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Violence in Israel Shakes Trump’s Boast of ‘New Middle East’

  • May 16, 2021

To the contrary, the agreement, which expanded trade and partly or fully normalized diplomatic ties between Israel and the four Arab states, instead amounted to a rebuke of the Palestinians by demonstrating that their cause no longer defined relations in the region.

Sunni Arab rulers, exasperated by the Palestinian leadership and for years quietly aligning with Israel against Shiite Iran, were moving on.

Jason Greenblatt, who served as Mr. Trump’s Middle East envoy until October 2019, argued that the current spasm of violence in and around Israel “underscores why the Abraham Accords are so essential for the region.”

After Palestinian leaders rejected outright a January 2020 Trump peace plan proposing to create a Palestinian state, on terms heavily slanted toward Israeli demands, the accords intentionally “separated” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from Israel’s relations with the Arab world, Mr. Greenblatt said.

They “took away the veto right for the Palestinians for the region to move forward,” he added.

Others noted that, before agreeing to the accords, the U.A.E. extracted from Mr. Netanyahu a pledge to hold off on a potential annexation of swaths of the West Bank, a move that had the potential to set off a major Palestinian uprising. (Trump officials also opposed such an annexation and Mr. Netanyahu might not have followed through regardless.)

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East peace negotiator who served under three presidents, called the accords an important step for the region, but said the violence in Israel’s cities and Gaza illustrated how “the Palestinian issue can still cast a cloud” over Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors.

“The notion that this was ‘peace in our time’ obviously ignored the one existential conflict in the region. It wasn’t between Israel and the Arab states,” Mr. Ross said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/15/us/politics/israel-trump-abraham-accords.html

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