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Trump in the region
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
May 14, 2017

What Trump's case contains of explosives may trigger more than one political quake in the region.

The US President, Donald Trump, will visit the region at the end of this month, he will meet the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and visit Amman, Cairo and Riyadh and will find a way to meet President Abu Mazen. The map of the visit, of course, predicts the issues that will be raised, and what in his case files.

Before that, he met King Abdullah II, as the President of the current session of Arab Summit. He was informed by him about the results of the deliberations of Arab leaders. Then, met the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the second Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia . He met President Abu Mazen in Washington as well.

It is remarkable that Trump will visit the region, after a visit to Europe to participate in the Atlantic Summit. Thus, our region will as usual be one of the most important areas in the American international accounts for many reasons, including the energy sources, the transportation lines, the consuming market ,and the most importantly, ensuring the Israeli interests. In the context «to address the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict».

While the American visit to the region, is still outside the direct interest of the Arab circles, which are preoccupied with other files, we note that this visit occupies an advanced position in the interests of the Israeli side, as the information says that an American delegation is currently in Israel, to make the administrative and security arrangements, and the preparation of political files that will be the subject of discussion and understanding between both parties. Including: "Terrorism, the Palestinian settlement, the Golan issue, and Jerusalem issue."

• About the case of terrorism, we do not need much effort to realize that what is meant here is not Da'esh (ISIS), nor al Nosra, but, according to the Israeli and American ratings, the "Iranian influence," including Hezbollah in Lebanon. We also do not believe that the issue is merely a matter of classification; it is are-arrangement for the political priorities as perceived by the United States and Israel, so that it is reiterated, that the main and direct threat to the security, stability of the region and the interests of its countries and peoples, is neither in the existence of Israel nor in the Israeli occupation, but it is certainly the Iranian influence, which requires the formation of a regional alliance (NATO- Middle Eastern) to face this danger, the nucleus of it is Israel, and a number of «Sunni countries», as described by the US and Israeli circles, of course in the forefront, is the Saudi Arabia. For sure Trump's visit to Riyadh will address this issue as one of the most important files in the region.

Regarding the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is clear that Trump's agenda will address the following titles:

• Transferring the United States Embassy to the occupied Jerusalem. Trump is expected to undo his decision to transfer the embassy, and to compensate the Israeli side by reaffirming that "the united" Jerusalem, is the "eternal capital" of Israel. Trump sees this move as "satisfying" for the Arab capitals and it relieves them from the nightmare of responding to the move if it takes place, while these capitals are keen to improve their relations with Washington. Also, he will pleases Israel, by recognizing Jerusalem as a capital (and not occupied), that is, it will be outside the settlement process.

• Regarding the settlement, Trump and Netanyahu are expected to reach what could be (falsely) called as a "compromise". That is, to "restrain" the settlement, not stopping it definitely. In practical terms, the "construction" continues in the settlements and in the occupied Jerusalem. In return, Israel should not establish new settlements outside this framework: i.e., to continue the settlement and more settlers will flow into the West Bank and Jerusalem.

• As for the final political settlement, the information, with the diversity of its sources, confirms that Trump will focus on the need to develop a "regional solution" based on the initiative of Arab Summit in Beirut (2002) so that the settlement will proceed on two parallel tracks: the first one is the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations under an Arabic -American sponsorship, which will lead to the second track, which means the normalization of Arab relations with Israel, and ending the state of war (!) And signing peace agreements. The various sources ,confirm that this was on the agenda of Arab leaders who visited Washington, (Abdullah II, Al-Sisi, Muhammad Ibn Salman) and that it will be on the agenda of President Abu Mazen's talks with Trump in Washington.

These sources ,also, add that if Trump was not convinced that there was an Arab-Israeli welcome to his project (the regional solution), he would have not decide to visit the region and he would have not decided to venture with a project that does not receive the approval of the parties concerned.

With some scrutiny, we can see that the Arab atmospheres have become, to a large extent, qualified to receive this solution, as an "integrated deal" that enables everyone, as many say, to devote themselves to fight "terrorism" with its various types that are drawn in this capital or that. Also, the Israeli atmosphere has become eligible to receive this deal. Even if this matter leads to a government crisis in Israel (which could put an end to the current government coalition), the overall direction of the deal, would enable Netanyahu to rebuild a new coalition, in which he would attract other forces to the government.

Regarding the Golan Heights, the sources explained that Israel would ask Trump to declare the United States' recognition of the annexation of the Golan, as an integral part of Israel, just like the East Jerusalem. This was what the Israeli circles had raised with Jason Greenblatt, Trump's envoy to the region. Although the United States is "sympathetic" to the Israeli demand, but the circles around Trump advised him, as known, not to rush too much in this direction, especially since the regional and international situation is not eligible for such a move. So the Israeli sources expect that Trump to give a less valuable gift. He also considers that the "Syrian political conditions and the danger they reflect on Israeli the interests and its security will provide to Israel an opportunity to implement its law on Jewish settlements in the Golan Heights,". The phrase "the application of its law" is the password, which means, practically, the formal annexation of the Golan to Israel. This is the password which was used before by the Israeli occupation authorities to prepare for the annexation of the settlement blocs in the West Bank and Jerusalem to the "State" as an integral part thereof.

There is no doubt that Trump's tour will in itself be a fateful tour. If it succeeds in laying the groundwork for a regional solution, it will move the region to a new situation, in which the political map will be redrafted, including the redrawing of the Arab-Israeli relations and the insertion of the Palestinian cause into the corridors of the failed solutions. Which will necessarily reflect itself on the Palestinian overall political and social situation with its various components. Especially in the lights of the cause that the Palestinian situation is passing through, whether inside or outside the PLO, after it has become clear that the Oslo's project has failed and reached to the historical impasse.

If Trump does not reach to this solution, the Palestinian situation will be exposed to political movements, such as the bankruptcy of the official leadership, and its inability to take any initiative, also its immersion in a state of waiting. So, any incident, would as what happened in the first and second uprisings lead to the explosion of the situation, but in different forms this time.

In both cases, the Palestinian issue stands before a political entitlement, and great dangers, that will be faced only by quitting the Oslo's project and removing the American restriction in favor of reviving the Palestinian national program.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Manal Mansour
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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