President Trump came into office with the idea of succeeding where other presidents had failed. His goal was to forge a comprehensive Mideast peace process that would both end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and create a bloc between the most powerful Sunni States of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates (and possibly a newly formed, U.S. backed Kurdistan) with Israel to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda, oppose Iran and reaffirm U.S. leadership in the region. How’s that working out? It Isn’t, and President Trump may be pulling out of the Mideast peace process, at least the part concerning Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
First, some background.
President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia and his remarks there made a huge impression on the Arab states that attended the Riyadh summit. They had experienced 8 years of President Bush’s amateurism, which only served to unleash Iran by establishing a Shi’ite dictatorship in place of a Sunni counterbalance in Iraq. And even worse, they had experienced President Barack Hussein Obama going even further to appease and empower Iran with billions of dollars and a clear path to nuclear weapons.
President Trump’s speech did not excuse previous winking at or financing of terrorism by Sunni states like President Obama’s Cairo speech. What it was instead was a reset, a clear invitation…stand with America, against Islamic terrorism and against Iran and you can expect our help. Otherwise, you stand alone and incur America’s enmity. Implicit in that was a new policy by the Sunni states towards U.S. ally Israel, something that had been gradually happening anyway.
Much of the basis of this was solidified behind closed doors with a large deal for the Arabs to buy U.S. arms among other things. One of them was a deal for the Arabs to significantly alter the notorious Saudi ‘peace’ ultimatum’ to Israel in exchange for some minor land concessions to the Arabs who call themselves ‘Palestinians.’
I should also mention that I’m reliably informed that Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu was fully informed about all of this before President Trump went to Riyadh, okayed the arms deal and was on board for certain concessions in exchange for significant quid pro quos from Abbas and the Palestinian authority.
The Sunni states made two significant steps that showed they were taking all this seriously. Of course, with a media concentrating on fake news about phantom links between Russia and the Trumps, you might not of read about them, but I’ll present them here.
The first major action was a radical shakeup in the Saudi Royal family.Saudi King Salmon made a surprise decision to elevate his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, to crown prince and heir to the throne, in place of his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef. King Salman obtained the support of 31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia’s Allegiance Council for confirming Prince Muhammad Bin Salman as crown prince as well as deputy prime minister and minister of defense.Bin Salmon is outspokenly in favor of a new US-Arab-Israeli alliance that will confront Iran, as well as social and economic reforms. Like Egypt’s al-Sisi, he favors an end to non-relations between Israel and the Arab world. Other changes in Saudi leadership are already occurring, and will likely continue with Prince Mohammed as heir to the throne.
The second was four Arab nations(The Saudis and the Emirates) boycotting Qatar, with the Saudis in the lead, in response to President Trump’s demand for strong action to stop the funding of Islamic terrorism. Qatar’s funding of terrorists is notorious. Along with Turkey and President Obama, Qatar provided the financing,arming and training of radical jihadist elements of the Syrian Free Army that created ISIS.
The aggressive Saudi and UAE stance against Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani makes this a whole new ballgame.
The appointment of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates as crown prince is another indication of change, since he’s a contemporary of Crown Prince Mohammed and they have similar views on these subjects.
So, peace between the ‘Palestinians’ and Israel?
President Trump is on the verge of walking away from it as a bad deal.
Things started badly when President Trump first met with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s unelected dictator in year 10 of a four year term. Abbas planned to trick President Trump by setting up the route to the conference so that the President would pass directly in front of Yasser Arafat’s tomb, where camera men were ready to snap pictures that would be represented as President Trump paying homage to Arafat. Fortunately, the State Department found out about the scheme and changed the route.
In the conference itself, one thing President Trump explicitly asked Abbas for was that the Palestinian Authority stop using international donor funds to pay convicted killers and their families, and to end incitement in it’s schools, media and mosques against Jews and Israel. That’s why President Trump looked directly at Abbas at their joint press conference and said that “peace cannot flourish where terrorism is funded, encouraged and rewarded.”
The PA further infuriated the Trump Administration by having one of its functionaries tell Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the PA was going to comply with President Trump’s wishes on funding terrorism. Once Tillerson conveyed this to the media, the PA embarrassed him publicly by denying it. And of course, incitement and the funding of terrorists and their families still continues.
Even worse was to come. The recent meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner on June 25 might have been characterized as ‘productive’ in some wishful thinking media, but the reality is that it was anything but. The The London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat had a much more accurate account.
Kushner again directly challenged Abbas on using international financial aid to pay salaries to terrorists sitting in Israeli jails and their families, as well as on the constant incitement against israel and Jews. And Kushner also mentioned the White House’s disappointment that Abbas had failed to condemn the deadly terrorist stabbing in Jerusalem that occurred shortly before the meeting. It took the life of a young female Border Police officer, Hadas Malka. This is the one the BBC reported with the headline, “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem” *
Abbas was outraged and said he would never stop paying convicted killers in Israeli jails, saying it was his ‘social responsibility.’ Several people outside the room heard them actually yelling at each other,something I was able to confirm.
Since then, Abbas has ramped up incitement against Israel, continued to finance terrorism and attack Israel at the one forum where anyone takes him seriously, at the UN. In violation of the UN Charter, several UN organizations like UNESCO have ‘Palestine’ as a member even though it isn’t a country. Thanks to the anti-Israel resolution Barack Hussein Obama cheerfully instigated and allowed to pass, Israel is supposedly denied access to its major religious sites like the Kotel and the Cave of the Patriarchs, and UNESCO’S World Heritage committee has deemed them ‘Palestinian territory’ and thus Judenrein in the Nazi sense of the word. Needless to say, in the real world outside Turtle Bay, none of this means anything at all, None of it is legally binding or calls for the UN to enforce it. But it does show that the Palestinian Authority and Abbas have no real interest in peace or in compromise of any kind. That’s never been part of their agenda.
Abbas’s rejectionism hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Sunni Arab states, who need this arrangement a lot more than they need Abbas and Fatah. Mahmoud Abbas’s constant shilling for more money from them hasn’t been met with open wallets lately, and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has abruptly scrapped a series of meeting with Abbas that were scheduled.
And one last bit of evidence on how the Mideast peace process is DOA. Israeli PM Netanyahu (perhaps at President Trump’s urging) put together yet another concession to help things along and get the ball rolling. This involved building approval for 14,000 homes in Qalqiliya, a small Arab town on Israel’s borders. The new homes would have been in Area C, the part of Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank for CNN viewers) under Israeli sovereignty per the Oslo Accords. In other words, a large enclave of hostile Arabs right on Israel’s border.
Israeli public reaction was absolutely livid, since building permits for Israelis in the area and elsewhere are rationed, and Israeli residents who lived in Amona and Beit -El are still waiting for the government to keep its promise and build new homes for them to replace the ones they lost when they were forcibly evacuated as part of the ‘peace’ process.
Netanyahu and Israeli defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who brainstormed this idiocy ended up not even bringing it to a vote in Israel’s security council, let alone the Knesset. The behavior of Israel’s ‘peace partners’ pretty much killed this, which is actually a good thing given the track record of the Arabs whom call themselves ‘Palestinians’.
The recent murder of two Israeli border police (both Druse, whose funerals were accompanied by thousands of Israelis) is yet another sign of where all this is going. The two policemen were shot in the back by Arab terrorists after Muslim prayers with weapons they smuggled into the al-Aqsa mosque.
Mahmoud Abbas (after prompting by the White House) issued a half hearted condemnation of all violence…followed by a rebroadcasting on the official Fatah Facebook page of a Mahmoud Abbas speech calling for exactly that, violence and rage to take over the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Temple mount and to stop Jews from defiling it – in Arabic, of course.
The Palestinians also erupted in violent demonstrations when the Israeli police attempted to put metal detectors up to stop the murder of Israelis from recurring. This was after a number of weapons were actually found stored in the mosque itself.
The Israeli response to this nonsense was to take Jerusalem off the table entirely.
The Knesset Ministers committee unanimously approved legislation on Sunday approving a bill advanced by Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) leader Naftali Bennett. It mandates a special, 80-MK majority on any future legislation dividing Jerusalem. The Knesset has 120 seats, so an 80 seat vote is virtually an impossibility. The Israelis were never going to redivide Jerusalem anyway. But this makes it official.
Meanwhile Abbas is continuing to stir the pot, visiting leaders like French President Macron and China’s President Xi and lobbying them to get involved in the peace process. Abbas understands that President Trump now realizes he has no interest continuing the peace process with Abbas as a factor, something I predicted would happen back when President Trump first started dealing with Mahmoud Abbas. Negotiating can’t work when one of the parties continues to operate in bad faith.
And pot stirring tactics is about all Mahmoud Abbas has left, and they’re totally ineffectual. UN groups like UNESCO could declare all of Israel except a strip near Tel Aviv Palestinian territory and it would have no effect except the cutting of even more UN funding. Abbas can continue to rant about the Temple Mount and do his best to inspire hatred and violence towards Israel, but it won’t get him any closer to what he wants. And Abbas, at 82 and a chain smoker isn’t going to be around much longer anyway. Another Capo al Tutti will take over the Fatah mafia, thump his chest and attempt to steal as much international aid for his personal fortune as possible, just like Arafat and Abbas did. But his take is likely to be less than theirs as even the gullible Europeans are getting tired of funding one of the longest running con games in history.
Actually, there is a way to bring this sorry situation to a satisfactory climax, believe it or not. But more on that in a coming article.
* Since Donald Trump Jr. is in the headlines these days, I thought I’d share his response to the BBC’s disgusting bias:
Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.