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Schanzer: US Well-Positioned to Ask Israel for Concessions

Following a series of moves by the Trump Administration that some believe favor Israel over Palestine, experts are forecasting that in the coming months, Israel may be asked for something in return.

Following a series of moves by the Trump Administration that some believe favor Israel over Palestine, experts are forecasting that in the coming months, Israel may be asked for something in return.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said he thinks these recent favorable actions towards Israel by the Trump Administration are “building to something,” and that based on conversations he has had with administration officials, Israelis are going to be asked to give up something significant.

“I’m not sure that at the end of the day the Israelis are going to just simply sit back and enjoy all of this,” Schanzer said during a Ground Truth Briefing at the Wilson Center on Tuesday.

“If Netanyahu is asked to give up something, it’s going to be very difficult for him to say no to Donald Trump given the checks that he has cashed. The question is what will his coalition look like if and when concessions are asked of the Israelis?”

So far Donald Trump’s peace team has moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, announced that the U.S. will discontinue financial contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), cut West Bank aid, shut down the PLO mission in Washington and has continued to taunt the release of its own regional peace plan.

Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, claimed, however, that Israel could easily refuse to accept parts of the future peace plan, leaving the Palestinians, who already have little political leverage, to take the heat.

“I think the Israelis will have an exceptionally easy time of saying ‘Well, this is an interesting proposal, we can’t accept all of it, and the Palestinians won’t come to the table; the Palestinians won’t accept,’” Ibish said at the briefing.  “All of the blame will go onto them.”

The effect of these U.S. aid cuts is already being felt in the region, prompting a strike from UN staff working in the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest the UNRWA funding crisis and hundreds of job cuts.

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