Veteran American diplomat Dennis Ross has predicted that President Obama would be far more likely to push for United Nations action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if Donald Trump wins the November elections.
The senior Mideast expert told a conference in Palo Alto, California, that Obama might want to codify support for a two-state solution to the conflict if Trump were to win to prevent the Republican from reversing U.S. policy supporting a negotiated solution with the Palestinians, the Times of Israel reported.
If Hillary Clinton wins the election, on the other hand, Obama might be much less inclined to make a dramatic move that could have unforeseen political or diplomatic consequences for his Democratic ally.
“I suspect that if Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Ross told the Zionism 3.0 conference. “If Clinton wins, I suspect he would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurt her.”
Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to meet on Wednesday in New York. After inking a $38 billion military aid agreement, the outgoing U.S. leader may choose to ramp up the pressure for progress on peace with the Palestinians.
Israel has for decades relied on an unspoken U.S. policy of blocking Security Council action on the Middle East conflict.
But Obama may have run out of patience with Israel after the collapse of peace talks and expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Netanyahu has also irked the U.S. by virtually ruling out creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel, although he occasionally pays lip service to the concept of a two-state solution.
White House insiders say Obama may act decisively after the elections to lay out parameters for a future peace deal, a possibility that Israel strongly objects to.
The president might make a major speech laying out expectations for both sides. Or he could go even further and agree not to block a Security Council push for a two-state solution, which might even include deadlines for a resolution, a concept that Israel also rejects.
The still-longshot chance that Trump could win the White House might scramble Obama’s calculation since the New York mogul has signaled that he doesn’t object to Israel maintaining its occupation of the West Bank indefinitely.