Washington's strategies to get Palestinians to negotiate

Home"TO THE ONE"Washington's strategies to get Palestinians to negotiate
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US President Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2018 (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm)

While Trump brandishes the stick, threatening to cut his help, his envoy Greenblatt believes that the best way to promote peace is to promise a lot of carrots

US President Donald Trump recently acknowledged that the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement he hoped to facilitate could ultimately not be realized.

Due to Ramallah's fury following his recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the negotiations required to reach such an agreement could never be held, he admitted at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"I do not know if they will ever take place," said Trump.

Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, however, continues to persevere, traveling the world to promote the president's quest - which some might call chimerical - of the ultimate deal.

Greenblatt is a loyal and steadfast supporter of Trump's Jerusalem initiative, but his work with parties on the ground seems to be taking a different approach than the US president.

While the occupant of the White House believes that the question of Jerusalem "is no longer on the table", his envoy pointed out this week that the administration had not opted for a positioning determining the boundaries of the municipality and that the status quo on the holy places should remain as it is.

Trump threatened last week, dramatically, to cut off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which refuses to cooperate, saying that those who denounce US policy should not expect to benefit from his generous donations.

"We give them huge amounts, hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The money is on the table, "he said, hinting that he wanted to hit the Palestinians where it hurt if they did not give up their stance on peace talks under US auspices. United. "Why should we do this for a country if he does not want to do anything for us? "

This approach seems diametrically opposed to the Greenblatt peace strategy, which seems to be based first and foremost on improving the quality of life of Palestinians by providing more aid in dollars to projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt (C) shakes hands with President of the Palestinian Water Authority Mazen Ghunaim at the launch of a project to improve access to sewage treatment for Palestinian farmers, 15 October 2017 in the city of Jericho Bank. (AFP / Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

The mission of Greenblatt currently has two components: First, faithfully explain the statements and initiatives taken by his boss. Second, do the fieldwork necessary to get closer to this ultimate agreement.

"Despite criticism of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, I have seen a growing awareness of peace in the region," Greenblatt told a recent security conference in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv.

"During my travels, I have seen Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs, young and old, lay and religious, Muslim, Christian or Jewish, become more and more inspired by the possibility of peace. President Trump has managed to turn the eyes and energies towards this task of peace. It is clear that the actions and language used by President Trump have changed expectations about what is possible. He has revitalized the debate and the language of peace in the region. "

This current desire for peace "reflects the unorthodox approach of the president in the region," he added.

The old "well-intentioned attempts" to end the conflict have failed, which is why Trump is certain that "a new way of thinking and bold decisions are needed ... And we acted in accordance with this orientation, "said Greenblatt.

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Rather than impose a solution from the outside, Israelis and Palestinians must have "the space to make their own decisions about their future," he continued. Instead of blaming one party or another for the failure of the talks, "we must focus on unlocking new areas of cooperation that will benefit Palestinians and Israelis."

The United States will therefore support "what both parties agree on," Greenblatt said. "We will not impose an agreement on any party. But we know that the desire for peace is real, that it is powerful and that it must not be hindered.

Referring to what triggered a major setback in the administration's peace efforts, Greenblatt said Trump's 6 December decision on Jerusalem did not prejudge any final status agreement, "including specific borders of sovereignty." Israel in Jerusalem ".

It is easy to get away from the table. But it does not help anyone and it reduces - or perhaps eliminates - the chances of achieving a peace agreement.

The US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital does not signal "any partiality towards any party" nor does it mean that the United States is abandoning the peace process, he said.

"The United States is more committed than ever to finding an agreement that can guarantee a peaceful and prosperous future for Israelis and Palestinians. That is why this administration continues to work for the development of a peace plan that can bring both parties to the negotiating table. "

Despite negative reactions to Trump's announcement on Jerusalem, "we have continued to work hard and have not deviated a moment from our efforts on the peace plan," Greenblatt told attendees Institute of National Security Studies.

"It's easy to get away from the table. But it does not help anyone and it reduces or perhaps even eliminates the chances of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement. And it would be terrible for the Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, with Jason Greenblatt, US President's Special Adviser and Special Envoy for International Negotiations, at Abbas office in Ramallah, West Bank, on March 14, 2017. (Photo credit: WAFA)

While Greenblatt said all this in Tel Aviv, he gave the impression of addressing a Palestinian audience.

The following day, Greenblatt participated in a special session of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a group of major PA donors, which took place in Brussels.

At the meeting - attended by Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi, PA Minister Rami Hamdallah and other senior Palestinian officials - Greenblatt repeated many things he had told Tel Aviv.

Nevertheless, in Brussels he has gone into much more detail about his grassroots initiatives to advance the peace process by improving the quality of life of Palestinians.

He acknowledged that little progress had been made since the last meeting of the committee, but he acknowledged "marginal" successes such as the introduction of 3G in the West Bank.

"But there are still many areas where we need to do better - much better," he said, citing, for example, the need to finalize agreements that would improve the distribution of electricity and water. the Palestinian Territories.

"We have to use the coming year to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Working to improve Palestinian trade with neighboring countries would be an important step towards stabilizing the Palestinian economy, "Greenblat said.

Perhaps more important, he added, is the humanitarian situation in Gaza that needs to be improved.

"President Trump really wants to help," he said.

"The time has come to focus again on facilitating investments in a new infrastructure that will provide Gaza residents with more electricity and more water," he added.

"The United States is the largest donor to Palestinians in history and as such, we do not need to receive lessons on our financial assistance"

The United States is ready to work with Israel, the PA and many other actors on the international stage to advance several projects that would improve the quality of life for Palestinians, he promised.

Greenblatt then tackled the rage: Trump's repeated threat to cut aid to the Palestinians, a threat that has already been partly implemented with the withdrawal of some $ 100 million in funding from the UN agency United Nations in charge of Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

"While we understand that some may disagree with our approach to Jerusalem and our approach to the peace process, no-one can credibly say that we have not honored our financial commitments to the Palestinians," he said. said Greenblatt.

"The United States is the largest donor to Palestinians in history and as such we do not need to receive lessons on our financial support," he said.

But Trump, aware of his rather low popularity among Palestinians, clearly believes that his main lever of influence to bring them back to the negotiating table is US aid.

"We give them hundreds of millions of dollars of support and help," the president told Davos last week, "and this money will not be paid to them unless they come to negotiate peace."

Some observers may have been tempted to dismiss the president's inappropriate words by saying that they have been kept under the spur of the moment and that they do not adequately describe the White House's foreign policy objectives. In this context, we can draw a parallel with Trump's tweet last October in which he said that his foreign minister, Rex Tillerson, was "wasting his time trying to negotiate" with North Korea.

But on Tuesday, during his meticulously prepared speech of the State of the Union, Trump pointed out that he was seriously considering a withdrawal of to countries that got in the way of his agenda, asking the congress to "ensure that the dollars of US foreign aid will always serve American interests, and that they will go to America's friends and not to its enemies ".

Whether it was a conscious decision or things just happened by chance, the administration has adopted a carrot and stick policy in the face of the Palestinians' refusal. And while Trump brandishes the stick, Greenblatt promises the carrots.

"These different ways of addressing the Palestinians are not necessarily in contradiction," said Eytan Gilboa, an expert on US-Israeli relations at Bar-Ilan University.

"Greenblatt says that Palestinians are suffering and that if they come to the table, we will help them. Trump says that if they do not come, they will suffer even more. These are really two sides of the same coin.

So far, Ramallah has not responded to both of these approaches. But that will not stop Greenblatt from trying.


Source: ©  Washington's strategies to get Palestinians to negotiate

6 Partages

One Response to "Les stratégies de Washington pour amener les Palestiniens à négocier"

  1. Gérard Couvert   6 February 2018 at 13 h 58 min

    Israel has many assets now, but in 3 years?
    Attention the Arab population in Jerusalem goes back, is it possible to have 4 million more Arab-Israelis? Risky bet that would reduce the Jewish specificity of the country.
    See part 4 of this article for a map: https://lesouverainiste.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/chiens-de-juifs/.

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