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Tags: arafat | netanyahu | palestinian | summit

Trump's 'Deal of the Century' Sensibly Driven by Economics

us president donald trump at the world economic forum in davos switzerland

In Jan.of 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Micah Halpern By Tuesday, 28 May 2019 01:56 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The Deal of the Century is getting a huge amount of press coverage lately.

For those who may have not been paying attention to, or even tuned out, President Trump's hyperbolic statements and declarations "The Deal of the Century" is the president's way of saying he has put together a "huge" turnkey peace plan that will solve the up-until-now- unsolvable and intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Donald Trump handpicked and appointed members of his most trusted inner circle to personally handle The Deal of the Century.

The genre of terminology itself leans more towards comic book style syntax than diplomatic jargon, but there is nothing comical about this undertaking. The dream team tasked with concocting this plan consists of trusted son-in-law Jared Kushner, U.S. ambassador to Israel David Freidman, and U.S. Special Envoy for the Mideast Jason Greenblatt.

These three and Avi Berkowitz, Jared's most trusted protégé, are the team and the only people who have pounded out this soon to be released plan.

Uncharacteristic of Washington D.C. and an administration which loves to share, leak, tweet, and post, there have been almost no reliable leaks as to what is actually in this deal.

Just one.

And that leak was reported in the Netanyahu friendly Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom.

But even here the sourcing was so unreliable that only one Arabic language and one Turkish paper bothered to pick it up. The source was an email from the Israeli foreign ministry.

This is a deal which purports to do that which has never been accomplished before.

In essence, "to go where no man has gone before."

With expressions like Deal of the Century there can only be two possible reactions.

One can either be extremely skeptical or have very high expectations.

The first stage of the deal was announced — not leaked, this week. It is an economic summit or, as the team prefers to term it, "an economic workshop" designed to raise money for Palestinian investment and infrastructure.

The two day summit will take place in Bahrain on June 25 and June 26.

This is not an aid package but investment.

Skepticism aside, the idea makes sense.

If political issues have hampered negotiations these past many years, why not try to advance in other directions like economics and quality of life. Adam Smith famously noted that "a rising tide raises all ships" and that school of thought encapsulates the logic behind the "economy first" principle of the Trump Peace Plan.

But, no. And I mean that literally.

Over the years, dating back to the tenure of Yasser Arafat, the first Palestinian leader, the Palestinians have perfected the art of saying"no".

They do not simply say no.

They turn their response into an "all or nothing no." They say that they will only come to the table if and when they get everything they want. Their opening argument closes all dialogue and negates any negotiation.

And that's one reason why, for decades, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have failed to come to conclusions when addressing issues of politics, borders, the capital city, refugees, and other contentious challenges.

This White House realizes the problem. Reality has set in. Palestinian leadership continues to reject every proposal put before them by the U.S. and other concerned countries, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the EU.

There are no talks. No interaction with any U.S. or Israeli diplomats or political leaders.

And now, the Palestinians have rejected the plan before they or any of us have even read it.

So the dream team charged with crafting this greatest of all deals needed to figure out how to advance the deal without one of the two players.

And they came up with the economic workshop.

Speaking in broad terms about the Deal of the Century Jason Greenblatt predicted that the deal would be greeted with criticism and laid it out this way: the "challenge of reaching a peace deal is extraordinary . . . What we hope is a full, comprehensive peace agreement . . . If that can't be achieved, then positive steps forward to help both Palestinians and Israelis and the region would be very good as well."

The U.S. led economic summit in Bahrain — with or without Palestinian participation, will go on. The summit without their presence and participation illustrates that the Palestinians are not mature enough to handle some of these issues, their own issues, issues confronting them and hamstringing their own development and destiny.

The summit will go on and the adults in the room will make decisions.

In the areas of diplomacy and negotiations, the Palestinians have not yet reached that level.

And there are bigger issues to be tackled, like Iran and terror and extremism.

Issues that trump (pun intended) the Palestinian issue.

What a shame for the Palestinian people. Put Israel and peace talks aside. The United States and so many of their neighboring countries are pulling for them.

Their leaders have denied them another opportunity for growth and economic development. And if, in the end, "The Deal of the Century" is not accepted maybe the small incremental improvements that the team does accomplish will improve the lives of the many people living in the Mideast.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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If political issues have hampered negotiations these past many years, why not try to advance in other directions like economics and quality of life.
arafat, netanyahu, palestinian, summit
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 01:56 PM
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