Tug of War between the API and its backers and Trumps Plan is underway

T. Belman. Singer is right to point out that Saudi Arabia is not accepting the Trump Plan in place of the API. Trump has invested a great deal in his vision including his first trip to Riyadh where he demanded that the Arab states stop supporting the Islamists and their ideology and Kushner’s trip to trip to Bahrain a year later which netted him pledges amounting to $50 Billion to assist the Palestinians. Over three years of intense effort culminated in the tabling of his Peace to Prosperity Plan in January of this year.

King Salman’s recent insistence on the Arab Peace Initiative as a stepping stone to peace was perhaps a mortal blow to Trumps efforts and Plan. Will this result in a change of position by UAE. Possibly.

Will Trump proceed with his Plan without Arab or EU support just as he did with recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? At a minimum, I think he will wait until he is reelected.

Netanyahu has welcomed the Saudi and Bahrain historic air space concessions as stepping stones to Arab-Jewish reconciliation. Op-ed.

By David Singer, INN

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s decisions to allow their airspace to be used by commercial Israeli planes flying the Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) route are the first of what could be termed continuing acts of soft diplomacy by Arab and other Islamic states to help end the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict.

Soft diplomacy avoids Arab loss of face in having to jettison the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative in favour of President Trump’s 2020 deal of the century – allowing peace to evolve without peace treaties being signed now.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has welcomed Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s historic air space concessions which are highly significant stepping stones on the path to Arab-Jewish reconciliation.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) broke the ice on 2 September when approving the request from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority to allow flights coming to and departing from the UAE to all countries to pass through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s airspace.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement meant that commercial flights by Israeli airlines to the UAE and return would be allowed over Saudi air space for the first time in history – reducing flying time between Israel and the UAE from seven hours to about three and a half hours.

However Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan warned that:

“The Kingdom’s firm and established positions towards the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people will not change by allowing the passage of the Kingdom’s airspace for flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates to all countries, and the Kingdom appreciates all efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Bahrain quickly followed suit on 3 September with an official source at the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications announcing that Bahrain had approved the request from the UAE General Aviation Authority to allow all flights coming to and departing from the UAE to all countries to cross Bahrain’s airspace.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa reportedly told US Secretary for State Mike Pompeo in August that – contrary to the Trump Peace Plan – Bahrain remained committed to the Arab Peace Initiative – which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from all the territories captured in 1967 – including the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem – in exchange for peace and the full normalization of relations.

Trump needs the Arab states to continue making more concessions to persuade Israel continuing its major concession: postponing the immediate application of Israeli sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) designated in Trump’s peace plan.

Concessions by Arab States could include:

  • Attending the signing of the Israel-UAE Peace Treaty at the White House – which seems certain to occur before the US Presidential election on 3 November.
  • Participating in a follow-up Conference similar to the historic one held in the White House on 13 March 2018 – attended by Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the UAE – that discussed solutions to the worsening humanitarian and economic conditions in Gaza. That Conference became the catalyst leading to the Israel-UAE peace deal and greatly improved political and personal relationships between Jews and Arabs today. Representatives from the United Nations, European Union, Office of the Quartet, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom also attended the Gaza Conference.
  • Following the UAE lead in ending Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.

Arab States building mutual trust with Israel by incrementally advancing the peace process will keep Trump’s Peace Plan alive whilst placating Trump’s desire to see its implementation concluded.

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog


September 8, 2020 | 7 Comments » | 350 views

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. The King who is very old and ill does not accept it. His son MBS likely would and if his father dies it is not unlikely that MBS as the new King will forge official relations with Israel. The Arab initiate is pure bullshit and going nowhere it was presented in 2002 and is not a basis for negotiating anything in the real world.

  2. The Saudis signaled their desire for a positive relationship with Israel innumerable times over the past several years. The reason they cling to their obviously obsolete 2002 proposal for the official diplomatic record is that to do otherwise would pretty much assure that the Saudi Wahabi religious establishment and the muslim Brotherhood, which has many agents in Saudi Arabia, would assassinate MBS and stage a coup if he openly normalizes relations with Israel. MBS would have to round these people up an execute large numbers them, maybe several thousand in order to neutralize them as a threat to himself. But that would be a very controversial move both within Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arab world. The American and European goo-goos and virtue-signaler’s would also condemn him.

    There are many indications that Saudi Arabia supports both the UAE agreement and the Trump plan of the century. One is that an editorial in a government-owned and published Saudi newspaper expressed support fot the UAE’s recognition of Israel and condemned Abbas for rejecting it. The editorial, written by the papers’s editor, also criticised Abbas for rejecting the Trump plan out of hand. Instead, the editor wrote, the Palestinians should have accepted it as a basis for negotiations and then proposed to some modifications in the plan in the Palestinian’s own interest. The editor also pointed out that both Israel and the United States had offered the Palestinians peace terms more favorable than the Trump plan many times, but the Abbas-PLO regime had rejected all of them. The author concluded that the reasons the PLO and Hamas have rejected all of these plans is because they don’t care about their own people, and just want the war to continue so that they can continue to receive big money pay-offs from the Iranians and the Europeans.

    The author also defended the UAE’s decision to normalize relations with Israel as being in the UAE’s”supreme national interests.”

    The editor’s criticisms of the Abbas-PLO-Fatah regime are nealy identical to the criticisms made many times over by the Israeli press. This in itself is evidence that Prince MBS supports the UAE-Israel normalization and the Trump plan.

    Another Saudi journalist, appearing on Saudi TV, urged Iran to sign a peace agreement with Israel. According to this journalist, only a n Iranian-Israel peace treaty could bring peace to the middle East. That was an indirect way of saying that the Saudis should also sign such an agreement with Israel.

    The Saudis have allowed Israelis to fly over Saudi air space to the UAE in back during the preparations for the formal signing of the Israel-UAE accord. That is certainly evidence that they support the normalization process.

  3. @ Bear Klein:

    I agree. When the king succeeded he was already suffering from what was politely called “mild dementia”. He was also partially paralysed. He has been nothing b ut a figurehead since succeeding. Internal palace politics have played a big part, resulting in popular long-time Crown Prince being shunted off, and his son by his last wife (the usual “favourite foot-warmer in his old age) MBS replaced him.

    Well, it only gets worse,and who knows whether he even has made these latest statements or if they have been scripted by his “handlers”, including MBS, as being something like THE major conservative Arab king would say. This, possibly to keep international speculation quiet-er, until MBS is more securely settled in power. The Kashoggi furore caused him far more harm than estimated.

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