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Trump risks repeating Obama's Mideast mistakes

Like his predecessors, President Donald Trump is about to discover that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the only possible deal to end the conflict with the Palestinians.

Zbigniew Brzezinski passed away on May 26. Brzezinski served as national security adviser to Democratic President Jimmy Carter and was an active participant in the Israel-Egypt peace negotiations in the 1970s. Several days after Barack Obama won the 2008 election, The Washington Post ran an open letter written by Brzezinski, along with Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to Republican Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. The two advised Obama to quickly present a blueprint for a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians rather than working to renew direct negotiations between them. Obama, as we know, rejected their suggestion.

President Donald Trump has placed the resolution of this conflict at the top of his agenda. He chose the Middle East as his first overseas trip and was quick to appoint a special envoy to the region. Trump has invested the presidential prestige before the entire world in a speculative startup stock, a stock that has for years been a source of bitter disappointment to anyone who touched it. Most importantly, Trump invested in it a huge chunk of his ego. He probably doesn’t believe a Jew (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), whose country is not even the size of New Jersey, and a Muslim (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas), who has no state at all, would dare say “no” to Donald Trump. After all, both promised him that they want peace. So, let them sit down together. Each will present his positions. One will compromise a bit, the other will budge slightly. Special envoy Jason Greenblatt will give a little push when necessary, and we have a deal. Piece (or “peace”) of cake.

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