Feb 13,2018 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
President Donald Trump has at last recognised that Israel’s settlement policy is a significant impediment to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. During a rare interview with Israeli Hayom daily newspaper, published on Sunday, Trump has finally conceded that Israeli policies have a lot to do with the failure of the peace efforts.
While Trump told the editor-in-chief of the Israeli newspaper that “Palestinians are not looking to make peace”, he said that he was not sure Israel was either! When asked when the US would unveil the long-awaited peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump confessed that he was “not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace” either.
The US president added that “we are just going to have to see what happens”, implying that his peace initiative has not been officially formulated until the dust settles on Israel’s policies and its practices rectified.
On the settlements issue in particular, Trump had a lot to say in very direct and specific terms when he told the Israeli newspaper that “the settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements”.
As a matter of fact, in February last year, Trump said in an interview with the same newspaper that “every time you take land for a settlement, less territory remains”, adding that he does not believe that “going forward with the settlements is a good thing for peace”.
Now, Trump has spoken in clear terms that as long as Israel pursues with its settlement activities, there will be less room left for securing peace. Israel may have been caught by surprise when Trump said that Israel is actually blocking peace efforts.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular, must now be wary of Trump’s warnings and should act accordingly.