Are Sunni Arab states the 'game-changer?'

Senior official claims that US delegation left feeling that involvement of Sunni states could be critical for peace agreement.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Trump in Saudi sword dance
Trump in Saudi sword dance

A senior official in the Trump administration said that the US delegation came out of talks across the Middle East last week feeling that the new generation of leaders in the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan may be the “game-changer” that could bring peace between Israel and the PA.

The official was cited in a Washington Post article by Post writer David Ignatius published on Thursday, which concluded that “The Trump administration is exploring new approaches for easing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that build on talks with a budding Sunni Arab coalition of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.” Along with its meetings last week with Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas last week, the US delegation comprising White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser visited all four of the Sunni states while in the region.

Similarly, the Saudi Ambassador to Washington Khaled bin Salman was cited by the Washington Post as having expressed optimism from talks with Kushner. He noted that his older brother, Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, was “optimistic in light of the commitment of Donald Trump to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

According to the report, the first step in American strategy is to unite the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza under Abbas’ leadership so that the Palestinian Arabs will be one bloc with respect to negotiations with Israel.

To this end, the administration is trying to use the connections it has with the moderate Arab states to exert pressure on all the Palestinian Arab factions. The Americans, in return, pledge to bring Israel to the negotiating table when the Palestinian Arabs are ready.

Meanwhile, in light of the recent meetings by the US delegation headed by Jared Kushner in Jerusalem and Ramallah, it seems that the renewal of contacts is not on the agenda - and the US will try to bring the parties together through joint economic initiatives.