Read while you listen!
Thank you for listening!
Theme music by Mishkanim.
The White House believes a divided Palestinian Authority cannot rule as one nation after a peace deal that creates two States inside the boundaries of Israel. The PA and Hamas must come to a unifying agreement in order for any peace treaty to succeed. In others words, Hamas must join with the PA in order for Israel to feel secure enough about the Palestinians being willing to live in peace with the Jewish State.
To that end, the Trump administration officials worked the phones for weeks to bring Israeli and Arab diplomats around the same table at the White House, and finally succeeded in doing so for the first time on Tuesday.
Senior administration officials said several parties to the US conference, which focused on the dire and pressing humanitarian plight facing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, had expressed that “they could not be in the same room as each other.”
And yet, one senior official said, “We had discussions with them, and everybody realized the importance of being in the room”.
The discussion, which took six hours, brought national security officials from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain together for an exceptional diplomatic moment – the possible start of a regional dialogue over Israeli-Palestinian peace, ahead of the publication of a peace plan by the Trump administration meant to comprehensively end claims to the conflict.
This grouping of nations is particularly interesting for Bible prophecy. In previous weeks, I have mentioned that these nations have different fates. Israel and Saudi Arabia will be attacked and conquered by the King of the North, Iran. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain, along with Kuwait who was not in this meeting, will side with Turkey when Ankara tries to take the Shi’ite Caliphate from Iran in the future. This will be the reason for Iran and Russia going global militarily.
Another interesting note is that the PA was missing from this round table. The PA had rejected the administration’s offer to join the White House conference.
The talks between Israel and the Arab nations were not formal or direct. “It was a room with a big table, and everyone sat around the big table,” one official said.
The US team could not vouch for whether the Israelis and any particular Arab delegations held talks separate from the formal session on the sidelines.
The US team did most of the talking around their big table. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser leading the peace process, and Jason Greenblatt, the US special representative for international negotiations made opening remarks which lasted for two hours.
The summary of Kushner and Greenblatt’s 2-hour blab was that Gaza needs fixed for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it is necessary to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the PA.
Hamas’ control of the coastal strip is also an impediment to the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance.
While the peace plan was not the focus of the conference, Kushner and Greenblatt see the Gaza crisis and the prospects for their plan’s success as inextricably linked. And to that end, the peace team is optimistic that it was able to bring Israel and Arab powers together even without the Palestinians themselves.
Qatar’s presence is a little sticky because Qatar funds Hamas. White House officials would not comment on Qatar’s particular role in the Gaza crisis, after successive US administrations have blamed Doha for boosting Hamas there.
As the White House is making its attempts to help the PA regain autonomy over Gaza, the PA Prime Minister’s convoy, traveling to Gaza, was hit by an explosion.
The explosion struck a convoy carrying the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, as he made a rare visit to Gaza on the same day as the White House round table. The Palestinian Authority called it an assassination attempt.
The blast occurred shortly after the vehicles entered the coastal area of Gaza through the Erez crossing. Three cars had their windows blown out, and one had blood visible on the door. Seven people were slightly hurt, according to witnesses.
Rami Hamdallah was unharmed and, just minutes after the apparent roadside bomb attack, was seen on live TV at the inauguration of a long-awaited sewage plant project in the north of the strip. The Palestinian intelligence chief, Majid Faraj, was part of the convoy but was also unhurt.
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had just arrived from his West Bank headquarters to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new water-treatment plant when the bomb went off. Although there was no claim of responsibility, Palestinian officials accused Gaza militants of trying to assassinate Hamdallah. Later, they would accuse others. Gaza’s ruling Hamas group denied involvement.
Hamdallah said the attack underscored the need for the Palestinians to unify under a single authority. Hamas has ceded some government functions and control of Gaza’s borders, but it has refused calls to disarm and let Palestinian Authority security forces take over.
“How can a government overtake Gaza without maintaining security? We ask Hamas one more time to empower the government,” he said. “Without security, there won’t be a government or an authority.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Palestinian Authority said it held Hamas responsible for failing to provide adequate security. The PA stopped short of directly accusing the group of carrying out the assault and did not rule out Israel as the would-be assassin. However, militants opposed to Hamas also operate in the area.
The attack is not expected to derail peace between Hamas and the PA.
The two factions announced last year that the Palestinian Authority would resume control of Gaza, including border crossings, although the process has since faltered. The deal was intended to end a deadly rivalry after Fatah refused to recognise the 2006 parliamentary elections, leading to a near-civil war that resulted in Hamas taking over in Gaza.
Palestinians now live under two rival governments with Mahmoud Abbas, the western-backed president of the Fatah party who rules over their enclaves in the Israeli West Bank and the Hamas party in Gaza. Israel says it will reject any future talks with a unity government that includes Hamas, which rejects the Jewish state’s right to exist.
Crippling restrictions on Gaza’s electricity supply temporarily imposed by the Palestinian Authority have compounded the devastating impact from years of blockades by Israel and Egypt on the movement of people and goods.
Life for 2 million Gazans has become increasingly dire as electricity shortages have led to hospital blackouts.
Tuesday’s explosion occurred near the spot where a US diplomatic convoy was blown up by a remote-controlled bomb in 2003 shortly after it entered Gaza. Three American security specialists were killed and a US diplomat was injured in that blast.
Speaking at the new sewage plant on Tuesday, Hamdallah said the blast would “not deter us from seeking to end the bitter split. We will still come to Gaza.”
The plant was planned in 2007 after overburdened sewage reservoirs collapsed, killing five villagers. The World Bank, EU and other European governments have paid nearly $75m (£54m) towards the cost.
The Hamas takeover, the ensuing Israeli-Egyptian blockade, power shortages and conflicts delayed the opening for four years.
Besides the old reservoirs, the plant will receive wastewater from four towns and villages. After treatment, the water will be transferred for irrigation and the remainder will be safely dumped into the sea.
Who has the most to gain from such an act?
Haaretz ruled out Hamas as the culprit, saying “Hamas does not and could not have any interest in attacking senior Palestinian Authority officials on their way to inaugurate a sewage treatment plant that residents of the Gaza Strip have long awaited”.
Haaretz has its opinion. I have mine. Hamas uses their own people as human shields, so why would anyone believe Hamas does not have an interest in derailing this project? Hamas and the PA have been trying to reunite for years without success because Hamas refuses to accept any future peace deal the PA might make with Israel. With peace talks soon to be introduced by the White House, Hamas could well be a culprit in this attack if they can convince the PA that Israel was the assassin. We’re going to see that pinning this on Israel is exactly what they are trying to do.
Haaretz also claims that Hamas also had no interest in turning a blind eye and letting someone else attack the visitors from Ramallah. Hamas wants to portray itself as a strong ruling power that’s willing to give up its share of power out of concern for the people, and not because of its own failures. The fact that it didn’t manage to thwart this attack will weaken its position in talks with both Egypt and Fatah.
Given the ongoing, predictable impasse in the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks, this is a convenient arrangement for Hamas: It controls Gaza de facto, but the donor states that boycott it continue building vital, urgently needed infrastructure via the PA. The success of these infrastructure projects mitigates the environmental and humanitarian disaster caused by the Israeli siege. It will probably ease the population’s enormous suffering, even if only a little, and thereby also neutralize one of the many reasons for social upheaval against Hamas.
The current plant, whose $75 million price tag was covered by Sweden, Belgium, France, the European Commission and the World Bank, is supposed to serve some 400,000 people. The Mideast Quartet (the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia) and the U.S. State Department liaised with the Israeli authorities so they would allow the necessary building materials and experts to enter Gaza. Without their assistance, the construction would likely have taken many more years.
According to the World Bank’s press statement, Israel and the PA have reached a temporary agreement on supplying the power needed to run the facility, without which it would be a white elephant. Israel has already agreed to run another power line. But the PA and Hamas still have to reach an agreement about how to pay for this additional electricity.
The dispute over financing services such as electricity to Gaza residents is depicted as the main obstacle to progress in the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation effort. But these financial disputes – occurring at a time when Gaza’s population is sinking into unprecedented poverty and despair – are merely a cover for the enmity and lack of trust between the two largest Palestinian movements.
The PA claims it spends a significant chunk of its budget on Gaza, while Hamas doesn’t share its revenues with the PA. But Gazans say a significant portion of these expenditures is covered by the customs duties the PA collects on merchandise imported to Gaza via Israel.
Hamas is demanding that the PA pay the salaries of some 20,000 public-sector workers whom Hamas hired during its years in power. Ramallah is demanding that it first be given full control of all government activities in Gaza, including tax collection and payments. Hamas continues to collect unofficial consumer taxes in Gaza to finance its administration of the territory (its military activities are funded mainly by money from abroad).
Hamas is trying to expand the quantity and variety of goods imported through Egypt, from which it collects taxes. Gaza residents say the PA has done everything in its power to prevent goods from arriving through Egypt, precisely because this provides revenues for Hamas. Gazans also say PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ government has prepared additional “punitive measures” against Gaza – such as cuts to municipal budgets and further cuts in the salaries Abbas pays “his” public-sector workers, who have been getting paid for not working ever since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007.
Whether or not this is true, what’s important is that Gazans accuse Abbas and Fatah of trying to subdue them economically so that Hamas will waive its demands for partnership in political decision making and in PLO institutions.
Abbas’ demand for “one government, one gun” is logical and natural, and so is his fear that Hamas wants to waive responsibility for civilian affairs and then reap political capital, especially among the Palestinian diaspora, from its reputation as a “resistance movement.” But at the same time, Abbas isn’t allowing new elections (in the West Bank and Gaza), has paralyzed the Palestinian Legislative Council for 12 years and controls the judiciary.
In late April, the Palestinian National Council, which is the PLO’s parliament, is supposed to meet in Ramallah. Its members include all the Hamas members elected to the legislative council in 2006. But the very fact that it’s convening in Ramallah, rather than some place like Cairo or Amman, is clear proof that Abbas and Fatah aren’t interested in the participation of delegates from Hamas and other opposition groups, whom Israel won’t allow to leave Gaza or enter the West Bank.
In this situation, even Abbas’ reasonable political demands of Hamas are seen as steps to consolidate his authoritarian rule and perpetuate Fatah’s control over the PLO and the PA.
Before jumping to the conclusion that Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan or Salafi groups were behind Tuesday’s attack on the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, it is just as possible to imagine another scenario in which those responsible were a few young people, devoid of political understanding but with access to explosives, who were influenced by the depiction of Fatah and the PA as collaborators who have forsaken Gaza.
After all that is said, Fatah, the West Bank-based political party to which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas belongs, called the incident a “terrorist attack” and blamed it on Hamas.
“This attack is an attempt to kill all reconciliation efforts. It is a dangerous step aimed at spreading disorder and fighting among our people,” Munir al-Jaghoub, who heads Fatah’s information department at the Office of Mobilisation and Organisation, said.
“We demand that Hamas expedite its investigation. The developments have proven that Hamas has completely failed in providing security in Gaza, just as it has failed in providing a decent life for our people in the strip.”
The hand of Israel is not being ruled out as Hamas announces an inquiry into an explosion that targeted the convoy of the West Bank-based Palestinian prime minister during his visit to the Gaza Strip.
Sources told Al Jazeera that Hamdallah and Ismail Haniya, senior political leader of Hamas, spoke by phone later in the day on Tuesday and agreed that Israel was behind the explosion because it appeared to be the incident’s main beneficiary.
They need to point any blame away from Hamas so that they can move forward with the reunification of the two Palestinian powers.
Youssef al-Mahmoud, a Palestinian Authority spokesperson, denied via the Palestinian news agency WAFA that any phone call took place between Hamdallah and Haniya.
Mustafa Ibrahim, a Gaza-based political analyst, said there are “several sides who are benefiting from this explosion”.
“We will hear Fatah saying that some members of Hamas do not want reconciliation, and likewise, we will hear Hamas saying this could have been a fabricated attack by Fatah’s security services,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera.
“The ones who will pay the price are the Palestinian people themselves. The Palestinian Authority may impose more punitive measures against the Gaza Strip, and it is imperative that Hamas captures those behind the attack as soon as possible.
“This explosion will have repercussions for the people in Gaza.”
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, condemned the attack and said in a Twitter post those behind it seek to “undermine” reconciliation.
Hamas has launched an investigation to “bring those behind the attack to justice”.
Now, let’s get back to the White House and its plans for peace-making between Israel and the PA.
THE PEACE PLAN
A number of Arab countries have advised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept whatever US President Donald Trump proposes in the context of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, according to a Thursday report.
The report in the privately-owned Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk cited an Arab diplomat in Cairo, who warned that the Palestinians may in the future “regret” not having accepted what they consider today to be too little.
One key Arab country relayed a message to Abbas which stated that “a realistic reading of the situation makes it imperative that the Arabs and Palestinians accept whatever is available,” the diplomat told the paper. The paper described the unnamed diplomat as a “prominent” figure.
“Wisdom requires accepting the maximum of what is available now,” the diplomat was quoted as saying. “The dealing should be in accordance with the logic of ‘take and negotiate’ so that we won’t be surprised after a few years that the monster of settlements has devoured the Palestinian territories.”
The diplomat did not reveal the names of the Arab countries that had reportedly relayed the advice to Abbas, who has consistently rebuffed the nascent US peace plan.
The US administration is expected to announce the main points of its peace plan in the coming weeks, the Egyptian newspaper said. Administration officials have said the plan is close to being finished, but have also refused to give a timeline for when it might be published.
Abbas has denounced the purported plan as the “slap of the century” — a reference to the phrase “deal of the century” used by Trump himself to describe his peace initiative. Furious over the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there, Ramallah has blackballed negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, and has pushed for a multilateral peace effort that sidelines Washington.
Abbas is reported to have told a member of his ruling Fatah faction last week that he does not intend to end his life as a “traitor,” in apparent reference to the peace plan.
Abbas, according to the Egyptian paper, told some of the Arab leaders he had met or contacted lately that he fears that he would be accused of treason if he accepted what Israel was offering the Palestinians.
However, one of the Arab leaders rejected Abbas’s argument, saying the time has come to “prepare Arab public opinion for the new phase, away from charges of treason,” the Arab diplomat added.
The officials of one Arab country told Abbas that there was no way the Palestinians would be able to “resist Israel’s hardline position on certain issues, such as its insistence on the presence of Israeli military forces along the border between Israel and Jordan out of fear that extremist groups would infiltrate the border and reach the outskirts of the Galilee and Jerusalem.”
According to the report, the Arab country that relayed this message to Abbas “demonstrated understanding for the Israeli demand” to maintain security control over the Israel-Jordan border.
The Americans, according to the report, have notified some Arab capitals that Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was “part of an American effort to persuade Israel, especially the hardliners, to agree to possible concessions to the Palestinians.”
This has been my assumption all along. Trump is being hailed as equal to the ancient King Cyrus even though Trump has not said the Jews could rebuild the Temple on Temple Mount as Cyrus did. At this point, the Jewish State is satisfied just to get this tiny sparrow’s feather in their cap. The US embassy move is a small feather in their cap for the declaration that Israel is a Jewish State recognized by the most powerful nation on earth, but it is an eagle’s talon on YHVH’s holy city.
Trump has repeatedly said Israel will have to “pay a price” for the recognition of Jerusalem, though he has not detailed what concessions are expected. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters after meeting Trump this week that the issue had never come up between them.
At least one Arab country made it clear to the Americans that the Arabs would not accept any peace plan that does not recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, the report said.
Herein lies the other part of what I’ve been saying for months. The US will have no choice but to put an embassy in East Jerusalem because if they don’t, Iran will claim East Jerusalem for the Palestinians by putting their own embassy there. But when the US does put an embassy in East Jerusalem, God will become irate! We should fear God more than the Palestinians or Iran. Trump should fear God more than he loves being adored as the “deal maker” of the entury.
A senior Hamas official told the newspaper that the Egyptians have assured the terror group that Cairo would not accept any plan that does not call for the establishment of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, “on the 1967 borders.”
The Egyptians also affirmed their “commitment to the right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel, according to the Hamas official.
Last month, a senior Hamas delegation headed by Ismail Haniyeh spent three weeks in Cairo, where its members held talks with Egyptian government officials on a number of issues, including the floundering reconciliation agreement with Abbas’s Fatah movement and ways of enhancing security measures along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas official quoted the Egyptians as saying that Cairo was strongly opposed to the idea of “settling Palestinians in Sinai.”
The Egyptian stance came in response to unconfirmed reports in some Arab media outlets that claimed that Trump’s peace plan includes transferring parts of Sinai to the future Palestinian state.
THE STAKES OVER JERUSALEM
The Palestinian Authority (PA) plans to file a legal complaint against US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a Palestinian official, the Turkish Anadolu Agency reported Monday.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki will fly to The Hague in the near future to file a suit against the US at the ICC over Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, Saleh Rafat, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the official Voice of Palestine radio.
Trump’s historic recognition has “violated all international laws and resolutions,” Rafat claimed, without giving further details about the legal basis for the complaint.
Al-Maliki will file another ICC complaint against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman for “their involvement in crimes against the Palestinian people,” Rafat said.
I wish someone would sue the PA for their crimes – open and hideous – against the Jews!
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has triggered an outcry in the Arab world, but Arab states have failed to take any action beyond statements. The Arabs are mostly tired of the Palestinian issue and ready to get on to something else.
AND… It could be that the Arabs see the writing on the wall with what is happening in the north Middle East. It may actually be that they want a peace deal now to create a stronger alliance and unity against Iran. In other words, for the sake of self-preservation, the Arab states might just be looking out for themselves rather than continuing to herald the cause of the Palestinians.
That opinion stated, let me take you to another article on how one important Middle East player is orchestrating the peace plan behind the scenes.
Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman has been called the most dangerous man in the world. MBS, as he’s called by the media, will probably become Saudi’s new king this year because his ailing father, King Salman, reportedly suffers from Alzheimer’s and is not able to concentrate on his tasks as monarch anymore.
MBS was in Egypt and the United Kingdom last week on the first leg of a month long trip which will end in the United States. There, he reportedly will focus on US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’.
During his three-day visit to Cairo, the Saudi crown prince once again showed he’s an out of the box thinker who is seriously working to implement sweeping reforms in Saudi-Arabia, such as religious freedom and women rights.
He reportedly arranged a series of meetings between top Saudi officials and their Israeli counterparts which were also attended by representatives of the Egyptian government. Officially, the meetings between the Saudi and Israeli officials dealt with an ambitious plan called Neom.
The plan envisions the creation of a mega city of 26,500 square kilometers (the size of Belgium) which will stretch Saudi Arabia’s northwestern border into Jordan and the southeastern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The reason for this is important. Saudi Arabia wants to be in control of that part of the Red Sea that extends up into the Gulf of Aqaba, the Middle East’s main water port. Saudi Arabia expects to govern the next Caliphate and is preparing to do so.
The $500 billion plan includes wind-powered high-tech energy projects and “solar energy, where robots outnumber humans and a cosmopolitan lifestyle offers sports, concerts and fine dining,” according to Arab media.
Neom will feature a bridge across the Gulf of Aqaba as well as hydro-agriculture projects – and this where Israel comes into the picture.
However, the part of the meetings which remained secret dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian Authority conflict.
MBS has become a key-player in the attempts to find an out-of-the-box solution for the century-old conflict and has drawn the ire of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, who was summoned to Riyadh in January.
In Riyadh, Abbas was shown the parameters of US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ and he returned to Ramallah in a state of shock.
The Saudi crown prince reportedly told Abbas he would have to suffice with a Palestinian state ‘minus’.
This meant Israel would retain control over the Jordan valley and would not be required to dismantle any ‘settlement’ in Judea and Samaria.
The final municipal borders of Jerusalem would be determined in bilateral negotiations between the sides, meaning Israel would be given veto-right over any Palestinian plan to establish east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Media later reported that the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis could become the Palestinian capital according to the Saudi-American plan.
In 1995, Abu Dis was earmarked as the site for the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
However, at the outset of the so-called Second Intifada, the project was halted because Palestinian lawmakers demanded the Old City of Jerusalem should be the home of the PLC.
The plan states that overall security control over territories of the future Palestinian state would remain in the hands of the IDF according to the Israeli broadcaster Kan, while exchange of territories would not be based on the so-called pre-1967 ‘border’, which is in actuality just the armistice line which ended the fighting in 1948.
The plan envisions land swaps in the northern part of Sinai and includes building a seaport and an airport in the area of the Egyptian city of Rafah according to the Arab paper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed
According to unconfirmed reports, published by pro-Palestinian media, the Trump proposal would also rule out the so-called two-state-solution.
Instead, the deal envisions Egyptian rule over Gaza while Jordan would again be governing parts of the so-called ‘West Bank’, historic Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel.
Israel would furthermore, grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinian Arabs living in Area C of the ‘West Bank,’ under Israeli jurisdiction according to the Oslo Agreements and where all the Jewish residents and only about 4% of PA Arabs live.
Other reports say Saudi Arabia and Egypt pressured Abbas to accept the Trump/MBS deal.
According to two unnamed PA officials, MBS and Egyptian president Abdel Fatah el-Sisi had “advised” Abbas to accept the plan, but the Palestinian leader is incapable of climbing down from his tree because he would commit political suicide and be a marked man if he gave in to the pressure.
Abbas cursed President Trump during a speech given to the Palestinian Central Council on January 15, 2018, saying, “May your house be destroyed,” an angry Abbas said repeatedly, using an Arabic curse, during his two-hour long tirade adding that the PA would “slap back”.
It won’t stop MBS and the Trump administration from pursuing the plan. After all, the two young men involved, Jared Kushner and MBS, have invested much energy in the deal and are convinced this is the way to tackle the problem.
The Saudi crown prince and president el-Sisi are trying to unify the Palestinian factions ahead of direct negotiations. And this is the reason for this week’s meeting at the White House with Israelis and the Arabs.
“Our aim is to unify political Palestinian leadership so when we are at the negotiation table there will be a unified position,” MBS said during a press conference in Cairo last week.
It remains to be seen whether the Saudi crown prince and el-Sisi have enough clout to advance the plan.
The various Palestinian factions are vehemently opposed to the plan and are preparing to mobilize the Palestinian street for another round of violence and ‘resistance’ ahead of the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Hamas, for example, is planning mass protests along the Israeli border in Gaza, while the PA has turned to Russia and other countries in order to find an alternative to the Trump/MBS deal.
Another possible scenario is that Iran will capitalize on the anger among the Palestinian Arabs and will try to stir up a popular uprising or even war with Israel.
Knowing what you know about Russia’s involvement in Syria and Iran’s lust to become the leader of the next Islamic Caliphate, could you imagine a worse fate than for the Palestinians to play into their hands?
After all, this is what the Islamic Republic of Iran has hoped for, to drive a wedge between the leading Arab countries and the various Palestinian Arab movements.
The increase of shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria and the recent threats made by Hamas leaders such as Ishmail Haniyeh, who said last week the Gaza Strip could once again explode, are new indications the Palestinian Arabs will be driven into Iran’s ‘resistance front’ against Israel.
Thus, we come back full circle to this week’s assassination attempt on the PA Prime Minister on the same day that the Israelis and Arabs met to work out a plan to get the Gaza Strip some humanitarian aid and get Hamas back into unity with Fatah.
Furthermore, MBS has ordered Saudi diplomats to brand Hamas a terrorist organization according to Arab media, another indication that Saudi Arabia is opening a new page in its relations with the Palestinian Arabs and Israel.
Now, here’s a little tidbit about the placement of the US embassy.
The embassy may be in Jerusalem, but it may not be fully in Israel. Huh? You said…
The disputed enclaves, called the “areas between the lines,” were under neither party’s control and came to be known as No Man’s Land.
A senior United Nations official, who was granted anonymity to discuss a particularly sensitive diplomatic issue, said it was impossible to tell from the 1949 map exactly which parts of the Arnona consular compound sit where. The lines were drawn with the thickness of a crayon, and none of the current development in the area existed then.
But any part between the lines would be considered occupied territory, he said.
After 1949, both Israel and Jordan claimed the territory, holding that its status would be determined in an eventual agreement. When the 1967 war broke out, the Jordanian and Israeli armies fought over it.
Raphael Israeli, a professor emeritus at Hebrew University and a former Israeli delegate to the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission, says that neither Israel nor Jordan had formal jurisdiction of it. “They simply invaded it,” he said.
Today, he said, after 50 years of Israeli possession and no country having had sovereignty over it beforehand, questions about its status are moot.
“You can start making hairsplitting arguments,” he said, “but it seems so obsolete now. Things got blended together, and I don’t know any more which is what and what belongs to whom.”
After 1949, the Israelis set about fencing and farming land on their side of the territory. A Jordanian road to Bethlehem meandered through.
Both sides stationed troops in the zone. There were also instances of cooperation, such as when Jordan agreed to work with Israeli experts to eradicate a moth-borne blight infesting pine trees in the area.
But when an Israeli entrepreneur began constructing a hotel on a slope in the zone in 1963, the Jordanians lodged a complaint and the work was stopped.
The hotel, named the Diplomat, was opened after the Israeli victory in 1967. Located on the grounds of the consular compound, it is now owned by the United States and leased out as housing for elderly Russian-speaking immigrants.
Before moving to Arnona in 2010, the American consular section that served Arabs and Jews was in East Jerusalem. The United States Consulate General that deals with the Palestinian Authority is in West Jerusalem.
Eugene Kontorovich, the director of international law at the conservative Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, contends that by moving the embassy to the Arnona site the United States is recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over areas it captured in the 1967 war.
“Much more important than what the State Department says, it is what their actions say,” Mr. Kontorovich said. “You don’t build an embassy in territory that is not sovereign to Israel.”
The last little piece this week:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on Monday to discuss US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which officials in Washington say is nearly ready to be unveiled.
A report by the New York Times on Sunday cited senior US officials as saying that the Trump administration is putting the finishing touches on the plan which will break from the strategies of past administrations by proposing specific solutions as opposed to a broad framework of principles.
The Times cited a Trump aide as likening the plan to the Israeli-developed Waze road navigation software, saying that the plan would help the two sides navigate the most intractable issues of the conflict — including borders, security, the rights of Palestinian refugees, and the status of Jerusalem — and lead the two sides to a final destination, that is, the “ultimate deal”.
The report said that US officials anticipated that both Israel and the Palestinians would embrace some parts of the plan while rejecting others.
While the officials would not divulge specifics, they revealed that the plan would not call for a two-state solution but would rather provide pathways that would ultimately lead to the creation of two states.
In an address to the UN Security Council Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas will call for a new collective approach to salvage the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
They also said that unlike past proposals, it would not call for a “fair and just solution” to the issue of Palestinian refugees but would offer solutions for dealing with the issue.
The officials said the most immediate challenge facing the Trump administration with regards to the plan was how to roll it out in a way so it is not rejected out of hand by the Palestinians, who have rejected the US as an appropriate peace broker since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
Abbas’ meeting with Abdullah on Monday followed a phone conversation between the two leaders, and focused on what to expect from the US peace plan.
Also, a number of European countries have reportedly been trying to persuade the US to amend aspects of the peace proposal ahead of its unveiling.
Netanyahu said, about the forthcoming plan, “The main thing is that the security control west of the Jordan River remains in our hands, and we cannot see anyone else assuming that responsibility.”
He also said that the PA should have all the powers of a government, but not the power to attack Israel.
Netanyahu reiterated that “the evacuation of settlements didn’t come up at all” during the course of of his conversation with Trump a couple of weeks ago.