President Trump has completed six months in office without managing to get Israel and the PLO to resume their negotiations - stalled since April 2014.
Trump's failure has not been for lack of trying.
The President has turned on his political charm offensive – inviting both Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the White House - whilst making personal visits to Jerusalem and Bethlehem – all apparently to no avail.
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman have been actively engaged on the ground in both Jerusalem and Ramallah in talks with Israel and the PLO – yet nothing of significance has emerged to indicate the PLO is ready to meet Israel, without preconditions, face to face across the negotiating table.
Even if these two adversaries resumed negotiations - there appears little chance of the PLO modifying demands that:
1. it be granted sovereignty over every square metre of Judea and Samaria ("the disputed territories") and
2. Jerusalem be divided.
Trump needs to identify a new Arab partner to replace the PLO and join Israel in allocating sovereignty of the disputed territories between Jews and Arabs.
That partner should be Jordan - for five compelling reasons:
- Jordan and Israel have enjoyed a signed peace treaty since 1994 which already contains provisions for resolving contentious issues in the disputed territories such as water, and refugees – and Jerusalem.
- The PLO Charter does not recognise Jordan or Israel's right to exist as separate territorial units, stating that:
Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.
Palestine during the British Mandate (1922-1948) encompassed Israel, the disputed territories and Jordan.
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