Opera Bouffe: Trump’s Middle East Deal of the Century
There are yet more shudderings from Jared Kushner that he’s about to unveil the deal of the century. The peace deal no one much wants, but which Trump has promised. Therefore, it must make its appearance, even though it’s DOA. Or to be more classical, it’s:
…But a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
In the past week, Kushner and his trusty Sancho Panza, Jason Greenblatt have crisscrossed the Middle East, visiting Israel and its Sunni bros–the Gulf emirs, pasha and potentates–laying the groundwork for impending release of the new plan. Word has it that the deal is “imminent.” Which reminds me of Condi Rice’s ill-fated characterization of Israel’s 2006 Lebanon War as offering the “birth-pangs of a new Middle East.” You remember, the war that led to the deaths of 1,100 Lebanese and scores of Israelis? The war that brought nothing new and much that was old, including senseless sectarian murder.
Shut out of the current proceedings by design (by choice) have been the Palestinians, who want nothing to do with the entire charade. Unfortunately, the Palestinians appear to be the odd man out concerning the deal. Saudi Arabia has bigger fish to fry: Iran. Jordan needs enormous amounts of relief considering the millions of Syrian refugees it currently houses. It cannot stand alone against the U.S.-Saudi juggernaut. So King Abdullah seems to be dutifully wagging his tail like an obedient puppy going to Washington to hear his master’s (Trump) voice.
Though the Palestinians may be alone, they are not powerless. Since they have virtually nothing, there is little punishment anyone can inflict that could bring them to heel. Trump has already turned off the spigot of U.S. aid directly to them, and to UNWRA. The Saudis haven’t been major players financially for some time (though they have promised billions in bribes should Abbas betray his people and sign on the dotted line).
Kushner is wisely concealing what little substance there is in the plan. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times almost laughably portrayed it:
Details of the plan that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and Jason Greenblatt, the special envoy for the Mideast, are shopping around have not been publicly disclosed except for broad outlines. It is likely to focus on what are called interim issues, such as security and the economy, and not on “aspirational” issues like Palestinian statehood.
So, the plan won’t focus on resolving the truly knotty, substantive issues regarding territorial sovereignty and refugees. Instead, it will focus on those old shibboleths murmured by Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents, who wanted to appear to be doing something while doing nothing. We’ll help with security by sending U.S. military advisors to train Palestinian security forces so they can better suppress their own people’s protests against their rotten leaders. And so they can deter Palestinian resistance to Israeli Occupation.
Then we’ll ease the economic plight of Palestinians by sending them Care packages and humanitarian assistance. Such bribery is supposed to lull Palestinians to sleep, making them forget the political and national rights they demand. It’s as if the U.S. and Israel believe Palestinians can be bought off because they only care about earning a dollar. This is not only a cynical approach, it’s a fatal miscalculation of Palestinian aspirations.
Well, it’s no mirage to Palestinians. And they’re not stupid enough to believe that the U.S. can offer Israel everything it wants and the Palestinians nothing in return. They may not be full agents of their own destiny. But they’re not fools and they know when they’re being suckered.
Here are more provisions of the deal:
The current proposal would probably expand some of the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority but without ensuring a contiguous territory, several experts said. It has long been an insurmountable sticking point, in the Palestinian view, that Jewish settlements built by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem bisect what would become an independent Palestinian state.
Any plan also is likely to provide for indefinite Israeli control of airspace and a section of the Jordan River valley on the eastern border of Israel and the West Bank as a security measure. The Palestinians consider that control a violation of any sovereignty they may gain.
…The long-term status of Jerusalem is not likely to be solved or even tackled in any Kushner-Greenblatt deal. There have been suggestions that it would give several eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods, including suburbs, to the Palestinians, but not any part of the heart of the holy city.
In short, it’s a plan designed to delight Palestinians!
That brings us back to statehood, that Palestinian “aspiration.” We have gone from U.S. presidents who called for a two-state solution, to a U.S. president who has recognized Israel’s capital in Jerusalem and submerged that second state under the verbal miasma of an aspiration. Statehood is now something like a dream, an evanescent mirage floating somewhere off in the distance in the Arabian desert.
I’m amused that Kushner has taken to blaming Abbas for the future failure of this plan:
“To make a deal both sides will have to take a leap and meet somewhere between their stated positions,” he said. “I am not sure President Abbas has the ability to do that.”
Let’s be clear: it isn’t Abbas who can’t make a deal involving compromise. It is Kushner himself who’s failed at this, since his plan offers nothing to Palestinians and everything to Israelis.
“Palestinian leadership is saying those things because they are scared we will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it.”
Oh yeah, they’re gonna love it! You have to ask yourself: is he saying this because it’s all he can say and he knows it’s bullshit. Or is he saying it because he believes it?
Kushner added more disingenuous criticism of the Palestinian leadership:
Kushner criticized Palestinian leaders for the poor state of the economy in the West Bank and Gaza, and said they were “scared” that the U.S. peace plan would actually be welcomed by the Palestinian people.
Who does he think controls the West Bank economy and severely limits its growth through a myriad of repressive and constrictive measures? Israel of course.
Those conscientious humanitarians Bibi Netanyahu, David Friedman and Jared Kushner met in Israel to discuss the “means by which the humanitarian situation in Gaza can be alleviated…” More pablum from the invaders and occupiers and their facilitators. There is talk that Kushner has lobbied the Gulf states to create a billion-dollar fund to support energy projects, and that they’ve entertained the idea of a Gaza infrastructure trust fund which somehow would bypass Hamas and Israel. The very idea that Israel would permit such an arrangement is laughable (unless, of Course it could exercise full control via a proxy).
Then you have the further problem of the next war, when Israel’s air force will dutifully reduce to rubble all those expensive infrastructure projects, as it did in 2014. What is all this but an exercise in Kabuki theater…
Let’s dispense with the nostrums. There is only one way to alleviate Gaza’s suffering: by lifting the illegal siege imposed by Israel and to a lesser extent, Egypt. Get out of Palestine. Stop stifling its economy. Let it be free.
There is no other way to alleviate such suffering. There is no palliative. Sending ten more trucks filled with food; or ten more trucks filled with cement; or ten more trucks filled with medicine is worse than nothing. It’s an insult. It allows those violating international law to say they care enough to stop one less Gazan baby dying of hunger or dysentery.
The problem with the Middle East is that outsiders who attempt to impose their will on the indigenous inhabitants tend to be the ones who come out looking like suckers: witness the Russians and a score of foreign invaders over the centuries who believed they could tame Afghanistan; not to mention the British who connived as early as 1920 to turn Iraq into a vassal state; or the CIA, which thought it could impose the U.S.-toady Shah on Iran after deposing a democratically elected prime minister in 1953; or the Israelis who have “won” every battle against frontline states throughout their history only to face losing the war.
The upcoming deal of the century is yet another cynical, self-serving attempt, this one by a pro-settler American Jewish cabal, to “solve” the Middle East problem. It will not end well.
11 thoughts on “Opera Bouffe: Trump’s Middle East Deal of the Century – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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This is theater and stalling for time while pulling wool over eyes, or trying to, about intentions. The outrage is not to even include the Palestinians. The Arabs states are in full betrayal maybe because they need Israel against Iran and so Palestinians are expendable. So it’s meant to be, as before with Sharon ( if I remember correctly) a take it or leave it “deal”, an insult after all these years. The insult of it does not register, for these are, ou remember, not really a people. It does not hold or matter that mutual agreement by those more sincere in the past (Olmert it seems) came so close only to be erased or pulled away after leaving the office to the Likud and Netanyahu. You could tell from the beginning, if you were paying even a modest attention, that John Kerry was duped into a role in this ongoing theater.
The DOA part is okay because then the propaganda machine kicks in and this is one more generous offer that they are refusing because they want Tel Aviv and to see the Jews in the sea.
Opera Bouffe indeed. But this one has the mark of Deplorable on it.
[comment deleted: humanitarian aid workers are not “poverty pimps.” Try using that offensive language again here and you will be moderated.]
No US military and financial support to Israel? Yes, get the do-gooders, the military assistance pimps and the money men out! No expectation of outside help down the road for Israel. Great! That would have solved the problem decades ago, as Israel would then have had to compromise, something it has never had to do.
@ Elisabeth: Once the U.S. weapons and foreign aid stopped along with cessation of various EU aid programs, Israel would fold like a stack of cards. Israel is much more vulnerable to this than the Palestinians, who get almost nothing from outside sources currently. Imagine Israelis having to revert to carbines circa 1948 to fight their battles once the modern weaponry and bullets run out…
That is why the Freeze’s ‘proposal’ was so fake. The whole problem is that Israel is backed by the US (and Europe, let’s not forget that with all the favorite trade deals and research funding) and the Palestinians are in it alone. He was pretending it was the other way around. Yuk.
Hello, i am from Israel, and my English is not that good, i am reading your articles and comments and i don’t understand, why do you consider Israel to be so evil that you wish to starve its people and put them to a risk of annihilation?
This site is Tikun Olam, would the world be a better place if the almost 7 million Jews and almost 2 million Arabs in Israel will suffer and the Jews in Israel will be in an extinction peril.
I know in America many Jews don’t like Israel now days, many says it is because the conflict with the Palestinians, and we are trying really trying to resolve the conflict, for many years now, there was some progress and many set backs, and there is many to blame from both sides.
I have two children i wish them to leave in a peaceful world, free of hatred. but from what i see and in this region of the world in particular that conflict is a daily routine, and the loosing side gets genocide, a real genocide (Syria, Iraq, Yemen), i really hope this is not what is in your hearts for Isral’s Jewish people.
I want to address about the comment regarding the source of the Palestinian strength to withstand pressure, It is due the single fact that no one threats them with genocide, so they see themselves the winning side of this conflict, and fill free not to compromise on the things that would lead to the peace we all want.
The Hamas which is the leadership in Gaza also uses genocide terminology, whenever they talk on the fate of the Jewish people of Israel, or any other none Muslim in the world, but no one really care because at the moment it is Isral’s problem.
We really appreciate and love united states on the help it gives us, we try to better ourselves, We fight to keep Israel a democracy, we have a social support for those who can’t help themselves, we believe in free speech and human writes, look at the manifest of all the leading parties in Israel and you will see this values.
Please don’t judge us when we are at war, because the numbers are all against us, we are not the bully of this region and not an evil super power.
we really fear on our lives, and still keep the values we mentioned above, and hope for peace.
@ itai: You may be from Israel, but you clearly aren’t seeing or watching what your country is doing. Or if you are, you’re missing quite a bit in the empathy department.
It’s nonsensical to say that Israel is at risk from annihilation. Israel has the 11th most powerful army in the world. ‘Nuff said re: that claim.
The Palestinians (not “Arabs”) in Israel DO suffer already. And the 4 million Palestinians living under Occupation by your government suffer even more. Who doesn’t suffer? Israeli Jews like you. No wonder you don’t have much empathy. As for “extinction peril.” Ridiculous.
If that’s really true (and I don’t believe it is, except in a vague aspiration way) you better move to the Diaspora. Your children will never know peace or be free of hatred living in Israel. You and they will always be fearing and hating Arabs and vice versa.
C’mon Itai. Methinks you do protest too much. I’m beginning to smell a hasbara rat here. Even the average Israeli would not claim Israel has been “really trying” to resolve the conflict. I’m beginning to think “itai” is a concern troll rather than what he purports to be.
Now see, itai, here’s where you become not only offensive but violate cardinal comment rules, which you’ve clearly ignored despite the fact that there was a big sign above the comment box saying you MUST read the comment rules before publishing a comment. You cannot, may not and will not advocate or even intimate that genocide is either a good thing or an acceptable thing. If you violate the comment rules again in this way (if you do comment again) you will be moderated or lose your privileges entirely. Now read the comment rules carefully.
Now you’ve broken another comment rule: you can’t simply express your opinions here. Especially not if your opinions are patently false and unfounded. The comment rules, which you haven’t read, indicate that on controversial topics you MUST offer credible evidence to support any such claim. And you haven’t. And your claims here are full of crap. So again, don’t try that again here.
No, you lost that fight some time ago.
You have the fifth greatest income disparity among all OECD countries. So no, you don’t offer much social support for the poor. And since Bibi destroyed the social safety net when he was finance minister, cuts to social welfare have been massive and devastating.
Then you clearly have not been reading this blog. Do some more reading here before you spout such inanities so devoid from Israeli reality.
Of course you will be judged when you are at war, because you are either always at war or preparing for the next war. You are a garrison state. So yes, that is precisely when and why you will be judged on your behavior during war.
200 nuclear weapons and multiple wars and invasions of frontline neighbors contradict you.
itai, I have tried to be patient with you. But if you think you will launch a long drawn out debate here, think again. I only have so much patience for those with massive naivete or ignorance such as you have.
Beautiful analysis Richard.. This tone deaf “deal” following the savage murder by the Israeli IDF of hundreds of protesting Gazans recently will be a formula for continued and heightened resistance by oppressed Palestinians. It is a formula for chaos and unrest in not only Palestine but throughout the middle east. It bears the mark of US arrogance towards the Arab people.
Pres. Obama loved the Palestinians and despised Israel, but made no progress. What do you suggest?
@ Gloria Redding: Pres. Obama loved facts and hated lies. So I suggest you try to emulate him.
The US cuts funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The ME donors promise billions in funding but never deliver. So this is intentional infliction of pain and suffering.
So what Kushner is offering is simply a meal to someone they are purposefully starving. Under torture, many will agree to anything simply to make the pain go away and that’s what Trump’s team is hoping for. This “deal of the century” is no such thing, but to the narcissist in oval office, that’s the way he does business and Bibi (who is Trumps twin) is more than happy to oblige.
Given the current conditions in Gaza, the Kushner team might get some traction there and the proposal of economic relief might be enough to make the Palestinians of Gaza finally let go of their devotion to Hamas. Or the intent of the deal is to use the proven tactic of divide the population into submission.
Either way, this deal very likely will work out better for Bibi and his cronies, so he, and they, can maintain a stranglehold on Israeli politics and regional hegemony.