For months I’ve been telling you that the framework for a Middle East Peace Plan is in process. Donald Trump dropped a nuclear bomb on the world the other day by announcing the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ending more than 50 years of virtue-signaling over what is, in fact, fact.
And right after that announcement Trump told the Saudi Arabians to end the blockade against Yemen. And in less then a day Israelis went from cheering Trump’s name to being confused.
I spent a long time on the phone with a Jewish friend of mine who couldn’t understand what this was about. Saying he couldn’t understand why Trump did this when the Saudis had already done so much.
And he should have known better.
What have the Saudis done to this point that should absolve them of having to do more to right their wrongs. Mohammed bin Salman’s purge and gangster-esque shakedown of his rivals withing the royal family are a good start.
But, he has a lot of work to do to right his wrongs in Yemen… and Syria… and Qatar. Because in all of these operations the Saudis were the aggressor, certainly in Yemen and Qatar and they’ve dragged us into these conflicts against our will because he misinterpreted Trump’s pledge to Saudi Arabia during his initial visit this summer.
This call to end the blockade in Yemen was a simple give and take with Iran and the Shia. It doesn’t balance out the move to recognize Jerusalem but it does move the U.S. in the right direction in defining the limits to which it will back both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Follow that up with the report from Reuters this morning that in his phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that this recognition is only the first step.
Trump told Abbas, a Western-backed moderate, that the final peace blueprint would offer the Palestinians an important settlement that they would be pleased with, but did not provide specifics, the sources said.
Abbas told Trump in response that any peace process must result in the Palestinians having their capital in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and later annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.
Trump’s no dummy. He knows that concessions will have to be made to get any kind of deal done. But, Jerusalem was never on the table in any practical sense and it existed as an excuse to continue the conflict indefinitely and eventually grind Israel off the map.
Trump just ended that open wound and took it off the table. And with that one move he calls everyone’s bluff about what their real intentions are.
“Do you want peace?” “Great. Let’s make a deal. But you aren’t going to get everything you want.”
By the way, neither is Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his merry band of neocons are going to be just as disappointed as bin Salman was when he was dressed down by both Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over his blockade of Qatar in June.
For anyone who thinks that Trump just gave Israel the green light to go to war with the Arabs is not thinking this through. We ultimately guarantee both Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s security. And if Trump demonstrates his ability to keep them both on a short leash, the Arabs will come to the table and talk.
The official said the plan, which he described as comprehensive and going beyond frameworks put forth by previous U.S. administrations, would likely be unveiled before the middle of next year.
A key test of keeping the peace efforts on track will be whether Abbas goes ahead with a scheduled meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when he visits the region in mid-December.
He will. And Israel will stop striking out in every direction, as my friend Halsey English put it the other night, “bombing every truck over the size of an SUV that’s headed from Iran to Lebanon.”
And the U.S., thanks to Trump the U.S. is now publicly committed to Israel in a healthy way for the region, not just the big banks, big oil and AIPAC.
And as Halsey also pointed out, the entire region is scared enough of the Russians that they will have no problem getting the Iranians and Hezbollah to behave. That’s why Russia isn’t leaving Syria. And it’s why the Iranian Republican Guard will.
And Trump isn’t leading us into war but rather a rather sophisticated peace deal that will confound every conventional analyst on the subject.
Watch the first 20 minutes of this show to get the whole thing laid out in full.