President Trump and America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley – virtually within hours of each other – have laid the groundwork for Jordan to replace the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner under President Bush’s 2003 Roadmap – endorsed by the United Nations, European Union, and Russia – and Bush’s 2004 Congress-endorsed commitments to Israel.
Haley told the UN Security Council:
1. Real peace requires leaders who are willing to step forward, acknowledge hard truths, and make compromises. It requires leaders who look to the future, rather than dwell on past resentments. Above all, such leaders require courage.
2. Abbas’s two-hour speech to the PLO Central Council on 14 January
· Declared the landmark Oslo Peace Accords dead.
· Rejected any American role in peace talks.
· Insulted President Trump
· Called for suspending recognition of Israel.
· Invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers.
Such a speech indulging in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace.
3. King Hussein of Jordan was a leader with courage. In 1994, he ended 46 years of war and entered into a peace agreement with Israel that holds to this day. When King Hussein signed the peace treaty, he said:
“These are the moments in which we live, the past and the future. When we come to live next to each other, as never before, we will be doing so, Israelis and Jordanians, together, without the need for any to observe our actions or supervise our endeavors. This is peace with dignity; this is peace with commitment.”
Haley certainly pulled no punches.Abbas’s recent actions demonstrate Abbas is the total opposite of King Hussein.
Trump – attending the World Economic Forum in Davos – had some additional dismissive remarks to make about the PLO:
1. The PLO disrespected America by not allowing America’s great Vice-President Mike Pence to see them.
2. Money was never on the table. America gives the Palestinian Arabs tremendous amounts, hundreds of millions of dollars a year. That money is on the table. Because why should America do that as a country if they’re doing nothing for America?
3. Trump doesn’t know whether Israel-PLO negotiations will ever take place.Trump and Haley have clearly indicated that the ground is rapidly shifting under a corrupt PLO edifice that:
· unashamedly continues to fund murderers of Israelis and non-Israelis
· is not yet tired and disgusted of such killingReplacing Abbas will not solve the PLO’s dilemma. Abbas’s speech to the PLO Central Council was frequently interrupted by loud applause from the entire PLO leadership gathered in Ramallah.
Trump ominously remarked that Israel would have to pay for Jerusalem being taken off the table as the toughest issue requiring resolution in any negotiations.
Israeli concessions can be more easily negotiated if Jordan – not the PLO - is Israel’s negotiating partner – because:
· Amman is Jordan’s long-established capital
· Jordan also enjoys negotiating rights on Jerusalem’s future under article 9 (2) of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty:
Israel-Jordan negotiations indeed represent the best opportunity to end the 100 years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.“In this regard [freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance] in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.”
The PLO has seemingly done its dash – and hundreds of millions in cash – in defiantly taking on Trump.