Bits and Pieces: Washington Post Reveals Aspects of Trump Mideast Peace Plan
Mideast observers are already crediting Jared Kushner and company with one success; and while many say it’s probably the last, keeping the Mideast peace plan under wraps for two years is no small achievement. But now, with the Israeli election over and the region anxious to know whether the plan has any real chance to do what no one has been able to do until now, the peace process Trump-style appears to have entered the “trial balloon stage.” This traditional Middle East ritual allows the plan’s authors to release information in dribbles and drabs while maintaining a firm grip on plausible deniability. It also creates wiggle room to make changes. The Washington Post says that the Trump plan will focus on Palestinian “autonomy” rather than “sovereignty.” It’s the same new idea that the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir brought unsuccessfully to the 1991 Madrid Conference. This time around, if the administration plans to push autonomy in place of sovereignty it does so while ignoring the seminal role statehood now plays in the Palestinian narrative. This, according to one veteran pundit speaking anonymously, reinforces the rap on the American negotiators – that they are novices with no real-time experience among them. European leaders are already weighing-in loudly, rejecting the absence of statehood – arguing it should be the first consideration. Meanwhile, on Saturday night Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the difficulties facing Jared & Company. Abbas told the first meeting of the 18th government that the first order of business is the “Deal of the Century” which, he said, the Palestinians have rejected from the beginning, “because it excluded Jerusalem from Palestine, and therefore we do not want the rest. There is no state without Jerusalem, no state in Gaza, no state without Gaza.” Abbas explained that President Trump disqualified himself from peacemaking when he presented a series of “gifts” to Israel from declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital and moving the embassy; to allowing Israel to annex the Golan Heights.