Attempting to Restart the Peace Process Will Do More Harm Than Good

April 12 2019

For some time, reports have circulated that the White House plans to unveil its proposal for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) not long after the Israeli elections, meaning that its release might be imminent. Robert Satloff argues that the plan, developed under the direction of the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, should never see the light of day:

[The current] situation, in which Israel and the PA have strained political ties but effective security cooperation, has proved surprisingly resilient. Few love the status quo, but it is not so objectionable that either Netanyahu or Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has walked away from it. It may not have brought a final peace deal, but it has sustained the PA as a reasonably well-functioning governing entity—by regional standards—and protected the West Bank from becoming a platform for rocket and terrorist attacks against Israel. . . .

That surprisingly sustainable house of cards may finally come crumbling down if Abbas rejects the Kushner plan, which he has already given every indication of doing. . . .

[Furthermore, Kushner] likely assumes that key Arab states—led by Saudi Arabia—are poised to bless his plan, giving it vital backing that will compel Abbas not to reject it out of hand. But there are two problems with this assumption. First, the Saudis are unlikely to offer even a tepid endorsement of the peace plan without similar backing from Israel’s Arab peace partners, Egypt and Jordan, . . . both [of which] have shown spine in recent years in resisting Saudi pressure to take steps they view as contrary to their national interests, and endorsing a plan that earns a Palestinian rejection would almost certainly be a bridge too far. . . .

Finally, in addition to triggering a negative spiral in U.S.-Israel, Israel-Palestinian, and U.S.-Saudi ties, moving forward with the Kushner plan would distract from the president’s signature achievement in the Middle East: the unexpectedly effective impact of the so-called maximum-pressure campaign on Iran. . . . The Trump administration should not give Iran and its local Islamist allies a political victory by issuing a Middle East peace plan that is likely to earn swift rejection by the Palestinians and strong criticism even from longtime U.S. allies.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Donald Trump, Iran, Jared Kushner, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank