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Tags: Donald Trump | Israel | Middle East | netanyahu | abbas | oman | palestinians

Historic Mideast Shift Reflects Agreement With Trump Plan  

mideast trump and netanyahu

Jerusalem, Israel: May 23, 2017 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump prior to the president's departure from Tel Aviv. At the time, Trump arrived for a 28-hour visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas on his first foreign trip since taking office in January of that year. (Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images)

Micah Halpern By Friday, 31 January 2020 05:41 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Three ambassadors from the Arab world were not just in the room when President Donald J. Trump unfurled his Deal of the Century, they allowed their presence to be acknowledged and their faces to appear in the international media.

Not only did these three Gulf State senior representatives — from Oman, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — participate in the event, they listened and even applauded - yes, applauded — in response to the speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One word describes the magnitude of those actions — Historic.

Quite honestly, the actual details of the deal are of less interest than the seismic change in Arab world attitudes towards the Jewish State that was brought front and center because of the deal. The details in the deal will be changed, modified, discussed, and dissected.

But no one can ever take away or change the fact that leaders of the Arab world vocally and visually support the deal.

Not so very long ago, each time an Israeli got up to speak at the United Nations, all members of all Arab delegations ceremoniously stood up and walked out. This week, that public protest was replaced with support. Arab leaders were given and accepted accolades and compliments were heaped upon their proxies for the roles they played in constructing this plan.

I repeat — Historic.

Of course there's been blowback n the Arab world from neighboring countries not as supportive of the deal and the plan as those who were in the room with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

That's to be expected. But the criticism has been muted.

Rather than offering up mea culpas for their transgression, the three Gulf states have merely dialed-back their enthusiasm.

Rather than total embrace of the plan, they are now explaining that they support U.S. President Trump's "efforts" in bringing about a resolution of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

The comments stop short of endorsing the Trump plan.

That's okay. They were there. The Palestinians were not.

The absence of the Palestinians when the long talked about and sought after deal/plan was presented filled the room. Once upon a time it was the Palestinians who set the tone for the entire Arab world on issues regarding Israel and peace with the Israelis.

Now, as was made perfectly — and painfully — obvious, they are not even important players in the process. Should they choose, they can once again become players, but to do that, they need to come to the proverbial peace table.

The Trump plan is just a framework, not really a deal.

Any good deal, like any good contract, is going to ask both sides to compromise.

What was presented to the world, Trump and Netanyahu standing side-by-side and a room erupting in applause, is the starting point.

There is much to hash out, refine and reject before the deal's application.

In order for that to happen, the Palestinians have to do something they have been loathe to do since the reign of Yasser Arafat. They must say "yes". It's hard for them, but it's the only way they will be able to enter into negotiations and finally, achieve internationally recognized statehood and peace with Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the plan. An ill and aging leader, he said that he does not have long to live and has two choices: Die as a martyr or die as a traitor. He said, "I choose to fight and die as a martyr on the walls of Jerusalem."

And now the Palestinians have appealed to theArab world to not merely reject, but to sabotage the deal.

The Palestinians are also counting on Trump losing the election and having this deal fall into the waste bin of history. Counting Trump out is a very reckless prediction.

The bigger concern for Palestinians should be what happens when Abbas is no longer there and there is no plan in place.

Given the tensions and public reaction, it's clear that the Palestinians cannot cooperate with Israel and with the United States openly and in public. But they can work on it quietly, behind closed doors, far from the eyes and ears of those who will condemn it.

Most accomplishments and progress in the Mideast happen behind closed doors.

To be fair, there are some very difficult components to be ironed out in this plan.

The plan is predicated on the Palestinian Authority (PA) bringing Hamas/Gaza in line and under their control.

That is a very difficult undertaking and Abbas knows it very well. Hamas cannot — under any circumstances or deal or plan or arrangement — have an independent state in Gaza.

That would be a three state solution, not a two state solution.

Hamas successfully ousted Abbas and the Palestinian Authority from Gaza in a bloody, murderous, five day coup from June 10 to-  June 15, 2007.

This explains why, on the day of the deal, for the first time in a very long time, Abbas and Hamas leaders met to talk. That could not have been easy.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are enemies they are not friends.

And as for the elephant in the room — that — presenting the plan now an intentional diversion from Trump's impeachment and/or Netanyahu's legal woes?

The beauty of democracy is that even though Trump has been going through an impeachment process, the plan is out there.

And even if Netanyahu is no longer prime minister, Israel's opposition leader Benny Gantz was there in the room and he will continue the process.

Most Israelis — the overwhelming majority of Israelis, agree with the Trump plan.

The bottom line is a cliche, but the reason we have cliches is because they can be so true: "It takes two to tango," — but without both dancers, all we have is music.

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 reportsClick Here Now.

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Even if Netanyahu is no longer prime minister, Israel's opposition leader Benny Gantz was there in the room and he will continue the process. Most Israelis, the overwhelming majority of Israelis, agree with the Trump plan.
netanyahu, abbas, oman, palestinians
Friday, 31 January 2020 05:41 PM
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