Solution for Palestinian issue remains unclear in wake of US-Arab-Islamic Summit

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US president Donald Trump met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and is scheduled to meet with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

His visit to the Israeli-Palestinian lands comes after the conclusion of the unprecedented US-Arab-Islamic Summit in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, which marked Trump’s first visit abroad as president.

The Palestinian issue was reportedly expected to be on top of the summit’s agenda; however, the speeches of leaders did not indicate solid solutions to the issue, although Trump said that his visit was meant to convey that achieving peace is a possibility.

“If these three faiths [Abrahamic religions] can join, peace in this world is possible, including peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump added.

Political analyst Mohamed Kamal told Daily News Egypt that the summit apparently did not deal with the Palestinian issue; however, there is a clear commitment for Trump to revive peace in the region.

“I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement—to mediate, to arbitrate, anything they’d like to do. But I would love to be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator. And we will get this done,” Trump said in his meeting with Abbas in the White House earlier in May.

Trump has described achieving peace between Israel and Palestine as “the ultimate deal”, according to American newspapers.

“I think he [Trump] will try to start negotiations to encourage confidence-building between the two parties,” Kamal said, adding, “I am sure he will push through the normalisation of relations between Arab countries and Israel; this is one of his goals,” says Kamal.

He further explained that Trump’s main objective behind reviving peace between Arab countries and Israel is to combat terrorism together and stand up to Iran.

Political science professor Hassan Nafaa told Daily News Egypt that there are several talks now and a historic opportunity to reach peace, which he doubts would succeed, as there are no indications that Netanyahu would accept a two-state solution or any solution that would establish a Palestinian state.

“What Netanyahu seeks is a semi-state that is demilitarised and has no sovereignty and its citizens are second-class, and such a solution would not be accepted by any Palestinian citizen,” Nafaa explained.

Abbas stated in his meeting with Trump in Washington DC that his nation’s choice would be bringing peace based on a two-state solution; a Palestinian state with its capital of East Jerusalem and a state of Israel based on the borders of 1967.

It is currently unclear whether the US is more supportive of a two-state or one-state solution. Over the past years, the US administration had expressed its support for the two-state solution; however, Trump announced recently in a joint press conference with Netanyahu that he was “looking into either the two-state or one-state solution.”

Nafaa explained that Trump is loyal to Israel, and only if conflict erupts between the US and Israel would the US be able to pressure Israel into a peace agreement, which is unlikely, because the Israeli lobby in the American congress would put pressure on the impeachment of Trump for his relations with Russia, an issue that Trump has fallen into recently and is currently under investigation for.

He also clarified that if Netanyahu’s opinion does not change, chances are peace will not be achieved, although it is expected that Abbas would agree on compromising the exchange of Palestinian lands, but it is still unlikely to help revive peace due to Netanyahu’s stance.

Several countries have supported the two-state solution, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who had reportedly introduced to Trump a framework to solve the Palestinian issue during his visit to the White House, which he referred to as the “deal of the century,” and which Israeli media reported to be based on a two-state solution.

Two days prior to the US-Arab-Islamic Summit, Al-Sisi received King Abdullah of Jordan, which was perceived as a preparation for the summit and in which they discussed several issues, including the Palestinian issue.

During his speech at the summit, Al-Sisi expressed his support for a two-state solution, saying, “Egypt believes that resolving the Palestinian issue through a just, comprehensive, and final solution will provide a tangible new reality for the region’s people and will enable them to enjoy prosperity, peace, and security, in addition to eliminating one of the pretexts that terrorists use to justify their horrendous crimes. This comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue should be based on the two-state solution and relevant international resolutions.”

“If the US cannot impose a deal, how would Egypt do so?” Nafaa said.

He previously told Daily News Egypt that the “deal of the century” would be an illusion, adding that “the two-state solution is no longer applicable, because there are no indicators that Netanyahu will accept such solution; if he would, it would have been implemented a long time ago,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Kamal said that Egypt has good relations with both Israel and Palestine, as well as a history of reviving peace; hence, it is predictable that Egypt will contribute to the peace process.

“Egypt will definitely have a role,” Kamal said.

No official statements were issued by Al-Sisi or any governmental institution concerning the “deal of the century.” It is still unclear whether such a framework was in the process of being made or if it was only a terminology to describe any solution to reach peace in the region.

 

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