Arabs prioritise key ties with U.S. against Iran in reacting to Trump peace plan

Jan 29, 2020 – http://www.swissinfo.ch

By Stephen Kalin and Amina Ismail

RIYADH/CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab powers appear to be prioritising close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.

At a White House event on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump proposed creating a Palestinian state but demilitarised and with borders drawn to meet Israeli security needs, while granting U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land and of Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.

The plan diverges from previous U.S. policy and a 2002 Arab League-endorsed initiative that offered Israel normal relations in return for an independent Palestinian state and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Saudi Arabia’s response exemplified the careful balance now required from Gulf Arab monarchies, Egypt and Jordan which rely on U.S. military or financial backing and find themselves aligned with the United States and Israel in confronting Iran.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed appreciation for Trump’s efforts and support for direct peace negotiations under U.S. auspices. At the same time, state media reported that King Salman had called the Palestinian president to reassure him of Riyadh’s unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Egypt and Jordan, which already have peace deals with Israel, as well as Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) used similar language that swung between hope for re-starting talks and caution against abandoning long-held stances.

Despite Palestinians’ rejection of the plan and boycott of Trump over perceived pro-Israel bias, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the UAE – attended the White House gathering in a sign of changing times.

In a bitterly divided Arab world, backing for Palestinians has long been seen as a unifying position but also often a source of internal recriminations over the extent of that support, especially as some states have made independent, pragmatic overtures to historical adversary Israel.

People play with snow in front of the Dome of the Rock inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday. (AP)

7 replies

  1. DANGER:>> Arab powers appear to be prioritising close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. <<:DANGER

    • Arab powers are not only vital to countering Iran but are vital for the rulers of the oil Arab states to remain in power.

  2. Rafiq—can you tell us here —what is a good example from Arab that we can copy or learn from them, They are Islamic leaders.
    You claim that you lived there for years.

    • Hospitality for one thing. Family life for another. Respect for the mother. that said of course there are exceptions and Somi would always pick that one.

    • Well, we do exist, but, yes, not so openly and free as we would like. In the United Arab Emirates for instance there is a good Jama’at. The Authorities request us to keep a low profile but leave us to hold our functions. Similar in Jordan, we cannot advertise in public, but the authorities ‘let us be’, as long as we do not make it too public in order not to ‘wake up’ the extremists. One intelligence officer actually told us ‘we cannot afford to allow you more as the Saudis do not like it’. They cannot afford to annoy the oil-dollar-billion-giving Saudis. Ah well, … Hospitality on a personal level. Shiahs in Iraq also were very hospitable to me knowing full well that I was not Shiah.

      • Once upon a time Mullahs from Pakistan came to the UAE (I do not exactly recall which Emirate this happened) and requested the Ruler to throw out all Ahmadis. The Ruler received them politely and asked ‘do you have any Ahmadis in Pakistan’ ? The Mullahs said ‘yes so many’. Then the Ruler stated: ‘ ok, in that case you throw the Ahmadis out of Pakistan first and then you can come and ask me again ‘ and he left the Ahmadis in his Emirate in peace (knowing full well that they are hard working and loyal). So, yes, there are ‘good news’ out of Arab countries too.

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