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Latest Israel News – 5th May

From Time Immemorial –The Everlasting Jewish Tie to the Land of Israel

On Israel’s Independence Day, UNESCO on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding that Israel disavow Jerusalem as its capital. This resolution is part of the ongoing Palestinian campaign to delegitimize Israel in the international arena and disseminate false history and libel against the State of Israel. It ignores the continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel throughout the past 2,000 years – as documented in this new Jerusalem Center video.

PM Netanyahu on what makes Israel so special

PM Bibi Netanyahu just revealed the secret to Israel’s greatness

Another video celebrating Israel’s diversity and achievements on Yom Haatzmaut

from MidEast Truth

Netanyahu orders payment cut to UN over UNESCO’s ‘delusional’ vote

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday directed the Foreign Ministry to deduct another $1 million from the funds Israel annually pays to the UN in response to UNESCO’s “delusional’ vote to disavow Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

“There is a price for harassment,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “I directed the director-general of the Foreign Ministry to deduct a further million dollars from the money Israel transfers to the

This money is in addition to $2 million Israel said it would withhold from the UN after the passage in March of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council, and $6m. that Jerusalem slashed in January in the aftermath of the passage of anti-settlement resolution 2334 in the UN Security Council. Following these cuts, Israel will contribute only $2.7m this year to the UN, instead of the $11.7m that was originally earmarked.

Noting that more countries abstained, absented themselves from the vote, or voted against the UNESCO resolution (36), than voted for it (22), Netanyahu said that Israel was working continuously to increase its support in international forums and expressed hope that “one day we will cancel this theater of the absurd.”

The premier made special mention of Italy, which was the first of six EU countries to announce that it would vote against the resolution. He also thanked the US, which also voted against, as well as the leaders of Ukraine, Paraguay and Togo, whose countries also all supported Israel in the vote. (Jerusalem Post)

White House: Trump told Abbas to ‘resolve’ issue of PA terrorist cash payments

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop incitement, tamper down terrorism and “resolve” the PA’s policy of providing social welfare payments to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis.

“President Trump emphasized the importance of making a clear commitment to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and to stopping incitement, and to continue strengthening efforts to combat terrorism,” the White House said in a readout of the two leaders’ first face-to-face meeting Wednesday.

“President Trump raised his concerns about payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed terrorist acts, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue,” the statement added.

Earlier in the day, during a joint statement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump only subtly referenced Palestinian violence, which Israel considers a major obstacle to achieving an accord.

“There can be no lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violate and violence and hate,” Trump said, standing next to Abbas. “There is such hatred. But hopefully there won’t be such hatred for very long,” he said.

Abbas, for his part, asserted “that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”

Earlier this week, three GOP senators urged the US president to push Abbas on the PA’s social welfare payments to the families of terrorists.

Wednesday’s press conference took place before the two had a working luncheon with a US and Palestinian delegation. Trump invited Abbas, 82, to the White House as pushes his efforts to strike an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

The White House said the two leaders” reaffirmed the commitment of both the United States and the Palestinian Authority to achieving a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

The president “stressed that he is personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a comprehensive peace, and that any peace settlement can only be the product of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” the statement said.

Like Trump’s earlier remarks, the readout indicated he is optimistic of his chances to broker the elusive accord, but did not explain what he thinks a successful deal would look like.

The White House said that Trump and Abbas were interested in improving conditions that could foster negotiations.

“The two leaders discussed the value of actions that can help create a climate conducive to tangible progress toward peace,” it said.

Trump and Abbas also discussed ways to enhance security cooperation to assist the Palestinians in countering terrorism, as well as stimulating the Palestinian economy.  (the Times of Israel)

Former Israeli Defense  Minister advised Trump on avoiding Obama’s mistakes

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon met with American officials who play central roles in President Donald Trump’s administration ahead of Trump’s election, and advised them how to avoid mistakes in the Middle East, Ya’alon

Ya’alon’s recommendations that Trump appears to have implemented include holding Iran accountable for missile tests, responding to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and asking Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop funding Palestinian terrorists and their families. He said those three steps would correct some of the mistakes made by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Since the dawn of Zionism, the Arab position has been consistent, with no Arab leader being willing to divide the land with us,” Ya’alon said. “Abbas won’t deliver the goods. There isn’t anyone on their side who can. Trump is looking for a deal. But there is no partner for a deal.”

Reacting to Wednesday’s Trump-Abbas Washington press conference, Ya’alon said Abbas said nothing new, noting that he reiterated his commitment to two states but did not mention two peoples, because he refuses to recognize the Jewish people.

“I don’t think he can bridge the gaps, because Abbas won’t change his views,” Ya’alon said. “I think Trump needs to show goodwill at the beginning, but when the decisive time comes, he will see that it is the Palestinians who refuse to make peace, just like [US presidents George W.] Bush and [Bill] Clinton [did].”

Ya’alon, who will be speaking at Sunday’s Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, recommended to the future Trump administration officials that they focus on bottom-up steps to improve the Palestinian economy and infrastructure, while allowing Israel to continue maintaining security in the West Bank.

“If I could whisper in Trump’s ear, I would say don’t make mistakes like Obama or [former secretary of state John] Kerry, who thought the Israel-Palestinian conflict was the core problem in the Middle East,” Ya’alon said. “The Sunni-Shi’ite conflicts, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the rise of ISIS have nothing to do with us. The problem is the lack of readiness among the relatively moderate Palestinians like Abbas to accept Israel in any borders, including pre-1967 borders.”

Labor Party leadership candidate Amir Peretz, who is also a former defense minister, wrote to Trump on Wednesday, applauding his efforts to renew the diplomatic process and telling him that the Zionist Union (of which Labor is the main component) would provide a parliamentary safety net for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance a deal with the Palestinians.  (Jerusalem Post)

Trump: I’ll visit Israel, after meeting Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia

US President Donald Trump’s first foreign trip will feature visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican, he said Thursday, noting that he will meet with leaders from across the Muslim world in Saudi Arabia. The Holy See confirmed that the pope would host him in Rome.

“My first foreign trip as president of the United States will be to Saudi Arabia, then Israel, and then to a place that my cardinals love very much, Rome,” Trump told reporters.

A White House statement said the visit to Israel was aimed at “further strengthen(ing) the United States-Israel partnership.” Indicating that Trump would meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, the statement said “The leaders will discuss a range of regional issues, including the need to counter the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, and by ISIS and other terrorist groups. They will also discuss ways to advance a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Trump also accepted an invitation to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the statement said, “to discuss ways to advance peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as efforts to unlock the potential of the Palestinian economy.” There was no word as to where that meeting would take place.

He does not intend to go to Ramallah, Channel 2 reported, but rather wants to visit Bethlehem. His meeting with Abbas would be their second in less than a month.

Trump will add the three stops to an already announced visit to NATO and G7 summits in Brussels and Sicily later this month.

The Israel leg of the trip is expected to take place on May 22-23.

Members of Trump’s preparatory team, who have been in Israel in recent days, have indicated the president wants to deliver the main speech of his visit to Israel at the iconic desert fortress of Masada, Channel 2 reported.

In a press conference, Trump said he “will begin [the foreign trip] with a truly historic gathering in Saudi Arabia with leaders from all across the Muslim world,” and noted: “Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam.”

In markedly conciliatory language, he added: “It is there we will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries.”

Pope Francis will receive Trump at the Vatican on May 24, the Holy See said.

On Wednesday, Trump hosted Abbas in Washington, at a meeting in which he expressed optimism in his ability to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

“We will get it done. We will be working so hard to get it done. It’s been a long time, but we will be working diligently, and I think there’s a very, very good chance,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Abbas at the White House.

The president, who has referred to a Mideast peace agreement as “the ultimate deal,” said he would be willing to play whatever role was needed to strike the coveted but elusive accord.

Abbas, in comments published Thursday by the official PA news outlet Wafa, expressed his “deep appreciation” to Trump after “constructive and in-depth talks that represented a promising start for peace during the Trump administration.”

In a television interview Thursday morning with official PA television, Abbas said Trump was “enthusiastic” and “has a political vision.”

“We spoke about many different areas, including how we will begin quickly to solve the Palestinian issue. The American president was interested and enthusiastic. He has a political vision and we are going with him, on the hopes it will lead to this solution,” Abbas said.

Abbas said that after his meeting with Trump in the White House, the American and Palestinian teams will remain in contact to coordinate bilateral relations and issues regarding the peace talks.

The Palestinian leader also said he invited Trump to visit Bethlehem over the next Christmas holiday. “God willing he will have the opportunity to visit us in the Holy Land,” he said.

The timing of Trump’s visit — coinciding with Jerusalem Day, when Israel will celebrate 50 years since the reunification of the city under its control after the 1967 Six Day War — has sparked speculation that he might use the trip make a major announcement regarding the city.

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) publicly mused last week that Trump could announce the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while he’s in Israel.

“What better time could there be to announce the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem than when you are over here celebrating with our Israeli friends this very important 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem?” he said.

Over the course of his campaign, Trump repeatedly promised he would move the embassy, but since assuming office, he has seemingly stepped away from that pledge.

DeSantis, who is chairman of the House Oversight National Security Subcommittee, has supervision over American embassies around the world. Earlier this year he visited Jerusalem touring potential embassy sites.

DeSantis is not the only Trump ally to insist the issue is not dead.

Vice President Mike Pence told American Jewish leaders on Tuesday that Trump was still deliberating on the relocation.

“The president of the United States, as we speak, is giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said.

Trump will have to make an important decision on the matter.

Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating the embassy be moved to Jerusalem, but it allowed the president to exercise a six-month waiver on national security grounds.

Every president since, including Barack Obama’s predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, signed that waiver every six months.

The last one, signed in December by Obama, expires at the end of May, when Trump will be forced to either sign it or follow through on his campaign promise. (the Times of Israel)

Human Rights Watch blasts Hamas for holding 3 Israelis in Gaza

Human Rights Watch has called on Hamas to release three Israeli men believed to be forcibly held in Gaza: Avera Mengistu, 30, Hisham al-Sayed, 29, and Jumaa Abu Ghanima, 19.

The plight of the missing men, all of whom suffer from mental illness, has received little media attention in Israel. Mengistu is a Jewish Ethiopian immigrant; Sayed and Abu Ghanima are Beduin.

There is nothing “heroic” about the forced disappearance of men with mental illness that belong to marginalized communities in Israel, HRW said.

The NGO on Wednesday released a report that was based on interviews it conducted with friends and family of the three men, interviews with Israeli and Hamas officials, and reviews of medical and military documents.

“Hamas’s refusal to confirm its apparent prolonged detention of men with mental health conditions and no connection to the hostilities is cruel and indefensible,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East director. “No grievance or objective can justify holding people incommunicado and bartering over their fates.”

The report said there was stronger evidence that Mengistu and Sayed were being held by Hamas, than there was for Abu Ghanima. Photographs and technological evidence show that Mengistu crossed into Gaza in September 2014, and Sayed in April 2015.

According to his family, Abu Ghanima crossed into Gaza in July 2016, but no evidence from Israel or Hamas has corroborated that account, HRW said.

Brother of missing Israeli Avraham Mengistu calls for government to bring him back from Gaza (July 9, 2015)

Mengistu and al-Sayed.

Mengistu and al-Sayed.

The report did not focus on IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, presumed to be casualties of the 2014 Gaza war whose bodies are believed to be held by Hamas. Instead, it referred solely to the three men who are presumed to be alive.

Under international law, Hamas is obligated to release the men, who entered Gaza for reasons unrelated to the conflict, HRW said.

“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the [Palestinian Authority] ratified in April 2014, also provides protections for people with psycho- social, or mental health, disabilities, including freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment and equal access to justice, which may include reasonable accommodations that take into account their disability.

“Enforced disappearance violates many of the rights guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the [authority] ratified in 2014, including the requirement to bring detainees promptly before a judge.

“International human rights law would require authorities to detain [the men] solely according to clear domestic law, which would mean either to charge them with a recognizable crime or release them. The same principles would apply to Abu Ghanima if he is in custody.”

Attempts to portray Mengistu and Sayed as IDF soldiers were dismissed in the report: “An April 2016 video issued by the Hamas armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, refers to both Mengistu and Sayed as soldiers, showing each in photographs, which appear to be photoshopped, in military uniforms, alongside photographs of Shaul and Goldin.

“Documents Human Rights Watch reviewed indicate that an Israeli Defense Forces medical committee found Mengistu ‘unfit for [military] service’ in March 2013 and exempted him from mandatory conscription,” the NGO stated. “They also indicate that Sayed volunteered for military service in August 2008, but was discharged less than three months later after the military determined him ‘incompatible for service,’ and is not part of the reserve forces.”

Hamas has insisted that it will not divulge any information about the missing men until Israel releases 54 of its members imprisoned in Israeli jails, HRW said.

Those prisoners were released as part of the 2011 deal between Israel and Hamas to free captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, but were again arrested by the IDF in 2014. Those arrests were conducted as part of Israel’s crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank in response to the group’s kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.  (Jerusalem Post)

New Zealand reaches out to restore diplomatic ties with Israel

Recently appointed New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has contacted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an effort to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.

Brownlee received his ministerial warrant on Tuesday, Israel’s Independence Day, and hours later wrote to Netanyahu to get the relationship back on track.

“I’ve sent a letter to Mr. Netanyahu yesterday firstly congratulating them on their national day but expressing a desire for the Israeli-New Zealand relationship to get back on track and to do that by recognizing that we’ve got synergies and innovation and agriculture and various other things like that,” he told local media.

Brownlee confirmed there is further work to be done but remains resolute around the importance of restoring the relationship to its prior strength.

Israel in December withdrew its ambassador from New Zealand and postponed travel rights of New Zealand’s ambassador to Israel, based in Turkey, after New Zealand co-sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Netanyahu was angry at New Zealand’s involvement in the UN resolution, which passed unanimously. The Israeli prime minister called then-foreign minister Murray McCully and reportedly threatened to interpret New Zealand’s sponsorship as a “declaration of war.”

Brownlee says he expects the letter to enable the respective foreign ministries to start discussions with a view toward re-establishing a diplomatic connection.  (Jerusalem Post)

Same old Hamas

Jerusalem Post Editorial

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Same-old-Hamas-489675

The Hamas terrorist regime has ruled the Gaza Strip since it replaced the Palestinian Authority there in a bloody 2007 coup. This week it published a policy document with the aim of presenting a more moderate face to the world. To say it failed miserably would be an understatement.

In the midst of a renewed power struggle with Fatah and the PA, Hamas has flexed its muscles by promising moderation on one hand, while not deviating in substance from its 1987 charter’s call for Israel’s destruction.

“We wanted to present a document that truly reflects Hamas’s ideology and consensus and to present it to our supporters… and the international community,” declared Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas leader in exile.

In its 1987 founding charter, Hamas called for setting up an Islamic state in historic Palestine, or the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, which includes Israel. It also says that Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, as the Palestine Liberation Organization did in 1993.

“There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity,” the document reads.

The five-page policy document was announced by Mashaal as the result of no less than four years of internal deliberations, at a news conference in Doha, Qatar. The group’s new manifesto also rebrands itself as an Islamist national movement.

In a further exercise in support-seeking braggadocio, just the day before its immoderate announcement, Hamas gave Israel 24 hours to accede to the demands of the hunger- striking Palestinian security prisoners. The Hamas ultimatum warned that otherwise it would increase its own demands in a future prisoner exchange with the Jewish state.

The Hamas manifesto was immediately ridiculed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as delusional: “When Hamas stops building tunnels and spends its resources on civilian infrastructure and ceases educating toward killing Israelis – that would be true change. But that hasn’t happened.”

Netanyahu’s spokesman, David Keyes, spelled it out further: “Hamas is attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed. Daily, Hamas leaders call for genocide of all Jews and the destruction of Israel. They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. Schools and mosques run by Hamas teach children that Jews are apes and pigs. This is the real Hamas.”

The fundamentally antisemitic document also expresses Hamas’s disingenuous distinction between Jews and Israelis.

It “distinguishes between the Jews, as the people of the book [i.e., the Bible], and Judaism as a religion on the one hand, and between the occupation and the Zionist project, on the other, and believes that the conflict with the Zionist project is not a conflict with the Jews because of their religion.

“There is no alternative to the liberation of the entirety of Palestine, from the river to the sea, no matter how long the occupation persists,” the document continues, leaving no doubt that the terrorists’ ultimate goal remains Israel’s destruction.

Meanwhile, the Hamas regime continues to sacrifice its people’s reconstruction from a fruitless war to the pursuit of illusory military victories over the IDF, by spending its foreign-donated funds on building more attack tunnels instead of housing – and now even instead of electricity.

The PA has escalated the conflict with its rival by cutting off funds to purchase fuel to power Gaza’s sole power station, causing shutdowns that even further victimize the population Hamas misgoverns.

And it is not only Palestinians whom Hamas holds hostage. Human Rights Watch has condemned Hamas’s illegal detention of two Israeli citizens, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who wandered into Gaza. Hamas also holds the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in action in the 2014 Gaza war.

The document accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but dismisses the establishment of the State of Israel as “illegal,” asserting a Palestinian claim to the entire Land of Israel, and a “right of return” for fourth-generation descendants of refugees.

Hamas once again affirms its commitment to a nonstate, final solution for Israeli Jews, whether Zionists or not. Real change? No.

In Trump Abbas-meet, hope springs eternal as peace prospects run dry

Leaders’ outpouring of enthusiasm that a deal can be reached does little to cover up the fact that one offered nothing new and the other offered nothing at all

By Raphael Ahren               The Times of Israel

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-trump-abbas-meet-hope-springs-eternal-as-peace-prospects-run-dry/

Despite a display of unabashed enthusiasm rarely expressed regarding one of the most intractable conflicts in the world, US President Donald Trump’s performance alongside Palestinian Authority counterpart Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday will likely do little to convince the world that he can succeed in brokering a peace deal where so many others have failed.

Trump’s show of unbridled optimism that he will reach a deal, and even that solving the conflict is not as difficult as others have made it out be, couldn’t cover up the fact that he failed to enunciate a single policy or principle or new idea that could guide the negotiation process toward any kind of progress, let alone the signing of a final-status peace treaty.

“Never in decades of involvement have I heard a US president more confident with less prospect,” tweeted veteran US peace negotiator Aaron David Miller, who has worked under Republican and Democratic administrations.

Despite Trump’s claim that “there’s a very, very good chance” for a peace deal, even today — after he has hosted leaders from both sides and had his emissary Jason Greenblatt travel to the region and meet a host of stakeholders — it is still entirely unclear how he intends to square the Israeli-Palestinian circle.

If anything, watching the joint statements Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered Wednesday in the White House, it is harder than ever to believe in peace in our time.

Once again, Trump avoided endorsing Palestinian statehood or even the concept of “two-states for two peoples,” merely offering to help reach the two sides with “anything they’d like to do.”

“The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship, and thrive and prosper in peace,” Trump said, standing in front of a Palestinian flag. “And I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement — to mediate, to arbitrate anything they’d like to do.”

One state, two state, whatever. The world gasped in shock when, during his February press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump casually dismissed what has been a global consensus position.

But if he’s really serious about brokering peace, Trump will eventually have to embrace the two-state solution, many analysts, including this writer, postulated at the time. If this administration will ever proclaim Palestinian statehood as a policy objective, it did not happen on Wednesday.

And if Trump did not utter the words “two-state solution” while hosting the Palestinian leader in the White House, he is unlikely to do so after Abbas has left the premises. Maybe the president is saving this declaration for his planned visit to the region later this month. Maybe not. Perpetually surprising everyone seems to be a central element of his foreign policy.

Trump’s backers often tout the fact that he’s not a stuffy policy expert as one of the main reasons he may be able to finally untie the Gordian Knot of Mideast peace.

The president is unorthodox, unpredictable and has defied all expectations more than once, his supporters say.

After decades in which so-called experts dominated the peace process but failed to produce a final status agreement, they argue, maybe a former real estate magnate who thinks outside the box can master the art of the “ultimate deal.”

But making Mideast peace is not the same as a cutting a deal for a piece of New York property, and Abbas made clear he isn’t buying Trump’s Brooklyn Bridge.

The Palestinian leader read out a long and detailed laundry list, sticking with his familiar positions, while making sure to politely respond to Trump’s optimism in kind.

“Our strategic choice is to bring about peace based on the vision of the two-state — a Palestinian state with its capital of East Jerusalem that lives in peace and stability with the state of Israel based on the borders of 1967,” he said.

The Palestinian leader mentioned the “issue of the refugees,” but instead of indicating willingness to abandon the demand for a “right of return” — a total nonstarter for any Israeli government — he said the problem would be solved “according to the terms of international law” and based on previous “various relevant references and terms of reference in that regard, and based on what is stipulated in the previous treaties and agreements.”

He cited the Arab Peace Initiative and pointed to past UN resolutions; denied that Palestinian children are being raised to hate Israelis; refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; and lamented that the Palestinians are “the only remaining people in the world that still live under occupation.”

In other words: both Abbas and Trump said they really want peace and truly believe it is possible, but one offered the same-old formula that has failed time and again — and will continue to fail — to produce a peace deal, and the other offered no formula at all.

“We will get it done. We will be working so hard to get it done,” Trump said at the conclusion of his remarks.

Later, after Trump said that solving the issue may not be as difficult as thought, former US envoy to Israel Dan Shapiro tweeted “I’m an optimist by nature. But goodness gracious!”

As Shapiro’s boss, former US secretary of state John Kerry, aptly demonstrated with his failed effort in 2013, hard work and the sheer desire for a breakthrough are not nearly enough.

The Obama administration failed to make any headway in the Israeli-Palestinian arena also because it too dogmatically clung to certain paradigms, such as the “not-one-brick”-policy equating remote West Bank outposts with Jerusalem neighborhoods.

But Trump’s adamant refusal to define the contours of the elusive final-status deal he so eagerly wants to facilitate does not inspire great confidence in his abilities as peacemaker, either.