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What President Trump Can Accomplish on His Trip to the Middle East

As President Trump prepares to visit both Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thereafter to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels, Robert Satloff has some suggestions for what he can bring to America’s traditional allies:

First, the president should take advantage of his meeting with Muslim leaders in Riyadh to propose a new partnership to roll back the twin forms of Islamist extremism that threaten global peace and security: the Sunni jihadism of Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and like-minded sub-state actors, movements, and groups, and the Iranian-led consortium of radical states, militias, and proxies. . . . Such a partnership—less than a full-fledged treaty but more than just a vague communiqué—would have many component parts, from military, political, and diplomatic to economic, educational, and cultural. . . .

Second, the president should link his Riyadh and Brussels meetings to secure promises from his Arab hosts and his NATO partners for a coordinated, all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure stability, security, and reasonably effective governance in the lands soon to be liberated from IS domination in eastern Syria and western Iraq. . . .

[In addition], the president should use his considerable political leverage to advance a secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians. . . . With Palestinians, he should pick up a theme George W. Bush championed fifteen years ago as a requirement of U.S. partnership and then dropped in the tumult of the Iraq war: an insistence on internal reform, on everything from fighting corruption to stamping out incitement to ending the odious practice of paying terrorists and their families.

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Middle East, NATO, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy

 

In Pursuing Peace with Saudi Arabia, Israel Must Demand Reciprocity and Keep the Palestinian Question off the Table

Nov. 22 2017

The recent, unprecedented interview given by the IDF chief of staff to a major Arabic news outlet has fed the growing enthusiasm in Israel about the prospects of a peace treaty and mutual recognition between Jerusalem and Riyadh. Mordechai Kedar urges level heads and caution, and puts forward ten principles that should guide any negotiations. Most importantly, he argues that the two countries normalize relations before coming to any agreements about the Palestinians. To this he adds:

The most basic rule in dealing with the Saudis and their friends is that Israel must not feel that it has to pay anything for peace. . . . If the Saudis want to live in peace with us, we will stretch out our hands to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. Israel [has] been a state for 70 years without peace with Saudi Arabia and can continue being a state for another 7,000 years without it. Any desire for a quick peace (as expressed in the disastrous slogan “Peace Now”) will raise the price of that peace. . . .

[As part of any agreement], Israel will recognize the House of Saud’s rule in Mecca and Medina—even though the family does not originate from the Hejaz [where the holy cities are located] but from the Najd highland—in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel’s right to Jerusalem as its historic and eternal capital city. Israel will recognize Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel as the Jewish state or a state belonging to the Jewish people. . . .

Israel will not allow incitement against Saudi Arabia in its media. In return, the Saudis will not allow anti-Israel incitement in Saudi media. . . .

It is important to keep the Americans and Europeans away from the negotiating table, since they will not be party to the agreement and will not have to suffer the results of its not being honored—and since their interests are not necessarily those of Israel, especially when it comes to the speed at which the negotiations move forward. The Americans want to cut a deal, even a bad deal, and if they are allowed into the negotiation rooms, they will pressure Israel to give in, mainly on the Palestinian issue.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia