WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – President-elect Donald Trump has said he believes he can accomplish what no president before him has – establishing a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israelis.
"As a deal maker, I'd like to do ... the deal that can't be made, and do it for humanity's sake," Trump told the Wall Street Journal during an exclusive interview.
The comment is only the latest in a long line of discourses on Israel and peace between the two parties — discourses that have often been inconsistent.
In one instance, Trump claimed he would remain "neutral" in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians because to take sides would kill any potential deal before it came to fruition. When called out by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the primary, Trump clarified the comment, calling himself "totally pro-Israel."
It's not up the United Nations to impose a solution. The parties must negotiate a resolution themselves. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don't even really know what's happening.
Trump also took a hard-right stance when speaking to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. As Christian Examiner reported, Trump claimed he would never make a deal that did not benefit Israel. He also said any deal between the two sides could not be imposed by a third party, such as the United Nations. Otherwise, Palestinian terror would be rewarded.
"It's not up the United Nations to impose a solution. The parties must negotiate a resolution themselves. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don't even really know what's happening," Trump said at AIPAC in March.
Trump campaigned on his negotiating skills and is the author of the bestselling book, The Art of the Deal. He has repeatedly said he will be able to get the Israelis and Palestinians to come to the table and obtain an agreement. It appears as if his public relations offensive to entice Israel has already begun.
Just prior to Friday's interview in the Wall Street Journal, Trump published a message in Israel Hayom, describing Israel as "a beacon of hope to countless people."
"Israel and America share so many of the same values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams," Trump said in the message published by the paper.
"Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people."
He then touted the role his administration would have in achieving a "just, lasting peace" in the region.
For that reason, Politico has reported, the Trump transition team is asking President Barack Obama's administration to maintain a hands-off approach to diplomatic foreign policy in the last days of his presidency.
According to the report, an unnamed Trump "national security advisor" said President Obama should not "go seeking new adventures or pushing through policies that certainly don't match Trump's positions." The message was clear – don't bind the hands of the successor.
Recently, critics of the president's foreign policy have expressed fears that Obama would abandon America's pro-Israel position in favor of seeking an imposed peace through the UN. But, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again reiterated Sunday that he expects the U.S. to maintain its commitment to the idea of direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Some Israelis have already taken Trump's election as a signal that the dream of Palestinian statehood has ended, as evidenced by the president-elect's soft stance on Israeli settlements.
According to the Washington Post, the co-chair of the Trump campaign's Israel Advisory Committee told Israeli Army Radio last week that Trump did not believe settlement activity should be condemned because it is "not an obstacle for peace."
The Obama administration has frequently criticized the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.