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With the departure of Barack Obama, the focus on the Israel-Palestine issue was really gone. Canada and the leftists of the EU aren’t important in the Middle East. Only America is, and maybe Russia. And with the rise of ISIS in 2014, and the rise of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, there were more important things to do.
Trump dispatched with those old illusions in a few tweets. Here’s an example:
...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
And that’s not even his toughest talk. That was about 18 months ago. Trump is focused on other things — China, North Korea. Real threats — economic and nuclear threats. A long-running stalemate between the PLO and Israel just isn’t the top matter for him.
And really, it hasn’t been for most Sunni Arab countries either. They were worried about either being devoured by ISIS, like Syria was, or being devoured by Iran. And so slowly they realized that Israel might actually be their ally, especially against Iran. And that what the PLO terrorists want isn’t really that important, in the scheme of things.
You’ll remember, one of Trump’s first visits was to Saudi Arabia — and then immediately to Israel. And in Saudi Arabia, he told the Arab countries to throw off extremism, the first time any American President had spoken so bluntly to the Saudis — and the rest of the Saudi’s client states in the region. And they accepted it — more or less. Or at least they accepted Trump saying it.
But now Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is talking about economics becoming "more integrated" and a "bustling commercial and tourist centre in Gaza and the West Bank, where international businesses come together and thrive".
Well look. That sounds great. Very positive. Like the end of history moment after the Cold War — we can all get along. We’ll all watch the same music videos, we’ll all eat at McDonald's, there’s never going to be another war because we’ll all be trading with each other.
Nice. But it didn’t work under Bill Clinton — why would it work now? Maybe because the rest of the Muslim world is a bit tired of the Palestininan issue? They’re concerned about other issues. Maybe because they really do want to be rich, like Dubai. Maybe because Donald Trump drives a hard bargain. I don’t know. But I’m skeptic.
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