Unlike past U.S. presidents’ “inside out” approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict (i.e., resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would lead to wider Arab-Israeli peace), Trump has subscribed to the “outside in” strategy whereby improved Israeli-Arab relations could broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal.
This approach has its merit given the strong convergence of interests between Israel and the Sunni Arab states vis-à-vis the Iranian-led Shiite threat. Yet the covert relationship between Israel and the Gulf Arab states is highly fragile and might well be derailed should the negotiations bog down over such issues as Jerusalem and the “right of return.”
Nor do the Arab states have the ability to goad the Palestinians into an agreement at all costs. The tragedy of the Palestinian people has been their leaders’ adamant rejection of compromise, and Mahmoud Abbas is no exception to this rule. With the Palestinian population in the territories brainwashed into ineradicable hatred for Israelis and Jews, Abbas would not risk being branded a traitor, especially when the legitimacy of his presidency has been largely eroded over the years.
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