By Ted Belman
PM Netanyahu talks of a new “political horizon”. And then we read Saudis are pushing for peace. Lapid informed the international press, Netanyahu hints he will agree to convene regional peace conference.
Yesterday I brought these events to the attention of a longtime US intelligence officer whose work involved Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states. His contacts in Saudi Arabia are numorous.
What are chances of Saudis making a better offer to Israel? Would they be willing to agree to a peace agreement with Israel in which Israel kept half of Area C so that Israel would remain on the Jordan and would not have to uproot 150,000 Jews?
In short form the Saudi peace plan is more complicated than stated in the article. It says that when Israel satisfies ALL the actors on ALL CONDITIONS then the Arab League will consider (and the operational word is “consider”) normalization. These conditions include water rights, oil drilling economic area designations, etc. etc.
The Saudis will never make a proposal of their own officially. What they will say is whatever the Palestinians are satisfied with they will support. Whenever they go back channel it is to elicit a counteroffer which they then use as your starting point for the next round of negotiations. They, for years ,have recognized the Shite problem and are willing to work back channel on shared interests.
The royal family is a complex amalgamation. There is much tug of war between various interests. There is a lot of give-and-take. There are many radically conflicting viewpoints. Anyone who pretends to understand this system or to make predictions is a charlatan and a fraud. Directly answering : What is the chance of the Saudis making a better offer to Israel? I believe that the Saudis may put a lot of stuff on the table for discussion but no offer will ever be binding. For the Saudis to make any concession would open them up to the accusation that they sold out.
I also addressed the question of Palestinian casualties in the rest of the Arab world. Frankly they don’t give a damn. In Syria more Syrian troops have been executed this year by the rebels than total Palestinian casualties. In Iraq the number of Shiite Iraqi soldiers and military cadets that have been executed this year also exceeds the total number of Palestinian casualties. Also think Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. The Kuwaitis hate the Palestinians.
I read Saudis are pushing for peace. in detail. Thank you for sending it. I do not believe that the writer offers any realistic insights.
I am aware that the original offer as amended by the OIC said that if Israel did everything required, then a peace agreement would be considered. That’s far from a commitment.
What with article and netanyahu talking about a new political horizon, one would think that something is in the works regarding a settlement, but Israel will never agree to 67 lines plus swaps.
To which he replied:
Some years ago when I had influence I advised on negotiations. I suggested “sincere” and “dedicated” negotiations “in good faith”… GET CLOSE, BUT NEVER CLOSE THE DEAL… but maintain the power to enforce the outcomes that you desire.
The team assigned had to believe that they were given the charter to succeed. Otherwise, they could not play the game. In reality their mission was to block the play of the other team and to hold the game at midfield.
At a certain point, we would put in a new US team. The Soviets played a similar game.
We each would start off at our end of the table. After a while, we would get to the middle of the table.
They would put in a new team and the new team would call the position at the middle of the table the “American position“ and they would demand that we restart negotiations from there . ( This is similar to the Palestinian authority demands concerning various Israeli conditional offers.) Then the Soviets would reverse back to their original position at their end of the table. In American football terms this would mean that they were starting at the 50 yard line and driving toward our goal line, rather than starting at their original goal line.
Then after stalemate was achieved this deal would be settled at the top.
Our back channel dealings with the Iranians were educational. We got our clock cleaned. They know every trick in the book and then some. Rouhani brags about his efforts publicly. Unfortunately, what I have learned is that we never learn.
If I were to advise Israel I would advise that Israel go back channel to stall for time with the Obama administration.
Meantime , I would take piecemeal actions on the ground which would effectively incorporate all of the settlements that by any agreement will be part of Israel, officially into Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli bureaucracy talks too damn much and has too many formal procedures each of which draws worldwide condemnation. Thus Israel takes 1000 wounds on their way to accomplishing any action. Here, plausible public deniability while creating new facts on the ground is a key to international success.
Publicly, I would talk about the settlers becoming citizens and taxpayers of the new Palestinian state and having the same rights as Arabs in Israel. I would talk about business investments, courts, legal and physical protection, etc.
I would enthusiastically paint the utopia that could and would exist if the Palestinians were like the Israelis. (But they are not so I would not buy into the dream… However, I would express the dream as my objective … as the utopia we are all trying to achieve.)
in the meantime I would propose a customs and duty-free union between Israel, Jordan, Egypt and propose that Gaza and Lebanon be included if and when they decide to join. I would seek alliances with Greek Cyprus and the Kurds. I would propose back channel joint scientific efforts with Egypt and Saudi Arabia on such areas as energy, water, agriculture, etc.
I would also have a very bright and sincere guy in Israel named Ted Belman focus on producing educational materials to be used by Jewish and general publications throughout the world. Some topics would include the demographics of Israel and the West Bank — To forever destroy the self-induced pressure that demographics is against Israel and Israel better settle before Jews become a minority between the ocean and sea.
And on the Jews’ historical claims for “close settlement” in Jordan, the West Bank and all of Israel. The right of “close settlement” for Jews is not an Israeli right… It is an international Jewish right that cannot be given up by any political sovereignty such as the state of Israel.
I would, in addition to focusing on the right of close settlement for Jews on the West Bank, discuss
the difference between sovereignty, and land ownership and the legacy of Nazi Germany and the mufti in the demand that the Palestinians state be Jew free.
I think a key to your success is to enlist Christian supporters with the sufficient credentials as the nominal authors to present these materials. I’ve seen a lot of materials on these subjects that would be useful but I have not seen any simple, effective presentations that will be suitable for publication in various Jewish and general publications.
if you wonder what we are working on, here is a small sample. The United States faces substantial military, political, and economic challenges.
China is developing a white water Navy and tremendous cyber, missile and space capabilities. They are pushing on Japan, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.
Pakistan is extremely unstable. Afghanistan is a failed state and is deteriorating rapidly.
Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, etc. are probably lost to the West.
Russia is returning to its expansionist past.
Iran’s program is to dominate the world’s petroleum shipping routes and expand its influence throughout the Middle East as well as worldwide. It is developing a protective shield for its nuclear program. Is not interested in one nuclear weapon since if it announces one weapon, then there is incentive to take it out. However, if ithey 1st developed a protective shield and then develop nuclear weapons they will achieve the predominance bargaining position in the Middle East. If the current regime were to be be overthrown, then Israel would be in danger of the falling regime taking out Israel to gain recognition in the Islamic world for ever.
Then there is electromagnetic pulse capabilities. The ability to enter and destroy complex information/communication networks. The ability to perform local acts of terror with jihadists who are locally positioned. Etc. etc.
it is amazing that with all hell breaking loose all over the world that Obama and Kerry are placing so much focus is so much pressure on Israel.
To which I replied:
You might be interested in this famous article.
I recently wrote the following to an associate dealing with US expectations of us.
I a recent interview Inkyk said:
In the interview with Foreign Policy magazine, he characterizes harsh Israeli criticism from its political Right “hubris,” contributing to a “bubble of illusion” that the Jewish state is not reliant on the US.
That goes to the crux. We Israelis don’t know our place.