Donald Trump
Donald TrumpReuters

Middle East scholar David Bokai is convinced that, sooner or later, Trump will discover that Palestinian Authority leadership does not want a peace agreement with Israel.

“This is the problem of business people. They believe that you can achieve anything through a business deal. They don’t distinguish between business and politics.

“They don’t understand that in business, when you want to make a deal and the two parties want to sign, you bring a lawyer and sign the documents. But in politics, it’s different.

“In our case, the players don’t want a peace agreement because in the present situation, at least, as far as the Palestinians are concerned it is preferable for them to continue to be the ‘victim’ and continue receiving money from the world.

“Why should they come to an agreement? Then, nobody would pay attention to them. They would be forgotten, like in Zimbabwe, and they would have to get up in the morning and start working. Have they gone crazy?

“Therefore, Trump will quickly discover the truth. The only question is who will pay the price along the way, and what price will have to be payed for the turnabout to be made.”

He said that Israel needs to strengthen the connection with Trump in a smart way, without pressuring him too much. “They’re expecting too much from him, that he should do everything quickly, as in the case of moving the embassy. There is great pressure on him.

“One of Israel’s problems is that they don’t give Trump encouragement. Look at the Palestinians - at the meeting with Abbas, Abbas was overflowing with smiles and false promises in the best of the Palestinian tradition, as they have no problem lying. The problem is that Israel doesn’t reveal these lies and expects that we will now sit quietly and everything will be okay. We don’t understand that we constantly need to cultivate the relationship with Trump by giving him details about these lies. Therefore, I am worried that we could lose this battle.”

Dr. Bokai cautioned against the consequences of Saudi intervention in the process. “The monstrous deal with Saudi Arabia bothers me less. What really bothers me is that Saudi Arabia will use the deal to sell Trump on the idea that the basis for negotiations between Israel and the PA needs to be Saudi Initiative of 2002, and if that’s what happens it will be terrible.”

“People don’t know how to read,” he asserted. “This initiative is a catastrophe. In its first paragraph it talks about a comprehensive Middle East arrangement including retreating from the Golan Heights, retreating to ‘67 borders. There’s nothing about the Palestinians in the initiative - only Israel makes gestures, only Israel relinquishes, and the Palestinians don’t appear there. Therefore, I don’t see a problem with the arms deal, because Saudi Arabia is not a military threat to Israel. The problem is if Saudi Arabia tries to sell the 2002 initiative with this package, and that would be a clear tilt in favor of the Palestinian side.”