File image of Donald Trump | Commons
File image of US President Donald Trump | Commons
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New York/Washington: Donald Trump hasn’t yet delivered the “deal of the century” he’s long sought in the Middle East, but his administration’s efforts have produced an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that even opponent Joe Biden is calling a historic step.

It’s an accomplishment that comes with plans for a White House signing ceremony on the cusp of the November presidential election. And it lets President Trump claim a foreign policy win after he failed to deliver on efforts to secure a nuclear deal with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or force Iran’s leaders to the negotiating table through a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions.

Much has yet to be hashed out beyond the broad strokes outlined by Trump on Thursday: The UAE will move toward normalizing relations with Israel, joining Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab countries to do so. And Israel will suspend further annexations in the West Bank.

“It has been a long-term, bipartisan goal to pursue normalization between Israel and Arab states,” Daniel Shapiro, an ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, said on Twitter. “The UAE-Israel announcement is good news, and breaks an important barrier. Everyone should welcome it.”

A lot can still go wrong. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled he still hopes Israel can eventually annex the West Bank, emphasizing the current freeze is temporary.

The Trump administration also made clear that it hopes other Gulf countries, such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, will now follow the UAE’s lead. They do so at the risk of being seen as sabotaging the Palestinian cause and the anti-Israel sentiment that goes with it. Palestinian officials quickly condemned the UAE-Israel accord as a “betrayal.”


Also read: ‘We’re fed up with you, Bibi’ – Israel’s Covid mess adds to Netanyahu’s mountain of woes


‘Kneecap this deal’

That rejection comes with the prospect of violence if it stirs up groups such as Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. Even far right Israelis may be frustrated at the annexation suspension in the West Bank.

“Iran, Hezbollah, Israeli extremists, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood will all try to kneecap this deal with kinetic physical and cyber operations,” said Paul Sullivan, an international security expert at the National Defense University in Washington. “Both Israel and the UAE need to be hyper-vigilant against threats on this.”

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Al Jazeera that the UAE move was a “stab against the Palestinian cause and will encourage the Israeli occupation to commit more aggression against our people.”

Asked about rejection by the Palestinians, Trump told reporters Thursday that “I think the Palestinians, without saying it necessarily — I think they very much want to be a part of what we’re doing.”

The unexpected announcement came after years of Trump administration efforts to broker a broad Mideast peace appeared to be foundering.

At the beginning of his term in 2017, Trump called on Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, to seek a sweeping agreement — that “deal of the century” — between Israel and the Palestinians. The efforts stalled after the Palestinians grew alienated by Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Kushner’s plan

Kushner later laid out his plan, which promised economic investment for the Palestinians but annexation of swaths of the West Bank by Israel. Palestinian leaders quickly rejected it.

But ties between Israel and Gulf Arab states have warmed in recent years, in large part due to a shared distrust of Iran. Until now, they haven’t ripened into open relations, let alone normalization.

Kushner told reporters at the White House that UAE officials concerned about Israel’s annexation plans joined in secret talks over the past six weeks. That led to the decision to establish bilateral ties between Israel and the UAE in exchange for Netanyahu suspending his controversial annexation plan, Kushner said.

“We started a discussion with the UAE saying maybe this is something that we can do that shows that there’s a much greater interest to Israel in the short, medium, and long term than applying Israeli sovereignty,” said Kushner, who called Thursday’s announcement “a big breakthrough.”

Camp david accords

The deal would make Trump the third U.S. president — after Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — to get an Arab nation to establish ties with Israel. The planned White House signing ceremony will help Trump evoke the spirit of the original peace deal between Israel and Egypt facilitated by Carter as part of the Camp David accords in 1978.

The outcome will depend largely on how successful Israel and the UAE are in implementing their plan to normalize ties. The leader of the UAE, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, made more nuanced comments than Trump on Thursday, saying that the UAE and Israel “agreed to cooperation and setting a road map toward establishing a bilateral relationship.”

For Trump, the move was a day of celebration. His national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, went as far as to suggest the president should be in the top tier of candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The president is going to be known in history as one of the changemakers and one of the remarkable leaders in the Middle East,” he said.

Yet a lot can still go awry, whether before or after the November election, according to Sullivan at National Defense University.

“This 4-D chess game is far from over,” he said. – Bloomberg


Also read:To the din of drums and horns, thousands seek Israeli PM Netanyahu’s ouster


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Israel and United Arab Emirates conclude a historic peace deal on 13 August 2020.
    According to news reports , Israel and UAE have concluded a peace deal on 13 August , 2020 with the leading role of US President , Donald Trump. As part of the agreement , Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the Trump Administration’s Mideast peace plan , adding the country would focus on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world. A phenomenal and hard-nut-to-crack accomplishment , it is expected to assume significance in November 2020 US Presidential election , giving some credit to President Donald Trump. The said scenario in the U.S. can be found to be corresponding to one of key predictions of this Vedic astrology writer in article – “ Astrological probable alerts for 2020” – made last year 2019 on 11 November. The article was published at wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/5176/ on 1 January , 2020. The text in the article related to the prediction reads as follows :-
    “ 5. The second half of the year 2020 from July to November seems to be introducing some kind of relief , can be described as a change of season. Projects or plans left over from the past could gain a positive direction towards success………………………………………………..SOME PARTS OF AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER CAN BE SPECTACULARLY SIGNIFICANT AS REGARDS COOPERATION OR PARTNERSHIP WITH SOME POWERFUL NATIONS. SOME MEANINGFUL AND NOTABLE AS WELL DEAL MAY BE CLINCHED. THE SECOND HALF OF 2020 SEEMS TO BE BOOSTING UP THE PROSPECTS OF EXISTING POLITICAL RULER OF THE COUNTRY”.

  2. Israel and United Arab Emirates conclude a historic peace deal on 13 August 2020.
    According to news reports , Israel and UAE have concluded a peace deal on 13 August , 2020 with the leading role of US President , Donald Trump. As part of the agreement , Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the Trump Administration’s Mideast peace plan , adding the country would focus on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world. A phenomenal and hard-nut-to-crack accomplishment , it is expected to assume significance in November 2020 US Presidential election , giving some credit to President Donald Trump. The said scenario in the U.S. can be found to be corresponding to one of key predictions of this Vedic astrology writer in article – “ Astrological probable alerts for 2020” – made last year 2019 on 11 November. The article was published at wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/5176/ on 1 January , 2020. The text in the article related to the prediction reads as follows :-
    “ 5. The second half of the year 2020 from July to November seems to be introducing some kind of relief , can be described as a change of season. Projects or plans left over from the past could gain a positive direction towards success………………………………………………..SOME PARTS OF AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER CAN BE SPECTACULARLY SIGNIFICANT AS REGARDS COOPERATION OR PARTNERSHIP WITH SOME POWERFUL NATIONS. SOME MEANINGFUL AND NOTABLE AS WELL DEAL MAY BE CLINCHED. THE SECOND HALF OF 2020 SEEMS TO BE BOOSTING UP THE PROSPECTS OF EXISTING POLITICAL RULER OF THE COUNTRY”.
    There is a recent article of this writer -“ Planetary configuration in August-September 2020 suggest something historic , something rare” – published at nirpakhawaaz.com on 20 July , 2020. A patient reading of the article suggests some predictive message which can be related to the peace deal between Israel and United Arab Emirates announced by President Donald Trump on 13 August , 2020. The following text in the article of 20 July 2020 is relevant :-
    “ Looking afresh in July 2020 at the planetary configuration relating to second half of 2020 , this writer has noticed something rare , something phenomenal likely to occur in August-September 2020 , which may be shared with readers here and now. The world looks to be getting together in two separate and distinct camps. One camp claims believing in or advocating social-cum-universal sort of philosophy. The other camp appears to be one whose key theme is expansionism. Yes , these two camps look to be pitted against each other during August-September……………………………………….The period from 11 August to 10 September in 2020 is also the time when some tangible and solid news by way of drug and vaccine to effectively fight the novel coronavirus ( Covid-19 ) can come. THE NATURE OF THE PERIOD CAN BE DESCRIBED AS SUFFERINGS-KILLER OR ANTI-DOT TO SUFFERINGS OR PAIN”.

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