I am not a fan of Donald Trump. I think he is a despicable character. Nevertheless in Thursday night’s debate he demonstrated far more Presidential leadership qualities on the subject of Israeli/Palestinian peace than any of the other candidates.
Trump affirmed his support for Israel but said he would take a neutral position in trying to negotiate a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. I agree with him that there is no hope of brokering a deal if the US remains publicly prejudiced in favor of Israel.
Sadly all the other candidates, including Gov. Kasich, claimed that the Palestinians simply don’t want peace. They implied they would not consider the situation objectively as Trump would. Are they blind to the reality Trump can see, or disingenuous for political advantage?
I spent of lot of my professional life on the ground in the Middle-East including much in Israel. The people I knew on both sides of that conflict wanted peace. I think it is probably still possible if US policy were even handed. But we ignore human abuses at the hands of the Israeli government while it exercises a kind of apartheid rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories.
I was in Israel a week after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated for trying to make peace with the Palestinians. People on the street in Tel Aviv said that Benjamin Netanyahu as head of the Likud Party was at least complicit in that murder if not the actual architect. Today Netanyahu is intent on building enough settlements on Palestinian land to make a two state solution impossible. Palestinians know what is happening and see their dreams evaporating.
Hopelessness breeds violence! It is no surprise to me that Israelis are feeling a backlash from Palestinians! If typical Americans were subjected to the same inhuman abuse and humiliation from the Israeli IDF that Palestinians in the occupied territories are they would be lining up for the opportunity to attack the people occupying their land. Meanwhile the “know nothing” Republican candidates for President (except Trump) don’t even seem interested in peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.