-state outcome, normalizing Israel’s relations with the Arab world, especially Persian Gulf countries.
Even by Middle Eastern standards the past month in the region has been head-spinning and volatile. Conflict between Israelis and Palestinian along three fronts — Jerusalem; Gaza and within Israel proper fractured an already tenuous status quo.
There is this cycle that we keep seeing over and over again. But really we also saw some developments inside of Israel with Palestinian citizens of Israel and mob attacks against by Israeli Jewish citizens and of course in the occupied territories
The new and oft-repeated formulation of “equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity” for Israelis and Palestinians is meant to signal some change in policy, but not a great deal of change.
While there is a pressing need for immediate humanitarian relief and reconstruction support in Gaza following last month’s intense violence between Israel and Hamas, Palestinians in the Strip will need far more than that to achieve real long-term stability.
The most important word is “equal,” which is meant to signal to progressives within Democratic Party circles — and to Israel — that the administration is aware of and concerned about the glaring inequality that Palestinians experience under occupation.
Michele Dunne is the director and a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where her research focuses on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Senior Fellow Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center
Yezid Sayigh is a senior fellow at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, where he leads the program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States (CMRAS). His work focuses on the comparative political and economic roles of Arab armed forces and nonstate actors, the impact of war on states and societies, and the politics of postconflict reconstruction and security sector transformation in Arab transitions, and authoritarian resurgence.
Sarah Yerkes is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where her research focuses on Tunisia’s political, economic, and security developments as well as state-society relations in the Middle East and North Africa.
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