Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN Security Council on Feb. 20. In a meeting at UN headquarters following that speech, US President Donald Trump’s envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, surprised ambassadors of the Security Council’s member states. The two announced that Trump would soon present the council with his plan for what he has dubbed “the ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians, and expects a unanimous vote approving the plan — this despite the fact that the council’s member states had no role in formulating the plan and have no idea whether the Israelis and Palestinians would like it. Several days earlier, Trump himself downplayed expectations of the governments in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority (PA). In a Feb. 11 interview with Israel Hayom, the president said, “Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace. … And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace.”
Mainstream Israeli and Palestinian politicians, as well as foreign diplomats, are in agreement regarding the bitter prospects of the two-state solution that proposes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. The findings of a Palestinian-Israeli survey published at the end of January indicate a drop in the trust of both Palestinians and Israelis in prospects for peace. The poll, conducted in December 2017 by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University and by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah, shows that a large majority (three-quarters) of both peoples hardly expect or do not expect a Palestinian state to be established in the next five years. One-quarter of Israeli Jews support an apartheid regime or expulsion.