The New Saudi Peace Plan Might Be No More Than a Rumor. But It’s a Good Idea

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the Saudis have come to Mahmoud Abbas with a peace plan, and told him he must either accept it or resign. The report was admittedly based on off-the record comments and second-hand information; none of the interested parties has confirmed it publicly. If the information is correct, the plan involves Egypt ceding territory from the Sinai Peninsula to create an expanded and completely Palestinian state in Gaza, to which would be added noncontiguous territory in the West Bank over which the new state would exercise limited sovereignty. The settlements would remain in place and the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis would become the Palestinian capital. Caroline Glick comments:

The fact is that the alleged Saudi peace plan represents a radical break with all of the peace plans presented by the Arabs, the Europeans, and the U.S. over the past 40 years. [It] is the first peace plan that foresees two viable states living in peace. All the other plans were based on transforming Israel into a non-viable state with a non-viable Palestinian state in its heartland.

While the Times report cites Western sources claiming that Egypt has rejected the prospect of merging Gaza with the northern Sinai under Palestinian sovereignty, there is no reason to assume that the option is dead. To the contrary, in the aftermath of last week’s massacre of 305 Muslim worshipers in a mosque in the northern Sinai, it is arguably more relevant now than at any previous time.

The mosque massacre makes clear that the Egyptian regime is incapable of defeating the Islamic State (IS) insurgency in Sinai on its own. Egypt’s incapacity is as much a function of economic priorities as military capabilities. . . . [I]n the absence of significant economic support for developing the Sinai, it is hard to see an end to the insurgency.

If the Europeans, Americans, and Arab League member states chose to develop the northern Sinai for a Palestinian state with half the enthusiasm they have devoted to building a non-viable Palestinian state in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria that would render Israel indefensible and enfeebled, the Palestinians would have a viable, developed state in short order. And the Egyptians in turn would have the international support they need . . . to defeat IS completely and to rebuild their national economy.

The New York Times article may or may not be an accurate portrayal of a real plan presented by the actual crown prince of Saudi Arabia. But if it isn’t his plan, it should be, . . . because it is the first peace plan anyone has ever put forward that makes sense. Not only does it secure the future of both Israel and the Palestinians, it enables Arab states like Saudi Arabia to work openly with Israel to defeat their joint Iranian enemy, while ensuring that Israel can survive and remain a credible ally to its Arab neighbors for decades to come.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Sinai Peninsula, Two-State Solution

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations