If he wins in November, there would be a future Nobel Prize, oven-ready for President Biden.
One can but dream. The alternative may prove to be a nightmare.
If Donald Trump wins the November US presidential election then the future of the Palestinians will be, at best, frozen in the recent past. Israeli plans to annex around 30% of the West Bank, declare sovereignty over its existing Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, will likely stay on hold.
The status quo of today will prevail tomorrow. There is no international support for the Peace to Prosperity and so-called “deal of the century” scheme Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner offered back in January. It would most likely deliver to the Palestinians a state resembling an apartheid-era Bantustan. These were pseudo-homelands with no international recognition allotted to indigenous South Africans on a racial basis, they resembled blots on a map. And the Palestinians have flatly rejected Kushner’s January plan.
Meanwhile the Emiratis, whose top officials often show outright contempt for the Palestinian leadership whom they see as corrupt, feckless and geriatric are looking to create a cyber route from Israel’s Silicon Wadi to the Gulf. They’re fine with letting the Palestinian file gather dust.
They want a diplomatic version of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, and a real one, to protect them against Iran. They’re also mad keen to get hold of Israel’s David Sling anti-missile missiles as a deterrent to the Goliath they fear across the Persian Gulf. And some of America’s F-35 stealth fighter jets.
The Abraham Accords are an investment opportunity, an arms deal, a diplomatic breakthrough and without question a paradigm shift in Middle Eastern international affairs. The accords are NOT, whatever the signatories dutifully said as a boost to Trump’s election campaign, a “peace agreement.”
Bahrain and the Emirates have never been in a cold, much less a hot, war with Israel. Neither has Oman, which may also soon open full diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. Nor, even, Saudi Arabia, which has been playing covert footsie for some years with the “Zionist Entity,” as Israel is referred to by many of its long-time foes, and may also normalize sometime soon.
“The Palestinian cause is a minor issue, a distraction, in the normalization agreements signed between Israel and the Gulf states,” says Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). “The UAE and Bahrain (and Saudi Arabia) prioritize the geostrategic aspect of their relationship with the United States and Israel.
“They are mainly concerned about the Iranian… threat to their security. The text of the UAE-Israel Normalization Agreement released by the White House makes no mention that Israel is obligated to halt its annexation of the West Bank. The text also mentions the Palestinian issue only twice and in general terms.
“The Palestinians are the major losers. Given the extent of official Arab normalization with Israel, neither (Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu nor his rivals will feel obliged to agree to a peace settlement with the Palestinians that recognizes their legitimate rights. Netanyahu has been rewarded for his intransigence and feels emboldened that the Arab tide has turned against the Palestinians,” he added.
But it need not be like that.
Not, especially, if as president, Biden were to see THE opportunity. He could choose to capitalize on Trump’s Abraham Accords.
After all, the paradigm shift Trump has delivered, is real — no matter how despairing his critics may be over his frequent vulgarities and his contempt for international laws and norms.
Gaza’s Hamas and Islamic Jihad remain (publicly at least) committed to Israel’s destruction. So is Hezbollah in Lebanon. Syria, which shares a border with Israel, is in turmoil. Iran is a dominating force in Syria, continues to use it as a resupply base for Hezbollah.
The inner-city neighbourhoods around Israel remain rough. But there IS peace with Jordan and Egypt. And now some of the ‘burbs in the Gulf are benign.
“Does Israel feel isolated?” Netanyahu said in a news conference just ahead of the signing ceremony. “Heck no.”
Paranoia. The feeling that comes with being surrounded by enemies bent on the destruction of the Jewish State, of being hated by populations inflamed by anti-Israeli teachings in schools, of being the Middle East bogeyman among Arabs, has defined Israel’s survival instincts since its birth.
That now has changed.
“And I can tell you that we have a strong relationship throughout the Middle East. The President intimated how many countries are waiting to join the circle of peace. You know, Israel doesn’t feel isolated at all. It’s enjoying the greatest diplomatic triumph of its history,” Netanyahu added.
Herein lies Biden’s opportunity.
Netanyahu’s warm fuzzy moment is special to Israel. Israelis, whatever their…