Donald Trump is holding a ceremony at the White House on a ‘historic’ first step ‘agreement’ between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel….
There is about 1,000 people jammed together there, with a few wearing masks….
Trump and Co. ARE getting media coverage as Donald Trump tries to change the focus from the virus and politics….
The agreement is NOT a ‘peace’ agreement at all…
For the Arab countries?
This is more about Iran than anything else…
The Palestinians aren’t at the table….
The two big deals trumpeted by the White House this month are not the victories for “peace” that Trump claims they are. Start with the main event this week: Both the UAE and Bahrain already communicate and engage with Israel, and the three countries were not locked in anything close to conflict. “The UAE-Israel strategic relationship was fueled by mutual fears of Iran and formalized by the United States,” Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told my colleagues. “It’s an example of Trump slapping his name on a hotel that was essentially already built.”
Boosters of the normalization see Israel’s deepening ties with the Arab world as a positive development in the region. But there’s no indication of what sort of real “peace” Palestinians chafing under Israeli occupation may gain from a handful of Gulf states receiving Israeli ambassadors and new orders of U.S. military hardware.
“It is hard to identify a single point of progress concerning Israeli-Palestinian peace that is the result of U.S. intervention,” noted Grace Wermenbol of the Middle East Institute. “Trump’s preternatural, pro-Israel policy has alienated the Palestinian Authority and challenged the U.S.’ ability to act as an impartial mediator. Beyond a clear diplomatic re-evaluation of the Palestinian cause, the UAE’s normalization of ties with Israel is unlikely to offer much more.”…
Senior U.S. and UAE officials say the peace agreement is smoothing the way for the Trump administration to proceed with the sale of long-sought F-35 stealth fighter jets and other sophisticated weaponry to the Persian Gulf state. That prospect is increasing the likelihood that Israel and other Middle East countries will in turn seek more advanced arms.
In Israel, the proposed sale is tainting the otherwise great enthusiasm here for the agreements brokered by the White House to normalize relations with the UAE and Bahrain as well.
“From a purely military perspective, I think it’s a dangerous development. It’s not just a new weapons technology. The F-35 is an entire weapons platform,” said Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and an analyst of U.S.-Israel relations. He said the F-35s would represent a “dramatic upgrading” of the UAE’s military capability….
“America has had a lot of expenditures in the Middle East. We’ve had a lot of troops, we’ve had a lot of our money and our attention focused there for the last 20 years. But this really signals the beginning of the president bringing people together,” Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview.
But when pressed on Palestine’s role in the administration’s strategy and foreign policy flashpoints such as borders, settlements and the holy city of Jerusalem, Kushner was dismissive, saying: “Those issues aren’t as complicated as people have made them out to be.”
“With regard to the Palestinians, I think with time that will come,” Kushner said, while maintaining that the U.S. “can’t want peace more than other people want peace.”
The Trump administration has pursued a Middle East policy favoring Israel and aimed largely at coercing Palestinians to participate in peace talks — including by cutting off their U.S. aid, among other measures.
But even if Trump hopes the accords become yet another pressure point for the Palestinians to agree to a peace deal with Israel, officials within the UAE and Bahrain do not necessarily share this view. For the Emiratis and the Bahrainis, the normalization agreements with Israel are more important for the united front they present against Iran, as well their potential economic and diplomatic benefits…