The left-wing Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump told United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres last week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was proving to be a bigger obstacle to peace than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The White House denied that Trump made the remark about the Israeli leader, calling the report “noise created by spoilers.”
Trump’s alleged complaint calls to mind the infamous live-mic comments made by President Barack Obama in 2011 to then-French President Nicholas Sarkozy: “You’re fed up, but I have to deal with him every day.”
That remark reflected the hostility of the Obama White House toward Israel. Trump has warm feelings toward both Israel and Netanyahu, but shares with Obama one common source of frustration: namely, the so-called “peace process.”
To those who insist that Israelis and Palestinians must reach some kind of peace deal, it is no doubt frustrating that while Israel is much more open to negotiations than the Palestinian leadership is, the Israelis continue to insist on conditions that the Palestinians reject. These include: recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state; an end to funding for Palestinian terrorists; and an end to anti-Israel and antisemitic incitement in Palestinian media.
Well-meaning international peacemakers, frustrated by Palestinian intransigence, tend to turn their frustrations on the Israelis, who as the stronger party are presumed to be more capable of making concessions.
What newcomers to the scene often fail to understand is that Israelis have made one concession after another, only to be met by more Palestinian terror. The Israeli public will not tolerate further sacrifices for the Palestinians’ cheap promises of peace.
The Palestinians never suffer for their use of violence. After Yasser Arafat sided with Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, he became an instant pariah in the Arab world. Yet George H.W. Bush rescued him with the Madrid talks, and the Oslo peace process gave him power and money. Today, Abbas has violated existing agreements by pursuing unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood. Yet the U.S. has continued to court his participation in negotiations.
Trump is still the most pro-Israel U.S. president in history. But he fell for the “peace process” delusion, promising on the campaign trail that he would succeed where his predecessors had failed. He thought the problem was the incompetence of previous administrations.
In reality, the problem is that the Palestinian leadership and its sponsors continue to reject the Jewish right to statehood. As long as they do, no “peace process” can hope to be successful.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.