GZERO Media logo

Trump’s Middle East peace plan isn’t meant to be fair

Trump’s Middle East peace plan isn’t meant to be fair

Let's be clear— the Middle East peace plan that the US unveiled today is by no means fair. In fact, it is markedly more pro-Israel than any that have come before it.

But the Trump administration was never aiming for a "fair" deal. Instead, it was pursuing a deal that can feasibly be implemented. In other words, it's a deal shaped by a keen understanding of the new power balances within the region and globally.


It used to be that most people assumed time was on the side of the Palestinians. Their demographic growth would eventually force Israel to capitulate to their demands. But that hasn't happened. Israel has proved capable of keeping its own democracy separate from Palestinian demands for their own homeland. In the two decades following the Clinton peace proposal that the Palestinians rejected, Israel has continued its growth as one of the region's preeminent economic, military and technology powers.

The sovereignty of the Palestinian people, meanwhile, kept being worn away, a function of both expanded Israeli settlements and, more recently, US actions like moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

Even more problematic for the Palestinians has been the Arab world's waning interest in their cause. In 2020, Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have greater incentives to draw close to Israel, not only on the shared threat from Iran, but also on cybersecurity, intelligence sharing, and data/surveillance capabilities. And while the US has never been a particularly adept interlocutor between Israel and the Palestinians, it has – particularly under Trump – been surprisingly effective as a broker between Israel and the major Arab powers.

In part that's because the US doesn't need the Middle East the way it used to. Thanks to the US energy production boom of the past decade, Washington is free to be more selective in the goals it pursues there, and less concerned about keeping all sides happy. Hence the deal we saw today.

So far, Palestinian leaders have refused to even engage with the Trump administration's proposal, and it is hard to blame them. The deal doesn't give Palestinians control over Haram al-Sharif (i.e. the Temple Mount). It doesn't allow them to make core east Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state – it instead relegates a Palestinian capital to the outskirts of the city.

It gives any Palestinian state control over just 70 percent of the West Bank after formalizing the legal rights of Israeli settlers already there. And perhaps most problematic of all, it does not allow a Palestinian state to offer a "right of return" for Palestinians living outside the borders of any new Palestinian state.

But it does give the Palestinians one critical thing, whether they want to accept it or not—and that's not only the promised $50bn in infrastructure investment that the Palestinian people desperately need. The Trump proposal, like it or not, gives them the best deal they're likely ever going to get, given the realities of power in the Middle East today.

Again, this is not a peace deal designed to make both sides equally happy or unhappy. It's one designed to force the weaker party to acknowledge their increasingly weak hand, and to strike a deal before it gets weaker. It's a novel approach to the conflict, but it may make all the difference in the world.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Over the weekend, some 40,000 Russians braved subzero temperatures to turn out in the streets in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. More than 3,000 protesters were arrested, and Navalny called on his followers to prepare for more action in the coming weeks.

But just who is Alexei Navalny, and how significant is the threat that he may pose to Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on power in Russia?

More Show less

The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take (part 1):

Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday. And have your Quick Take to start off the week.

Maybe start off with Biden because now President Biden has had a week, almost a week, right? How was it? How's he doing? Well, for the first week, I would say pretty good. Not exceptional, but not bad, not bad. Normal. I know everyone's excited that there's normalcy. We will not be excited there's normalcy when crises start hitting and when life gets harder and we are still in the middle of a horrible pandemic and he has to respond to it. But for the first week, it was okay.

More Show less

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Russian opposition leader Navalny in jail. Hundreds of thousands demonstrating across the country in Russia over well over 100 cities, well over 3000 arrested. And Putin responding by saying that this video that was put out that showed what Navalny said was Putin's palace that costs well over a billion dollars to create and Putin, I got to say, usually he doesn't respond to this stuff very quickly. Looked a little defensive, said didn't really watch it, saw some of it, but it definitely wasn't owned by him or owned by his relatives.

More Show less
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal