President Donald Trump will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is not a joke and the fact that people will assume it is a joke is the reason why he will do it.
I know the idea of Donald Trump settling this generations old feud seems ludicrous. How could he possibly succeed where so many other better prepared, more knowledgeable, greater leaders have failed? But in June of 2015 when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States, we all laughed. We assumed that this was a publicity stunt and that he would soon withdraw from the race when the more substantive issues arose. But he never withdrew.
We thought that there was absolutely no chance that this foul-mouthed, duplicitous purveyor of Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines and Trump University could possibly bamboozle enough Americans into voting for him this past November. Even after he won the election, many spoke out and even lobbied the Electoral College to rebuke the election results and choose someone (anyone!) else. They of course did not and we are now addressing him as “Mr. President.”
Perhaps it’s time that we all admit that Trump, for all his many faults, is a societal magician. Just when you thought his hat was empty, he pulled out a rabbit and won the Republican nomination. That was not good enough for you? Poof, he sawed the woman in the box in half and won the presidency. And now, for his next trick: peace in the Middle East.
Even after baffling us with his magic to win the election, there are many Americans who believe that Trump will be a total failure as a president. Some even believe that he will be impeached early in his presidency. Once again, people are vehemently doubting “Trump the Magician.” It would appear that his last magic trick wasn’t enough to convince his audience and so, to finally silence his critics and amaze us all, Trump will have to tackle the Holy Grail of international diplomacy. He will have to bring peace to Jerusalem. Make no mistake about it, accomplishing this task is literally the job of the Messiah. In 1992 Prime Minister Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for seemingly achieving this feat with the Oslo Accords. If President Donald Trump can resolve this conflict, he will claim the greatest, most elusive victory of all time. Just imagine the combined satisfaction and smugness on Donald Trump’s face when he receives a Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians. What grander bragging rights could Trump possibly claim? Surely by completing this trifecta of greatness – president, peacemaker, Nobel Prize winner – his critics will see him for his magic and not for his comedy.
The possibility of such greatness will be too tempting for President Donald Trump’s ego to resist and he will take his seat at the bargaining table of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While he lacks even the most basic diplomatic skills for such a task, I have to think that he is actually ideally suited to succeed. This is because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict represents to President Trump the greatest real estate deal in history. (Imagine Trump’s eyes lighting up at the thought of this!)
I am fully aware of the complexities of the issues: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water rights, security, culture clash … The list is long and complicated. But all of these issues are either aggravating or mitigating circumstances that have to be considered when deciding exactly how and where to divide the land. Trump will look at this task like building two adjacent buildings for two tenants who have a long history of hating each other.
Issues with water rights? Call the water company and produce more water (“Israeli desalination technology”). If security is an issue, then increase your tenant’s personal security capacity (“U.S. military aid to Israel”) and bring in an outside security company to make sure that there is no trespassing between the two properties (“U.S. to establish military base in Israel”).
What about Palestinian refugees? A compensation fund has long been discussed as part of a settlement, which Trump will see as a “tenant inducement.” Building the infrastructure of a fledgling Palestinian state? Trump will call that “tenant improvements.”
And who would put up the money for such inducements and improvements for a new Palestinian state? Why, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE of course. Israel has been rumored to be warming its relations with those very wealthy, oil-rich nations as they find a common foe in Iran. Maybe President Donald Trump can convince those countries that they’re better off seeding a new country, rather than letting Iran continue its influence in the refugee camps. Kind of like selling billboard space on the side of these new buildings in a high-traffic location.
All of those issues are negotiating points that Trump, the “self-made” real estate mogul and best-selling author of “The Art of the Deal,” will have to address when negotiating this – the grandest of all real estate deals.
Maybe President Donald Trump is actually what we need in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe we need a fresh perspective. Maybe we need someone brash, unorthodox and unpredictable. Whatever the case may be, people should not doubt Trump’s ability to get this done. For over a year, so many people laughed throughout his magic show. So many people doubted him so often, and in each case he proved them all wrong. And the appeal of achieving the near-messianic feat of bringing peace to Jerusalem offers Trump the kind of bragging rights that he will not be able to pass up. So get your ticket, because the next act of the Donald Trump magic show is about to begin.
Kobi Dorenbush is senior executive vice president & general counsel at Sterling Global Financial.