Trump Begins to Sound a Little Like Obama on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Some begin to fear Trump will turn out like previous presidents, blaming Israel for lack of peace

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Many Israelis feared it was inevitable.

The trend has always been that no matter how pro-Israel American presidential candidates sound during the election campaign, after entering the White House they always end up blaming Israel for the lack of peace.

The Arab world will have it no other way, and successive presidents (ostensibly the most powerful men on earth) have always been too afraid of upsetting the oil-rich sheikhs, emirs and military dictators.

There's certainly been more than a little hope that Donald Trump would be the one to buck that trend. For the past year, he has been doing just that.

But, in an interview over the weekend with the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, Trump started to sound worryingly like his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump once again labeled the Palestinian leadership as the primary obstacle to peace, saying, "Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace. They are not looking to make peace."

But, for the first time publicly, Trump also laid blame on Israel.

"And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace," said the president. "So we are just going to have to see what happens."

Like Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, Trump fingered the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") as glaringly problematic.

"The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements," he stated.

It was still a far cry from the outright criticism and condemnations of past administrations regarding the settlements and Israel's claims to the land. Nevertheless, more than a few Israelis are starting to worry that this president, too, could end up going down that well-worn path of scapegoating Israel.

PHOTO: Palestinians hang dolls bearing the portrait of US Vice President Mike Pence and US President Donald Trump during a protest in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on January 27, 2018. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)


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