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Monday, February 06, 2017

Trump to Israel: Don't Announce New Settlements

by Douglas V. Gibbs
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Having studied Donald Trump before deciding to support his campaign, I've learned that he does not strategize like politicians.  His tactics were born in the business world.  It's like when he first threw out there his travel ban, and my first thought was "why didn't he work with Congress to make sure the language was less vulnerable to leftist attacks"?

In the case of the travel ban, the element of surprise, and being quick, was the key.  Trump does not like to telegraph his next move, nor do things that can weaken his position going into negotiations.  He wants all of the tools available to him as possible.  Besides, he knew if he let the world have time to prepare for his executive order, the number of arrivals from those seven countries would have been massive during the countdown.

Word has gotten out that the White House warned Israel to cease settlement announcements that are “unilateral” and “undermining” of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, and Never Trump folks have immediately assumed that Trump is actually anti-Israel, and his message to Israel about settlements is their smoking gun.

Does his request regarding not announcing new settlements mean the Trump administration plans to backstab Israel?  Does it mean that the President supports a two-state solution in the Middle East as an answer to quell the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Absolutely not.

It means, "let's not poke the opposition in the chest before going into negotiations."  It means, "build if you have to, but quit announcing it.  We don't need to be throwing gasoline on the fire as we plan to go into negotiations".

It's a business move.

There are no dots to connect.  The media is playing with speculation, and I believe they are wrong when they use conjecture to assume Trump made the announcement because he disagrees with Israel’s announcement of 5,500 new settlement housing units over the course of his first two weeks in office.

The very fact Trump has been clearing the way to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem tells me that he's fine with Israel's desire to put into place 5,500 new settlements.  But, strategy dictates to hold off doing it for the moment.

To assume that his request of Benjamin Netanyahu was a message that Trump supports the two-state solution is not taking everything into context, and is speculating way off the path of who Trump is.

Trump plans to bring up the Middle East hope for a peace process in his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House scheduled for February 15.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said of the whole mess, "The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years  While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal."

Let's also remember, once Trump took over as head of the GOP when he won the nomination for President, reference to a two-state solution was removed from the Republican Party platform, and the President’s designated envoy to Israel has publicly supported the settlement enterprise.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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