Experts Offer Views on President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meeting Today

While Netanyahu will undoubtedly speak about wanting ‘peace’ his actions speak otherwise.

Experts Offer Views on President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meeting Today

Trump and Netanyahu shake hands during Trump's visit to Israel, May 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Diana Buttu, Ramallah-based political analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators:

“The Netanyahu-Trump meeting serves as a victory lap for Netanyahu. It comes on the heels of serious corruption allegations, a boom in illegal Israeli settlement activity and destruction of Palestinian homes, and the introduction of some of the most racist Israeli legislation, including attempts to annex the West Bank. Rather than condemn this activity, Trump is condoning it and rewarding it by illegally moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“While Netanyahu will undoubtedly speak about wanting ‘peace’ his actions speak otherwise. Since the start of the year, Israel has killed 15 Palestinians and has destroyed 60 Palestinian homes, and since Netanyahu has taken office, the settler population living illegally on stolen Palestinian land has increased by 21.4 percent to nearly 700,000 settlers. These are not the actions of someone who wants peace but of someone who seeks to ensure that Palestinians are never free.”

Zaha Hassan, Human rights attorney and Middle East Fellow at New America. During Palestine’s bid for UN membership and Quartet-sponsored talks between 2010 and 2012, Ms. Hassan was the coordinator and legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team:

“Besides commiserating over the ongoing criminal investigations threatening their respective administrations, it is hard to imagine what President Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister would have to say to each other when it comes to Palestine-Israel peace. Since Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, contradicting international law and long-standing US policy, the US cannot claim to be a neutral mediator.

“Even without the Jerusalem declaration, however, the broadening of the scope of Independent Investigator Robert Mueller’s probe into the financial dealings of the head of Trump’s Mideast peace team, Jared Kushner, has had with Israeli entities, and the downgrading of Kushner’s security clearance, underscores that an international mechanism is necessary to dismantle Israel’s 50-year-old military rule over Palestinians and to ensure that Palestinian’s will finally see freedom and justice.”

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP is one of the fastest growing Jewish organizations in the United States, with more than 60 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters:

“Trump and Netanyahu’s approaches and aims mirror one another. Both foment and exploit racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia in the service of building repressive and exclusionary visions of society.

“Netanyahu’s warm embrace of Trump highlights the growing gap between American Jews and Israel. While most American Jews are horrified by Trump, most Israeli Jews like him and share his racist worldview.

“Nothing positive can be expected to come from their meeting, apart from a redoubled awareness that the U.S. cannot be an honest broker in negotiations between Israel and Palestinians, and that we need a broad, progressive coalition to resist their dangerous, racist agendas in the U.S. and in Israel/Palestine.”