No doubt Mahmoud Abbas took a page from the scouting report on how to deal with President Trump by emulating him during his White House visit last week. The Palestinian Authority president flattered Trump and told a bold-faced lie in asserting: “We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren in a culture of peace.”
For proof of the falseness of such a statement, one can turn to the Palestine Media Watch just about any day of the year and find PA statements, publications and video clips calling for death to the Jews and praising as “martyrs” terrorists who have killed Jewish women and children.
President Trump treated Abbas with warmth, saying it was “an honor” to meet with him, and allowing him a platform to tell the world the Palestinians want a state “that lives in peace and stability with the state of Israel” based on the 1967 borders.
Such a scene surely played well back in the Palestinian Authority, with Abbas given such a dignified reception by the American president, and without any political price for the Palestinian leader to pay.
After all the photo-ops and pleasantries, there is still no clear indication of where the Israel-Palestinian issue goes now. Trump, praised by himself and others as a negotiating expert, appears to be following the same diplomatic route that has led nowhere for decades, namely seeking one big summit to settle all the issues like borders, the right of return and the status of Jerusalem, that have stymied experts all along.
Virtually everyone close to the situation believes there are no prospects now for such a deal. Neither the Israelis nor Palestinians seem eager for another round of frustration; experts are calling, rather, for a series of incremental steps to establish some minimal level of trust. Clearly, the president would like nothing better than to prove his skill at the art of the deal by bringing peace to the Mideast. We endorse his aspiration and await his implementation.