Monday, 13 February 2017

The Trump-Netanyahu meeting.

As Israel's Prime Minister sets off to meet President Trump in the White House on Wednesday the rumour is what is being called "the outside-in" strategic policy will be discussed to solve the Palestinian issue.

This may be the final shot in trying to revive the failing "two-state solution."

Despite the persuasion to look beyond a "two-state solution" going nowhere both the Trump Administration and Bibi will attempt an approach of recruiting neighbouring Arab states to put pressure on the Palestinians, rather than on Israel, to change their hard line attitudes against Israel and to make sweeping concessions in the cause of peace.

Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and even Turkey will be employed to soften both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas's stance against Israel.

This will include a carrot and a stick strategy in which Palestinians will be rewarded for compliance and punished financially and diplomatically if they continue their rejectionism. 

Hence the title "outside-in" rather than "inside-out" which has resulted in the PA spending its time globetrotting to lobby foreign governments and global institutions to their side of the argument and to punish Israel rather than sitting in direct negotiations with Israel. 

Israel will be made to hold back its desire to take a more assertive stance, particularly in Judea and Samaria where plans are in place to build in the large block of communities in what is known as Area C in the Oslo Accords signed by the Palestinians and Israel and witnessed by President Clinton, the EU and Japan in which Israel has both civil and security control until a permanent agreement is reached. 
It is understood in diplomatic circles that these blocks containing in excess of half a million Jews will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any future peace deal.

Soundbites coming out of the White House during the Trump-Netanyahu meeting are likely to include a deferment of the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem, although the incoming US Ambassador intends to take up residence in Israel's capital and work out of the US Consulate in west Jerusalem as a matter of convenience as its location is close to Israel's governmental and prime ministerial offices. 

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

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