UPDATED: Now that the Israeli elections are over, the White House is signaling it will release its much-awaited plan to help establish Middle East peace, most likely around mid-June.
As that release approaches, I’ve been called by reporters from the Associated Press, Axios, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Christianity Today, CNN, the Religion News Service, a Saudi newspaper, and others, asking for insights.
No one yet knows what’s in the final peace plan.
Yet Turkish media, Qatari media (including the Doha-based Al Jazeera satellite news network), and other media outlets are continually attacking President Trump and his team, propagating lies about Israel, attacking the Gulf states who are warming to normalization of ties with Israel, and promoting the narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist and pro-jihadist organizations. What’s more, they are disseminating all manner of falsehoods about what is supposedly in the Trump plan, all in the hopes of scuttling any hope of Arab-Israeli peace and discrediting and delegitimizing the plan before its even released. (for just a few examples, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
“According to one media monitoring organization, since the 2016 Presidential election, Qatar’s flagship media outlet Al Jazeera has savaged President Trump in more than 1,800 disparaging news and opinion pieces, often describing him in crudely anti-Semitic and anti-American terms,” notes an analysis by the Middle East Forum. “The state-run media network has demonized Trump in a manner far exceeding the most derogatory reports from Western media, calling him ‘the conductor’ of the ‘orchestra of Satan’ and insisting that he is controlled by Jewish forces.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders oppose and vow to defeat the peace plan, even though they have not yet seen the final version of the plan. (see more examples here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)
Why? How can anyone properly analyze the plan until all the final details have been released? How does it benefit the impoverished, struggling Palestinian people to have their leaders launching continual attacks against the White House and voicing such strenuous opposition when the plan in the end could turn out to be very beneficial to them?
Indeed, news reports just this week suggest that the King of Saudi Arabia offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas $10 billion over ten years to help establish a new Palestinian state, if Abbas would be open to and accept the Trump plan — yet Abbas reportedly refused. I’m working to independently verify this report, but again, if it is true then how does this benefit the Palestinian people?
As I tell the reporters who have contacted me, the best I can do at this point is provide some perspective and analysis that is informed, in part, by my meetings with Israeli and Arab leaders, as well as my conversations with various American Evangelical leaders.
As the various stories are published, I’ll post them here and send them out on Twitter and on my Facebook “Epicenter Team” page. For now, here are two.
- First, here’s a link to the article that Christianity Today published –– Will Trump’s “Deal of the Century” On Israel-Palestine Please Evangelicals? — including interviews with 11 American Evangelical leaders. I commend it to your attention.
- Second, here is a link to the front-page article that Al Riyadh, the Saudi newspaper, published, Trump’s plan doesn’t cut off lands from Jordan or Egypt and is in line with the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative — Rosenberg to Al Riyadh: The Broadcasts of Turkey and Qatar Lie About The “Peace Plan”. It is based on a phone interview I did last week with the paper’s Washington correspondent. The original article is in Arabic. Below, I’ve included an English translation that was done by an Arab friend of mine, and confirmed as accurate by the reporter.
TRUMP PLAN DOESN’T CUT OFF LANDS FROM JORDAN OR EGYPT AND IS IN LINE WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE by Hadeel Oueis, Washington correspondent for Al Riyadh newspaper, Saudi Arabia, April 27, 2019
In an interview of Al Riyadh, an American Evangelical leader, Joel Rosenberg, who has met with many Arab leaders and U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss the “Peace Plan” prepared by the U.S. administration, says that he is aware of the priorities of the administration and Arab attitudes regarding the expected plan.
But he also sees a counter-plan led by the Arabic-speaking Turkish media and Al-Jazeera [satellite TV news network, based out of Qatar] designed to destroy any chances for peace, and also to broadcast a large amount of lies regarding elements that have not been put forward about the plan in an attempt to distort Arab attitudes towards the plan.
Rosenberg says that Turkey publicly criticizes Israel yet is the one country in the region that has all kinds of relations with Israel, including diplomatic relations.
It should be noted that the agreements between Turkey and Israel go so far as to facilitate the movement of citizens of the two countries without visas. This began more than a decade ago with the launch of Turkey as a global trade and tourism center.
Turkish flights carrying the Turkish flag fly to Israel more than any other airline in the world, and it’s a lucrative route for Turkish Airlines, which has the second most frequent flights to Tel Aviv after the Israeli company, “El Al.”
A second Turkish airline, “Pegasus,” also dominates Israeli aviation markets, though it has no flights from Arab countries to Israel. These airline connections have never been affected by the Turkish President’s high-profile speeches attacking Israel and supporting the Palestinians.
Even President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel didn’t stop even one Turkish flight or Turkish business deal with Tel Aviv.
Rosenberg says Turkey is trying to fabricate lies about the Trump peace plan in order to distort U.S. positions and confuse the Arab street, as well as to keep the Arab states from benefitting from economic relations with Israel.
Turkey likes being Israel’s main economic partner in the region, and fears the peace deal could change this. Turkey is also constantly trying to protect itself from challenges that arise in international relationships by presenting itself as the only moderate state in the region, and hopes to shape the views of Congress and counter the influence of Jewish power in America in order to help Ankara.
Rosenberg says media reports are wrong to say that the Trump “Peace Plan” will take land away from the Sinai or from Jordan, and says the U.S. administration will not put forward proposals that could harm or disturb two very important allies of the Trump administration, Egypt and Jordan.
Rosenberg adds he is familiar with the positions of the key parties in the region. He feels that the Arab states usually adhere to the views of the Palestinians, and have not been willing to distance from them in the past.
He expects that the plan will contain points that make it compatible with the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative, including the emphasis on the importance of a two-state solution, and leaving the issue of Jerusalem’s borders for negotiations without being pre-determined by the Kushner Plan.
He continued: “I have heard from the Arabs who are trying to help the rights of the Palestinians. They are inviting President Abbas to the table to present the proposals and visions that the Palestinians want. In principle, I expect that the Trump plan is in keeping with the spirit of these principles, but this could also make parts of the plan unattractive to the Israeli side. Therefore, the only solution is to open doors to direct dialogue and negotiation.”
Rosenberg warns the Palestinians against ignoring the full details of plan, and not seeing and checking what is really in the plan [when it is released.]
This is just what the critics and the abusers of empty slogans want. Yet these empty slogans and attacks do nothing to help the Palestinians and constantly deprive them of the countless gains that would occur if peace happens.
Rosenberg adds that people should see Al-Jazeera’s contradiction — they use their network to attack Israel and peace but the state that funds it [Qatar] already has quiet, non-official relations with Israel.
Yet Al-Jazeera and its supporters do not want the Arab region and its leaders to improve relations and make true peace with Israel, not just symbols. For this will bring economic gains, foreign investment and peaceful international relations to the forefront.
Rosenberg emphasized that peace between the countries of the region is ultimately not an American affair. It is about whether the people of the Middle East aspire to become major, productive and influential nations, which are close to each other and diversified in their capabilities from energy to advanced technology.
Are they willing to boost their economies and their ability to innovate and stabilize if peace is achieved or steps towards peace are taken?….