Pres. Trump wants to do a deal in the Middle East and he is starting early in his term rather than waiting until the end, when it has proved too late for previous Presidents. But, it seems that nevertheless he is being drawn inexorably to the same conclusions as the previous ones. What always happens is that Presidents conclude that a two-state solution is the only answer, since logically there are two sides involved , Israel and the Palestrinians. And in order to get them to compromise, since the Palestinians will never do so, the US can only bring pressure to bear on its ally Israel. So envoys are dispatched to Israel to tell the PM that he must institute a building freeze on the West Bank, and that’s how it always goes.
We have already had the visit of the first envoy dispatched to meet PM Netanyahu and Pres Abbas, Jason D. Greenblatt, US Special Representative for International Negotiations. It is not clear that he knows anything about the Middle East, like most Trump appointees he seems to be learning on the job. He already brought a message that Pres. Trump would appreciate it if Israel would stop settlement building on the West Bank, so that it will not interfere with the formation of a future Palestinian State. So it goes.
But the hope is that Pres. Trump is different. He really wants to make a deal, and to most well informed observers it seems obvious after 50 years of trying, that a two-state solution is a non-starter. That is because the Palestinians cannot make any deal, no deal made with them would be worth the paper it is printed on. There are always other ways to skin a cat. For example, a demilitarized West Bank fully or partly controlled by Israeli, Arab or US forces, or a mixture of all three. Or turning part of control of the West Bank over to Jordan. Mind you Jordan has severe problems with the million or so Syrian refugees it has, but they might be persuaded to deal given their desperate need for money and supplies. Let’s hope Trump is suifficiently open-minded that other approaches to a deal are considered. After all, who would want Hamas, not only in Gaza, but also in a Palestinian State.