The Middle East situation, at the core of it the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been generally an unsolvable riddle for over fifty years. President Trump is trying his hand at it as he dispatched his senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner to the region to make an effort at a solution.
Kushner and his team came up with a very good plan. Just one problem: it’s a reasonable deal based on a mutually beneficial outcome for everybody. There’s the rub: despots like the Palestinians (Fatah) and Hamas do not want anything beneficial to anyone other than themselves. Palestinian tinhorn Mahmoud Abbas has almost as much as admitted it.
Like the Dems here and their attitudes toward blacks, it behooves them to coit over their own people and ensure they remain in misery. If they were to progress to prosperity they might realize how much and how long their supposed allies had screwed them over to keep the Swiss accounts of Fatah full to the brim.
Around 1965, LBJ tried the same thing with the North Vietnamese. Before the war got too far along, not long after Rolling Thunder, he offered Ho Chi Minh a massive investment in his country, actually a national bribe, if he would lay down his arms.
Ho said no, ironically only to delay Vietnam’s turn to capitalism, because the communist dictator was not a union leader involved in labor negotiations. He couldn’t be bought like LBJ bought and sold the UAW. Ho was a stone-cold tyrant who had only one thing on his mind: victory over the Americans and unifying the land into a Marxist dictatorship. Due to LBJ bungling and Dem moral cowardice, Ho got his wish in due course.
President Trump’s ten-year $50 billion ($15 billion in grants, $25 billion in low-interest loans, and $10 billion in private capital) “Peace to Prosperity” initiative will likely meet the same fate as LBJ’s offer. Trump is asking, like term limits in relation to Congress, people who benefit from the status quo to change it. If their main motivation is corruption and power, why should Fatah or Hamas do anything to change the current situation?
Trump will find out, no doubt has already, that dealing with Fatah is quite different from talking to Congress or wheeling and dealing in the NYC real estate market. Like Neville Chamberlain and LBJ before him, the president is trying to cut a reasonable deal with people who aren’t interested in reason.
Okay, maybe it is like Congress.
There is one shot. Fatah is seriously bankrolled to one degree or another by the Sauds, the Emirates, etc. Those two and the Egyptians, Jordanians, Moroccans, Qataris, even some brave Palestinians, are attending a meeting on this very proposal right now in Bahrain. The Trump team and their allies say they can double the Palestinian GDP and create more than one million jobs for the area in this latest incarnation of the Marshall Plan. Though it would not contain the two-state solution that Fatah wants. As such they have labeled it DOA. Hamas has an Iranian ATM and will be even harder to bring into the fold.
However, if the big money underwriters of Fatah in the region, like the Sauds and the Emirates, started exerting pressure by tightening their leashes on Abbas or threatening to cut off the gravy train altogether, then Fatah, seeing its ill-gotten riches in jeopardy, may start to listen.
Only that, not appeals to regional economic progress or peace, will start to get this ancient run-aground tub off the rocks. But don’t hold your breath waiting. For when it comes to actual progress on any matter in the Middle East involving this issue, it’s always low tide.