President Trump says he wants “to see peace” between Israel and the Palestinians." No one would disagree. But how is a peace agreement to be reached after decades of failed negotiations? And will it meet the basic requirements of a just and durable solution to the 70-year old conflict?
The administration has been engaging with a Palestinian advance team to lay the foundation for Wednesday’s meeting on between the US president and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Considerable attention is being given to Palestinian economic development as the first step toward “the ultimate deal.”
Of course economic development is badly needed. The Gaza Strip, under siege for 10 years this June, is on the brink of disaster. There is virtually no drinkable groundwater and the coastal aquifer faces permanent destruction from overuse; the unemployment rate is the highest in the world at 43 percent (more than 60 percent for the youth); and electricity distribution has been reduced to just four hours a day—including for hospitals and other essential service providers.