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Trump and Netanyahu’s ‘deal’ for separate peace between Israel and Arab countries is a fantasy

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Today’s press conference between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu made news for the president’s talk of a till-now-secret “big deal” that would embrace the region, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israel’s new alliances with Arab states against Iran mean that a two-state solution is giving way to a regional solution.

There is nothing new about this idea. Israel has been floating it again and again in recent months.

Then Secretary of State John Kerry called it the idea of a “separate peace” and said last December at the Saban Forum that it was a fantasy.

And let me tell you – let me tell you a few things that I’ve learned for sure in the last few years. There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world. I want to make that very clear to all of you. I’ve heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, well, the Arab world is in a different place now, we just have to reach out to them and we can work some things with the Arab world and we’ll deal with the Palestinians. No, no, no, and no. I can tell you that reaffirmed even in the last week as I have talked to leaders of the Arab community. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.

Kerry reiterated that idea in his speech at the State Department on December 28.

Now, one thing we do know: if Israel goes down the one state path, it will never have true peace with the rest of the Arab world, and I can say that with certainty. The Arab countries have made clear that they will not make peace with Israel without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That’s not where their loyalties lie. That’s not where their politics are.

But there is something new here. Common interests in countering Iran’s destabilizing activities, and fighting extremists, as well as diversifying their economies have created real possibilities for something different is Israel takes advantage of the opportunities for peace. I have spent a great deal of time with key Arab leaders exploring this, and there is no doubt that they are prepared to have a fundamentally different relationship with Israel. That was stated in the Arab Peace Initiative, years ago. And in all my recent conversations, Arab leaders have confirmed their readiness, in the context of Israeli-Palestinian peace, not just to normalize relations but to work openly on securing that peace with significant regional security cooperation. It’s waiting. It’s right there.

Many have shown a willingness to support serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and to take steps on the path to normalization to relations, including public meetings, providing there is a meaningful progress towards a two-state solution. My friends, that is a real opportunity that we should not allow to be missed.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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9 Responses

  1. ramzijaber on February 15, 2017, 3:28 pm

    I said it years ago. I said it many times before. I say it again: Abbas must immediately dissolve the PA and work quickly towards 1S1P1V with equal rights to all. Let’s not waste time trying to convince Trump he must endorse and beleive in two states.

    Seize the opportunity that Trump and Rivlin provided.
    – Mobilize ALL Palestinians under Israel to hold peaceful mass demos each and every day requesting equality in 1S1P1V
    – Mobilize our missions and friends abroad to support equality for all in 1S1P1V

    Act now!

  2. Citizen on February 15, 2017, 5:02 pm

    Trump & Bibi want a regional push, adding more pressure on Palestinian negotiators to concede Bibi’s two prerequisites for peace: 1) Palestinian recognition of the Jewish State of Israel, and 2), a set up guaranteeing Israel’s ultimate complete control of all areas in question in the interest of fail-safe security for Israel. A couple of days ago, Trump signed a bill cutting off all aid to Palestine if they go to the ICC for help. There will be no cutting of any aid to Israel, even if settlements continue unabated, although Trump told Bibi in public he’d like him to “hold off on settlements just a bit.”

    The old Arab Initiative recognized Israel (specifically as a Jewish state?), and normalizing relations with Israel, on condition Israel will exist only behind the green line, if memory serves.

    I’m sure at least the Palestinian negotiators will remember their 1948 refugee families….

  3. JLewisDickerson on February 15, 2017, 7:54 pm

    RE: Many [Arab leaders] have shown a willingness to support serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and to take steps on the path to normalization to relations, including public meetings, providing there is a meaningful progress towards a two-state solution. My friends, that is a real opportunity that we should not allow to be missed. ~ Kerry

    MY SNARKCASM: Likudnik Israel never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace!

  4. talknic on February 15, 2017, 8:17 pm

    Contrary to the Zionist/Israeli narrative, it is the Zionists who never fail to miss an opportunity.

    From the end of at least the Roman era to 1922 Jewish folk could move to Palestine, obtain valid citizenship, buy land and settle anywhere in the Jewish People’s alleged historical homeland. Few did. The majority in the diaspora missed the opportunity, (if they ever actually wanted to take it)

    Herzl could have in his life time moved to Palestine, obtained citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in Palestine. He didn’t bother. The Zionist Federation didn’t even bother to move there until 1936. Opportunity after opportunity missed.

    Instead of taking the Balfour declaration at its word (it doesn’t mention a state and the two British white papers made that very clear), the Zionists wanted more. Another missed opportunity to return to anywhere in the Jewish People’s alleged historical homeland.

    Instead of accepting the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine per Chapter 7, the Zionists insisted on missing that opportunity too.

    In 1948 instead of keeping within Israel’s proclaimed and recognized borders the Zionist formed provisional Government of Israel attacked and illegally acquired by war territories that were not proclaimed or recognized as Israeli. Another missed opportunity.

    Today the Arab peace initiative has been on the table for over a decade. Israel seems hell bent on missing that opportunity too.

    Now Israel is in a position where it simply can not afford to adhere to the law. It has lied itself into a corner from which the only legal escape is to plea bargain its way out

    Meanwhile the Palestinians have no legal obligation to forgo ANY of their legal rights. The only negotiations they are perhaps obliged to are how and when Israel will withdraw, how and when refugees might return and what reparations the Jewish State should make.

    However while Israel has the US veto in its grubby blood dripping fist, nothing will change. The pyramid scheme will go on. Jews will continue to be duped, Palestinians continue to be dispossessed

  5. DaBakr on February 15, 2017, 9:12 pm

    Kerry had his time in the spotlight. His credibility as a negotiator and important SOS is about as low as an old Turkish toilet and he will be remembered as the sos who negotiated Obama’s puzzling and anti American foreign policy. ( at least Obama never took time to explain too American public exactly how his weakening of US power in me, strengthening the mullahs with bullion bds and turning over power to the rising Putin is in the US interest (even long term as obama says he strategically thinks)

    • talknic on February 16, 2017, 1:50 am

      @ DaBakr February 15, 2017, 9:12 pm

      “Kerry had his time … blah blah blah “

      Typical ZioDrivel. Blame the negotiator when it is in fact Israel in breach of the law and UN Charter and refusing EVERY offer ever made to it for peace.

      It’s the likes of yourself who’re to blame for the situation. Stupid, greedy, supportive of war crimes, continuously blabbering mouth pieces for the rogue state of Israel

  6. hophmi on February 16, 2017, 8:37 am

    I don’t think a regional solution is exclusive of a bilateral solution. Someone needs to guarantee Palestinian viability. Why not the Gulf? Otherwise it will end up being NATO or the US.

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