Is Donald Trump’s Approach to Israeli–Palestinian Peacemaking Just What’s Needed?

June 28 2018

During his recent diplomatic tour of the Middle East, Jared Kushner didn’t specify any details of the Trump administration’s purported peace plan. But he did give a remarkable interview to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds in which he told Palestinians, “Don’t allow your grandfathers’ conflict to determine your children’s future.” Zev Chafets comments:

In other words, [Kushner is saying that] the war against the Jewish state is over. You lost. Now, get over it. Kushner dismissed the traditional Palestinian core issues (the return of refugees, a fully sovereign state including east Jerusalem, and the end of Jewish settlement in the West Bank) as “talking points” in an endless quarrel. . . .

[His statement] assumes that a new generation of Palestinians will put material self-interest before anti-Zionist dogma, and accept a peace with Israel that offers Muslim control of the holy places in Jerusalem, limited communal autonomy in the West Bank, and prosperity through massive public- and private-sector investment. . . . Kushner thinks that young, upwardly mobile Palestinians will take a chance and leap. But it won’t be easy. For them, it would not be like challenging a distant dictatorship, à la the Egyptian Arab Spring. It would be more personal, a rejection of elders, relatives in the Diaspora, and a widely believed national narrative. . . .

[Moreover] the kind of prosperity Kushner is talking about . . . depends on the Trump administration’s ability to provide major economic benefits, and fast. . . . After the 1993 Oslo Accords, there was [also] grandiose talk about international investments in the Palestinian economy. The second intifada, which began in 2000, put a damper on this. So has the endemic corruption of the Palestinian ruling class and its bureaucracy. And Israeli entrepreneurs were mostly unwelcome; West Bankers didn’t want to be accused of collaboration. This could change, but Trump’s “peace through prosperity” approach would have to produce results.

Still, the Trump plan has a lot going for it, starting with Donald Trump’s attitude. Previous U.S. administrations wanted to be seen as honest brokers. . . . Trump has made it abundantly clear that he is not neutral. He sees things Israel’s way. If current Palestinian leaders reject his plan and no one comes forward to take it up, well, that’s their problem. If there is no Palestinian partner, Trump will let Israel go ahead and impose the deal it wants in the West Bank. This is serious leverage. . . . Perhaps Trump is naïve to think [his plan will work]. Or maybe he is right.

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Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Jared Kushner, Palestinians, Peace Process

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism