Former ambassador: 'Accept the Deal of the Century with reservations'

Former Ambassador Michael Oren discusses the opportunities in Trump's peace plan.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Trump and Netanyahu
Trump and Netanyahu
Reuters

Former Deputy Minister and Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Michael Oren, was engaged with the Trump administration on the “Deal of the Century”, but he is also waiting to hear its final details.

"Although I was involved in the plan quite a bit, I do not know all the details. I was often invited to the White House to share my world views on the process that I was involved in almost from its inception, during the days of Rabin. I feel that some of my ideas were accepted," Oren told Arutz Sheva on Sunday.

"For example, in the beginning there was concern among administration officials that the outline would have to be acceptable to the Palestinian side. I told them, 'Forget it, the word yes does not exist in the Palestinian vocabulary. They never said yes, not to the United Nations, not to the Brits and not to anyone else'. I explained that anyone who conditions the process on a Palestinian agreement condemns it to failure and said that the outline should be directed at the majority of the Israeli public and the majority of the Sunni Arab world, including the Gulf states. I think this approach was accepted," added Oren.

In his opinion, there is no reason to wait for the Palestinian side. "With the Palestinians, no process could ever be done. They didn't say yes to Olmert and Barak either. A bilateral agreement must be made with the Arab world from which the Palestinians also benefit, because they will receive huge investments, develop the Palestinian economy, create a future for the next generation, and to a certain extent achieve independence. It will not be a sovereign state that is responsible for its security or capable of signing agreements with other states, but there will be a diplomatic horizon."

Dr. Oren is not surprised by the timing of the publication of the plan and estimates that the considerations are not just related to the Middle East. "Trump waited a long time, almost two years, because of our political stalemate. He planned to publish the plan after the election in the hope that the outline would serve as a sticking point for a national unity government. That didn't work out, and it looks like he was tired of waiting until a government was formed here."

"He also has his own electoral considerations. Trump is in an election year and he wants to come up with an achievement related to international diplomacy - which was not possible with the North Koreans and Iranians. He has also turned into his motto the fact the he is a president who keeps his promises from 2016. He promised to publish the Deal of the Century and promote the Arab-Israeli peace issue and he seeks to keep his promise."

Israel, said Oren, must speak with the Democrats so that they do not interfere with the President's execution of the plan.

"This is something that should be on our agenda and Israel should be telling those Democratic candidates who are going to oppose the outline only because it is a Trump initiative, ‘Come out of your political polarization for a moment and acknowledge that the vast majority of the Israeli public supports this outline and considers it a good thing for the State of Israel. If you care about Israel - you have to support the outline.’"

Making such a statement to Democrats does not amount to an intervention in American politics, opined Oren. "We are acting in our best interests and those of the region. What is at stake here is not only peace but the establishment of an open front for us and the Arabs against Iran. In addition, connecting Israeli innovation and the vast resources of Arab countries can be revolutionary not only for the region but for the entire world."

"A lot of things are at stake and we must not let the inner politics in the US prevent them from happening. I would also tell Israeli politicians to transcend politics and take advantage of a historic moment in which we have the friendliest administration we have known since the founding of the state. We would not see this tremendous plan if it was a Democratic president. This is a historic opportunity and I suggest we all tell this president yes. Of course, one can come with reservations but also look at the positive side for us and for the entire region."



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