Last week, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder released a series of statements confirming that he had encouraged U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize that peace between Israelis and Palestinians was now attainable. He also stressed that he considers PA President Mahmoud Abbas to be a moderate committed to peace.
Implicit in his narrative is that the Israeli government and especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously been insufficiently flexible but that Trump could succeed in his efforts.
We have just celebrated Independence Day and are approaching commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and reunification of Jerusalem. The country is in great shape; the economy is booming and we have emerged as a formidable military power.
With a U.S. administration that pulls no punches about its support and alliance with us, Israel is well-placed to achieve many of its long-term strategic goals, including resolution of borders, agreed parameters of settlement activity and ultimately, formal annexation of the major settlement blocs and Golan Heights.
But these require skillful diplomacy and sensitivity to Trump’s belief that he can negotiate a peace settlement with Abbas even though his predecessors have failed.
What has recently transpired among American Jews is somewhat surreal. Leaders of the progressive religious denominations are behaving as though possessed by a dybbuk.
But the situation has now become far more disconcerting. Lauder, who over the years has conducted private meetings with Abbas, is seeking to persuade Trump, with whom he has enjoyed a close relationship for many years, that Abbas is sincere and genuinely willing to make peace.
by Isi Leibler