Friday, August 14, 2020


It has been said here some time ago that Trump would come up with some unforeseeable surprise to distract from his abysmal behavior, before the elections. If the Americans will be thrilled by the new soap staring Netanyahu and Mohamed bin-Zayed  remains to be seen.  Whatever the reason and the murky context might be, the fact is that this latest development is important both for what it achieves and for what it might foreshadow.

The rapprochement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a welcome development. It confirms the split between Iran, Qatar, and Turkey versus the rest. Bahrain and Oman might follow the UAE. The Saudis are still stuck in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Israel suspends (for now) the annexation of land claimed by the Palestinians. Knowing both the Israeli PM's animosity towards the Palestinians and the indifference of their Arab "brothers", the cause of a two-state solution has suffered here and now another setback.

With Trump and Jared Kushner at the helm, one can be assured that money spoke yet again louder than principle. The "art of the deal" is after all what it is, a transaction that looks great on TV. It can already be ascertained that the Trump years will make for a great prime-time series following the story line of Succession.

It is probable that this new Trump performance took almost all other interested parties by surprise. One can bet that there are more "stunts" in the making. The fear of defeat in the November elections is the mother of wicked inspiration. North Korea, Venezuela are waiting for Midas' touch. While the Covid-19 continues to write another chapter in the epic story of the American way of death, Trump must divert the attention. Maybe the Evangelicals who are enraptured by the "holy land" will celebrate another Bibi coup, but the Palestinians are again the forgotten "tribe".

The EU has stood often historically and financially with the Palestinians. It has a moral responsibility. The times of special envoys, of the Quartet, are bygones for now. Since the EU has assumed a creative role in the past it should renew its involvement through various means and unhindered visibility. Neither the Americans, nor the Arabs must be allowed to let a just cause unravel. Let Kosovo be a touchstone for what the EU could still do and manage. The Palestinians in Ramallah appear unfortunately like an exhausted corpse,

The current US never tries to inform, consult, or coalesce with the EU or NATO (still functioning  in the Bermuda triangle of Greece, Turkey and US ?). 

A Biden administration would certainly respect a formal agreement, concluded under American auspices, as it should.  Still, a window should also be considered for re-opening Middle East talks about a more ambitious goal. Dealing with "clients" (Israel and the UAE) should not be permissible if it is done on the back of justice for all involved in the region. When diplomacy becomes a "trivial pursuit," there is something rotten there.

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