From the Hebrew press: The Bahrain Conference is a pipe dream

The festive American document published last Saturday brings back memories of the late Shimon Peres' grandiose delusions of a "New Middle East."

Haggai Segal

OpEds Bahrain
צילום: אלירן אהרון

Translated from Makor Rishon Hebrew newspaper, June 27, 2019

The Kushner clan celebrated a family bar mitzvah for one of its young members in MItzpe Ramon last Shabbat. Jared, the family's most famous son, missed the festivities. Seems he was busy with the last minute preparations for the Bahrain Conference and with giving a final polish to the economic section of his father-in-law's "Deal of the Century." 

The Trump government revealed that it knows how to be generous to the Palestinians, not just to us. Very generous, in fact.
The document, made public on Saturday, was at first greeted with wall-to-wall acclaim. The Right was charmed by the very idea of pricing the end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in economic terms, because that price is much lower than the cost of territory; the Left – by the particularism of the initiative. The Trump government revealed that it knows how to be generous to the Palestinians, not just to us.

Very generous, in fact. The president of the United States is set to shower our hostile enemies with lavish gifts: The enormous sum of $50 billion, large numbers of foreign investments, recognition of Palestinian  Arab ownership of all holy sites on the Samarian mountain ridge, the commitment to help them in legal land disputes, the possibility of extending their territory into Area C, an autonomic passage from Judea and Samaria to Gaza at the expense of Israeli sovereign land, and even insurance covering war damages (which wars likely would be initiated by the Palestinians). The half million Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are as thin air in Kushner and Greenblatt's document. They are not even mentioned. The Arabs are the only ones featured as having rights on "the West Bank."

The plan talks about doubling the amount of Palestinian drinking water - only for the Palestinians. Don't Jews feel thirsty? Have they no orchards to water? Why do the Palestinians alone deserve a new university, and what do they need it for if a wide selection of Palestinian facilities for higher education already exists? Ask Kushner and Greenblatt. The festive American document published on Saturday brings back memories of the late Shimon Peres' grandiose delusions, a second version of his "New Middle East."

From what we know of Trump, it is clear that the United States is not going to spend a dollar on carrying out the program. America 2019 gives nothing to anyone, so does anyone expect that is it going to change that for the Palestinians?  Trump expects Europe, Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Emirates to come up with the cash. This is unrealistic, to say the least. Actually the entire "Deal of the Century" is a pipe dream. It is a blend of pro-Israel feelings and political correctness. Kushner and Greenblatt want to be on our side, but their starting point is that the "West Bank" is Palestinian territory. They have been taken in by the pro-Palestinian fixation of the US State Department.

The most pro-Israel White House for all time has fallen for the narrative of Israeli "occupation" and the "oppressed" Palestinians. Kusner and Greenblatt, two amateurs when it comes to the Middle East, have now officially adopted that narrative.

The political part of the plan, which will or will not go public one day, may be even worse. It has not been officially presented  to Israel, but everyone here who knows its content is troubled. Kushner and Greenblatt marched into Judea and Samaria like bulls in a china shop. Both have only superficial knowledge of the settlement enterprise, but act as though they are experts. Their plan is expected to recognize the classic settlement blocs, but put the area of Binyamin in the section with painful Israeli concessions.

They have also adopted the Obama government's unyielding opposition to building in the E1 area connecting Maale Adumim with Jerusalem. Greenblatt, from time to time, says things that are pleasing to Rightist ears, as Ambassador David Friedman certainly does, but if the economic section is any indication of the proposed Deal, it does not display the courage to strike a final blow to the pack of Palestinian lies and tales of the "occupation."

"Generations of Palestinians have lived without experiencing peace," declares the first sentence of the American plan made public on Saturday. "The West Bank and Gaza were trapped in a continuing crisis as time passed." Stuff and nonsense. The Palestinians were not trapped in any crisis, they created the crisis. Instead of flattering them and trying to tempt them with money they will never receive anyway, it would be preferable to tell them the unadorned truth: Forget about a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. If you have any other ideas, we'll be glad to hear them.

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Op-ed Editor and Senior Consultant Arutz Sheva English site.