Trump’s great gam­ble on Mideast peace...

The Miracle - - Front Page - By:SIGURD NEUBAUER

The EU will host a meet­ing in Brus­sels on Jan. 31 of the Ad Hoc Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee (ADLC), the 15-mem­ber body that is the prin­ci­pal pol­icy-level co­or­di­na­tion mech­a­nism for de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance for the Pales­tinian peo­ple. In­vi­ta­tions have gone out to the for­eign min­is­ters of the EU, the Arab League and the mem­bers of Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC) to rally in­ter­na­tional sup­port for the Pales­tinian cause and for the ur­gent need to se­cure a two-state so­lu­tion. The meet­ing comes at a time of con­tin­u­ing dis­may over the US de­ci­sion to rec­og­nize Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal, and the cut in US fund­ing for UNRWA, the UN aid agency for Pales­tinian refugees. While po­lit­i­cal lead­ers in Is­rael and Pales­tine await US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s new peace plan, the pur­pose of the ADLC meet­ing will be twofold: To recom­mit in­ter­na­tional sup­port for a two state-so­lu­tion, in­clud­ing by the par­ties them­selves, and to recom­mit to the need to en­able the Pales­tinian Author­ity to execute full con­trol over Gaza. The new US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy names Iran as its prin­ci­pal re­gional ad­ver­sary and lists Wash­ing­ton’s Arab al­lies, along with Is­rael, as equal pil­lars in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of its re­gional agenda. In this con­text, Trump wants to use the peace process as a glue to of­fi­cially bind them to­gether. The EU’s strate­gic vi­sion, mean­while, is to nar­row Pales­tinian-Is­raeli dif­fer­ences so that di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions can take place. “By giv­ing both Mah­moud Ab­bas and Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu what they need to sat­isfy their do­mes­tic con­stituen­cies, the US pres­i­dent may en­able both lead­ers to make the com­pro­mises nec­es­sary to re­solve the con­flict.” Build­ing on Trump’s dis­rup­tive ap­proach by rec­og­niz­ing Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal, a log­i­cal next step will be for the EU — with US sup­port — to rec­og­nize the State of Pales­tine with East Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal as part of an ef­fort to strengthen the Pales­tinian po­si­tion. By giv­ing each party what they want, Wash­ing­ton’s gam­ble may be that Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas and Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s do­mes­tic stand­ings are strength­ened, so that they can carry out the nec­es­sary com­pro­mises for peace talks to suc­ceed. The tim­ing of the ADLC meet­ing is not co­in­ci­den­tal. The fol­low­ing day, Arab League for­eign min­is­ters will meet in Cairo, where they will dis­cuss the out­come and how to pro­ceed. Trump may also be gam­bling that Ab­bas — with Euro­pean and Arab sup­port — will en­gage with Is­rael. In re­turn, the Arab states can ex­pect Wash­ing­ton to keep the heat on Iran by us­ing the 2015 nu­clear deal as lever­age to pres­sure Tehran to roll back on its ma­lign re­gional ac­tiv­ity. • Sigurd Neubauer is a Mid­dle East an­a­lyst in Wash­ing­ton. Source:­

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