Palestinian Leaders Won’t Accept a Peace Plan from the Trump Administration, Whatever Its Particulars

Feb. 27 2019

In an interview on Monday, Jared Kushner dropped some hints about the plan for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict that the U.S. government intends to reveal in April. Khaled Abu Toameh notes that, since the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has already made clear that he will reject the proposal—which he has termed “the slap of the century”—what Israelis think of it is hardly consequential:

Palestinian leaders have incited their people against President Trump and his advisers to the point where it would be almost impossible for them even to be seen meeting with a U.S. official. In recent months, Abbas has been quoted as saying that he does not intend to end his life as a “traitor.” The comment . . . means that it would also be impossible to accept any peace plan presented by the current administration.

Anyone who thinks that the Palestinians may change their mind about [what Donald Trump has called] the “deal of the century” . . . is living in an illusion. There is no reason why Abbas should not be taken seriously when he says he does not intend to end his life as a “traitor.” One has to give him credit for at least being honest. He is all too aware that the moment he accepts the “deal of the century,” he would go down in history and in the eyes of Palestinians—as well as many Arabs—as having sold them out, and, of all people, to the “colonizers.”. . .

Arab foreign ministers who attended the recent U.S.-sponsored conference in Poland on peace and security in the Middle East are now facing strong condemnations from many Arabs . . . for appearing in public with Benjamin Netanyahu [at the conference]. . . . They are being accused by Arabs of promoting normalization with the “Zionist enemy.” . . .

Under [such] circumstances, when Arabs are being widely shamed and condemned for sitting in the same room with an Israeli prime minister, it is hard to see how the Trump administration will be able to convince Arab states and leaders to normalize their relations with Israel. Some of these Arab leaders may be privately telling White House officials things they like to hear about peace and coexistence with Israel. The very same leaders, however, are fully aware of the opposite sentiments, not only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but throughout the Arab world.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Israel-Arab relations, Jared Kushner, Mahmoud Abbas, 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