If Trump is hoping for a semi-agreement by both sides before starting negotiations, he must realize that Abbas is irrelevant
President Trump walked back his remark that he supports a two-state solution to he supports whatever the parties want. But that isn’t an improvement. For 30 years the parties have not been able to reach an agreement based on what they want.
President Obama tried to remedy that situation by imposing a solution on Israel, to no avail.
Since taking office, Trump has taken a different approach. He is seeking an agreement that ignores the PA, which he is currently destroying, and instead speaks directly to the Palestinian Arabs, who he believes are interested in a better life rather than in destroying Israel.
In addition, he has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has proceeded to unravel UNRWA, thereby taking two final status issues off the table
Plus, he and his Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have relentlessly attacked the UN and its agencies for their bias against Israel. Also, he has withdrawn America from both UNHCR and UNESCO.
Finally, in line with his rejection of multilateralism, he is ignoring the Quartet and the UN and going it alone to achieve a deal not bound by the dogmas of the past, but on the possibilities.
In my recent article, Trump’s Deal of the Century, I wrote:
“In a recent interview, Jason Greenblatt, Pres Trump’s special envoy, said ‘our plan begins with reality. It recognizes the history of the conflict of course, but [other plans] were always relying on tired notions of what it should be. Instead, it focuses on what it could be.’”
“In explaining why he is putting all this effort into achieving peace when there are bigger problems in the Middle east, namely Syria and Iran, Greenblatt said, “we think that there are unique circumstances now that warrant an attempt at trying to see whether or not we can do this. President Trump, as devoted and dedicated to the State of Israel and the Jewish people as he is, he’s also dedicated to trying to help the Palestinian people, and the way we can marry those two ideas is by trying to reach a comprehensive peace agreement.”
“Thus, he is guided by two goals. He wants to strengthen Israel and he wants to help the Palestinian people. As he said, ‘We do believe that many Palestinians want to live in peace, and they want to see their lives improved.’”
“So how can he marry these goals? He said, ‘Thus we must abandon all the old formulae and focus on what is doable”.”
Trump drove this point home in his address to the U.N. by saying that US will not be ‘held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies’
The Jordan Option as proposed by Mudar Zahran, leader of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition, and myself, recognizes that nothing acceptable to Israel can be achieved by negotiating with King Abdullah or Mahmoud Abbas.
This option is very much in line with Trump’s Deal of the Century which considers Jordan to be the Palestinian state east of the Jordan R. and Israel, the Jewish state west of the river.
Both Abdullah and Abbas rejected such a deal in their recent speeches to the U.N.
“Only a two-state solution based on international law and relevant UN resolutions can meet the needs of both sides: an end to conflict, a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, and a secure Israel, fully part of its own region, recognised by Arab and Muslim states around the world,”
Abbas said, among the many lies and misrepresentations:
“But now our view of the United States is that it does not have the right to be a mediator on its own. We have the Quartet.”
“I came before the Security Council on the 20th of February this year and presented an initiative calling for the convening of an international peace conference based on the relevant UN resolutions and the internationally endorsed terms of reference and parameters. Such a conference should involve broad international participation that includes regional and international stakeholders, led by the Permanent Members of the Security Council and the Quartet.”
“Peace in our region cannot be realized without an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital and with all of its holy sites.”
“We want the right to self-determination. Nothing more or less. “.
When the Trump team is optimistic about the chances of reaching a deal, everyone else is pessimistic and attacks them for being naive or worse.
Of course, he knows that if he sticks to the past he will meet with failure as everyone else has. His optimism is born out of the fact that he is rejecting “old dogmas” and “tired notions” and the demands of the PA and its backers. Instead he is focused on “helping the Palestinian people” to have a better life.
This includes naturalizing them as Jordanian citizens and providing them with jobs and other forms of assistance.
After meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said “I like the two state solution.” and added, to everyone’s astonishment, “I want a plan that’s solid, understood by both sides, really semi-agreed by both sides before we present. I would say two-three-four months.”
Given the total rejection of his ideas by Abdullah and Abbas, how can he expect to have semi agreement within “two-three-four months”?
The only answer to that question is that he does not expect to have a semi agreement with either of them. He expects that Mudar Zahran, will replace Abdullah, and knows, based on my writings and Zahran’s speeches and interviews that he would have Zahran’s agreement on behalf of all Palestinians to his Plan. Eighty-three year old Abbas is irrelevant.
I can’t think of any other way to achieve semi agreement. Can you?
By: Ted Belman