Trump plan gets support from Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Egypt

Oman, UAE and Bahrain sent their ambassadors to the unveiling of the long-awaited American proposal, while Saudi Arabia and Egypt ‘appreciate’ the US effort.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Several moderate Arab states have cautiously expressed support for the American plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians that President Trump unveiled Tuesday in Washington.

In a public expression of solidarity, the ambassadors of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain even attended the plan’s festive roll-out in the East Room of the White House.

UAE envoy Yousef al-Otaiba said afterwards that the proposal “offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a U.S.-led international framework. The UAE believes that Palestinians and Israelis can achieve lasting peace and genuine coexistence with the support of the international community.”

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the country “appreciates the continued efforts” the American administration is making to end the conflict.

The ministry called for Israel and the Palestinian Authority “to carefully study the American vision for achieving peace, find out all its dimensions, and open channels of dialogue to resume negotiations under American auspices.”

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Saudi Arabia and Qatar also “appreciated” Trump’s efforts. The Saudi kingdom echoed Egypt in supporting “the initiation and direct negotiations of peace between the Palestinian and Israeli sides under the auspices of the United States of America.” Its foreign ministry also emphasized its encouragement “to address any differences on any aspects of the plan through negotiations.”

Although leaders in the Arab Sunni world did not fully endorse the plan, neither did they call for strikes or “days of rage” to protest the deal. Notably, they did not publicly attack any of its pro-Israel particulars, such as Israeli sovereignty over all the Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, or a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with the status quo maintained on the Temple Mount.

This reticence is meaningful, as Eyal Zisser of Israel Hayom wrote on Wednesday. Most Arab countries have much more pressing and important issues to deal with than the Palestinians, and this is why the unveiling of the peace deal was greeted with restraint or “a deafening silence,” he wrote.

The Middle East is now divided differently than it was in the past, he said. Rather than the Israelis against the Palestinians, with the Arab world solidly behind them, now it’s the moderate Arab states, Israel and the United States against Iran and its allies.

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Jordan proved an exception to this rule. Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi put out a statement saying, “Jordan must condemn unilateral Israeli measures in violation of international law and provocative actions that push the region toward more tension and escalation.”

He called for direct negotiations between the parties that would end with an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, the same formula that has been bandied about for decades.

With its majority Palestinian population, analysts say that Jordan fears that it will be asked to take in hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees if the two-state solution is abandoned, that it will lose its special status on the Temple Mount and that it will face unrest from its population if it is seen as abandoning the cause of a Palestinian state.