As Trump arrives in Israel, his policy toward the county remains a mystery to many, including the top ranks in both Jerusalem and Ramallah. Lacking a clear and consistent policy to go on, many observers are looking for clues by examining what the president’s advisers on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process are calling for. These are the people advising the 45th president on Israel, and what are they telling him.
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Barak Ravid writes that Trump plans to shower Israel with love - but it might be a honey trap for Netanyahu. Trump believes reaching "the ultimate deal" with Israel and Palestinians will help eradicate ISIS. It’s pretty certain that that’s not how Netanyahu views things.
As crazy as it may sound, Trump's haphazard approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may succeed where Obama's by-the-book route failed, writes Anshel Pfeffer. Here are nine ways in which their tactics and strategies differ.
Pfeffer explains that even if Trump is impeached tomorrow, and even if he fails to deliver on his peace promises, Trump already has a Middle East legacy.
Trump's trip is overshadowed by a dark cloud the scandals he left behind in Washington, writes Chemi Shalev. Any statement he makes, any speech he gives, any decision he takes, any offers or threats or proposals that come out of his mouth will be scrutinized first and foremost through a filter that examines how they might influence the crisis in D.C.
The Russian intelligence scandal proves the president’s propensity toward scandals will burn Israel too, says Shalev. And that's not the only Israel-centered crisis: Spats over his speech at Masada, since cancelled, as well as quarrels over the Western Wall, back and forths about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem have already marred what was once slated to be a triumphant tour de force for both sides.
Speaking of the embassy, the issue has turned into a fierce struggle between Trump's advisers and his top cabinet members. Go behind the scenes of the administration's tug-of-war over the embassy move.
Meanwhile, Palestinian officials are lowering expectations for Trump's visit, Jack Khoury writes. Despite recent reports of a possible three-way meeting involving Trump, Abbas and Netanyahu, or of the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Abbas’ associates said that it's far from certain.
So how can Trump get the most out of his visit? Senior officials in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations explain the lessons they learned from their visits to the Holy Land.