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What The Trump Plan For The Middle East Means To Israel, Our Middle East Allies, And The Arabs In Israel.

What The Trump Plan For The Middle East Means To Israel, Our Middle East Allies, And The Arabs In Israel.

I look at what the Trump plan, under the supervision of his son-in-law Jared Kushner had done, and it is radical in scope compared to what has been proposed in the past. Gone is the usual way of doing things, give in to the demands of the Arabs with the Palestinian Authority, throw more money their way to appease them, then walk away in the end with nothing at all to show for it.

While we are looking at an entrenched Palestinian authority and Hamas at present, there is good reason for this, they are used to a way that America has dealt with them, and have been told by leaders in the past administration, such as John Kerry, to hold on and all will be back to as it was before, but can it?

There is also something that is coming out of this, even if the whole process of trying to create peace between Israel and the Palestinian authority fails, that would be the moving more towards a less radical, more moderate Arab partner that has stopped calling for Israel’s destruction, instead now are doing the unthinkable just a few years ago, actually siding with Israel and warming up relations with them.

None of this is done in the open, most of the Arab nations, to save face are still condemning Israel, but you see cracks opening up in this. Many of them don’t want to break with cultural or religious taboos, but you see a softening up of attitudes towards Israel.

Just a few years ago, having an Israeli delegate go to an Arab nation would have been unthinkable, let alone one come to Israel, but have been happening in increasing numbers.

In spite of all this, at the recent Middle East economic conference in Manama in Bahrain, the United States revealed its Peace to Prosperity plan, a precursor to the political portion of the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

In this, many Arab nations had their leaders, most time in hush-hush, off-the-record discussions between heads of state discussing moving towards closer ties with Israel to aid in countering Iranian aggression.

So what were the discussions about concerning the Palestinian Authority and the Arabs they represent? It was a plan by the Trump administration, along with Arab leaders to set in motion a means for the Arabs in Israel to prosper and the Israeli’s to have peace, but more importantly, would isolate Iran’s regime even more.

In an interview with Lisa Daftari of FOX News, White House adviser Jared Kushner – the president’s son-in-law and architect of the Middle East economic and peace plans – called the workshop in Bahrain “tremendously successful.” He said it “also started a new conversation in the Arab world about a future for the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

While peace between the Israelis and Palestinians would translate into more security for people on both sides, it would also diminish Tehran’s footprint in the Arab world.

Nothing is a bigger threat to regional security than Iran,” Kushner said, noting that while the economic plan outlined “exciting opportunities for prosperity and security,” there’s a more complex regional consequence for the Arab states supporting this initiative.

While peace between the Israelis and Palestinians would translate into more security for people on both sides, it would also diminish Tehran’s footprint in the Arab world.

There are reports that say in recent years, Iran has given as much as $1billion annually to allied terrorist groups in the region, groups that include Hezbollah, Hamas, and other radical actors.

Late last year, U.S. Ambassador Nathan Sales, a counterterrorism adviser at the State Department, said that Iran’s support for Hezbollah alone is $700 million a year. Hezbollah – Iran’s four-decade proxy in the region and based in Lebanon – has fought multiple wars with Israel and has done much of dictator Bashar Assad’s dirty work in Syria.

More conservative estimates say Iran contributes about $100 million directly to Palestinian terrorist groups including Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

But due to Trump sanctions against Iran, even Hezbollah has come out and said this aid is drying up in a very profound way. The sanctions seem to be striking Iran in such a profound way; they can’t afford to be the generous benefactor to terrorist groups as they used to be.

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protested the June 25-26 Manama conference. But the gathering nonetheless succeeded in attracting leaders and entrepreneurs from Arab nations – including Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman – in addition to Israeli and Palestinian business owners.

Kushner unveiled his economic prosperity plan during the conference. It would be dependent up both the Israeli’s and Arabs in Israel agreeing to the yet-to-be-seen political partition of the plan, one aimed at bringing peace between the two sides after decades of conflict.

Although the political side of this agreement has yet to be unveiled, the Trump team is expected to release this part of it over the coming weeks as they travel in the Middle East meeting with different leaders.

These travels will take Kushner, along with Jason Greenblatt, State Department official Brian Hook and Avi Berkowitz around the region at the end of this month through August. They plan to make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to try to get Arab leaders on board with their plan.

This comes with no small investment; the economic plan is expected to have Arab leaders invest more than $50 billion in the Palestinian Authorities economy over the next ten years. This would double their GDP, create over one million new jobs, thus radically lowering the rampant unemployment they are experiencing now. This would also cut their poverty rate by 50%, improve infrastructure, and put significant investments in sectors like tourism, housing, production, and agriculture.

The goal is more significant trade between the Palestinian Authority and countries in the region, namely Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon. This along with the prospect of improved economic conditions would aid in decreasing violent protests and attacks from the area’s controlled by both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and would weaken the hold that Hamas has on Gaza.

This is a change from the White House in the past, which has not concerned itself with the Arab world’s relationship with Israel or curbing violations of human rights abuse and funding of terrorism. It turns out Washington has taken in the collective contempt. Sunni nations have towards Shiites and their desire to reign in Iran’s mullahs.

“Iran is an existential issue for the Arab states; the Palestinians are not,” said Eugene Kontorovich, professor at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School and director of its Center for International Law in the Middle East.

Sunni Arab states need all the allies they can get against Iran, and Israel is one of them,” Kontorovich said. “Thus, they are no longer interested in a diplomatic solution that might endanger Israel’s security.

The Trump administration has won vast amounts of goodwill in the (Persian) Gulf by canceling the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal,) and this is one auxiliary consequence,” Kontorovich said.

It appears Sunni states have two primary goals for their interests: to keep terrorism out of their borders, thus ensuring the survival of the current leadership; and to curb the growing influence of Iran’s Shiite hegemonic agenda.

The goal is to aid in view by Sunni states goals of a more cohesive, secure, and safer region, one that would promote their goals while countering the moves by Iran in the area.

The White House, rather than seeking out new allies are instead trying to make the ones they have seen the need to work together, how their goals are intertwined with what Washington is proposing.

“The Iranian regime’s regional aggression has brought the Arab nations and Israel closer together,” Kushner said. “I think we’ll see that this cooperation can ultimately help advance diplomatic progress in other areas, including peace efforts.”

About The Author

Timothy Benton

Student of history, a journalist for the last 2 years. Specialize in Middle East History, more specifically modern history with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Also, a political commentator has been a lifetime fan of politics.

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