The Atlantic

Could Trump Be Palestinians' Best Hope?

The search for the "ultimate deal" in the Holy Land
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Recent events have left Palestinians in an odd position: The absence of a clear strategy by a U.S. administration to resolve the conflict with Israel may have become the best bet for statehood they’ve had in years. This, at least, seems to be the thinking of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), who met with U.S. President Donald Trump in the West Bank city of Bethlehem today.

Only a few months ago, Palestinians feared being isolated by Trump, who had surrounded himself with pro-Israel advisers closely linked to the settlement enterprise, a movement that aims to block the establishment of a Palestinian state by colonizing land in the West Bank. But today, those concerns have given way to hope that the business tycoon many Palestinians regard as a diplomatic novice will actually deliver where his more experienced predecessors have failed. They are betting that Trump’s ad hoc style and much-touted negotiating skills could pave the way for a final-status deal and eventual statehood.

Palestinian leaders view Trump’s inexperience in foreign affairs and a lack of knowledge in Mideast politics as an asset. In a

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