Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands in Jerusalem’s Starmade Building as part of a joint visit to the region, one that included a speech that drew the ire of the United States.
In it, Trump said Israel had done too little to stop the construction of the Palestinian outpost of Ma’aleh Adumim, and that he was willing to work with Israel to stop it from happening.
Now, Trump has given up on any hope of a breakthrough in a stalled peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The two leaders, along with their foreign policy adviser, Steve Bannon, have announced that they are going to “dismantle” the Palestinian Authority, or PA, and have asked the United Nations to take over.
The move, if successful, would effectively end the PA’s decades-long existence and bring about a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It is expected to be the most dramatic step yet by a US president toward ending the PA, which is home to more than 5 million Palestinians, including tens of thousands of Israelis.
The PA, meanwhile, has said it is committed to ending the Israeli occupation and dismantling the settlements.
The decision to dismantle the PA will be announced in the coming days, after Trump is sworn in as president, as part the Trump administration’s effort to dismantle a complex international agreement signed in 1990 between Israel and the PLO.
While Israel has long claimed that the PLOs illegal settlements are illegitimate, and has repeatedly used force to enforce the agreement, the US and other nations have failed to reach a compromise that would end the occupation of the West, with the Palestinians living under a military wing of the Israeli military.
With the PA and other Israeli settlements now illegal, Trump is effectively dismantling a major pillar of the US-led peace process, as well as the Obama administration’s attempts to broker a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It has become increasingly clear that Trump will not accept the PA as an equal partner in a future peace process with the Israelis, and is moving to end the US’s support for the PA in the international arena.
“This is not a one-way street,” said Daniel Abraham, the Palestinian expert at the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma.
“The PA and Israel are two sides of the same coin.
It’s an issue of the Palestinians and the Israelis negotiating on their own terms.”
The PA has long maintained that the settlements are illegal, and the Palestinians are a legitimate Palestinian political entity that can decide for itself how to move forward.
In a statement issued after Trump’s speech, the PA said the US president “has betrayed the people of the region and the world and has abandoned his promises to end settlement construction and to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The US has abandoned its long-standing promise to the Palestinians to end illegal Israeli settlement activity in the West.
This will only increase the violence and violence will continue in the region.
The Palestinian people will not be bullied by the US into capitulating to Israeli demands that would be detrimental to the interests of both the Palestinian people and the US, and will not give in to pressure or blackmail.”
According to Israeli and Palestinian officials, the White House’s announcement will have immediate impact on the PA.
The government has been negotiating with the Trump White House for weeks, with a goal of finalizing a peace agreement.
If Trump’s decision goes through, it will set the stage for the dismantling of the PA entirely.
“We can expect to see massive damage to the PA,” said Abbas, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee member.
“If Trump dismantles the PA completely, we’ll be forced to rebuild it in Israel.
It won’t be the same.
We can’t build in Gaza, we can’t rebuild in Jerusalem.
It’ll be in the East Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian Authority is in dire straits, said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Palestinian official.
“All of the structures that were built over the years, the offices, the schools, the hospitals, the cultural institutions, the stadiums, all of it are under attack,” he said.
“And it won’t get any better if Trump does this.”
A US-Israel deal that would give the PA autonomy to set its own borders is seen as one of the most likely solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and was one of several major factors in Trump’s support of the Iran nuclear deal in July.
The White House and Israel have made clear that any deal would include an end to the settlements, and Palestinian leaders have expressed their willingness to make concessions to allow the PA to move ahead.
But with Trump’s announcement, they will be left to deal with the consequences of his decision.
“Trump has shown his true colors,” said Ali Abu Shabibi, the head of the PLOS Negotiation Program at the Washington Institute for Near