Trump and Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
If the Trump administration cannot nail down the “ultimate” Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Israel must at least avoid the path to a one-state scenario and preserve the two-states idea for the future, former top Likud minister Dan Meridor told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Coming one day after the Trump-Abbas summit in Washington, Meridor answered questions about the prospects for Donald Trump’s peace initiative with a series of questions of his own.
“Will Trump succeed? I don’t want to be impolite. It is not clear how much he knows. The idea that [Middle East peace] is a great, grand deal looks very simple, but I don’t know – all attempts to predict” what Trump was capable of in the past have not accurately forecast his success, Meridor said.
The former minister of intelligence, justice and finance added that all of the prior US presidents who tried had failed.
He then detailed a glowing narrative of Israel’s achievements to date before he settled on “one thing where there is trouble.”
“The continuing trends in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Israel... if we don’t do anything, we could give the Palestinians a chance to beat us. One day they come and say: We don’t want a state, we want to vote. We can’t get to this date,” he said.
To prevent this scenario, Meridor contended that “we need a leader who knows how to act, even without an agreement, who stops the moves toward one state and maintains the road to two states.”
Referring to his earlier remarks, he said, “I say ‘trend’ and not ‘status quo’ because it is not static. Continuing [the current trend] over time makes Judea and Samaria” and the Israeli-Palestinian area into “one state with two authorities.”
Darkly, Meridor said, “It is very dangerous. It is dangerous to the Zionist goal.”
He admitted that “it is not clear that we can get to the end of the conflict now... Attempts by Israel have not succeeded.”
Meridor said that peace would require Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make hard decisions, but that “no Palestinian leader is ready to give up on the Palestinian refugees issue... this is the heart of the situation.”
He advocated limiting settlement construction to the blocs and to say “This is our border and make a de facto separation.”
One hope he held out was that the “political environment is changing” with countries that “never wanted to talk with us maybe becoming our allies.
We can make lots of... gains if we think with a little more logic on the Israel-Palestinians track.