1 thought on “Some relief for Gaza: the Rafah crossing-point re-opens”

  1. The weekend press has Israeli sourced stories that MbS is ready to tell the Palestinians that they must accept any terms offered for a peace deal or, effectively, go to the devil for all the rest of the Arab World cares. Trump wants to be the deal maker who ends the Arab Israel dispute. Perhaps there is such a chance on these lines. Trump offers Putin cooperation ” a joint mandate” over Syria once ISIS is finally driven elsewhere on condition that Asad himself goes. The two mandatories preside over the rebuilding of Syria with Aramco money to eventual elections and a genuinely Syrian Sunni led government (they have a natural majority). Meanwhile Trump tells Netanyahu that he will deliver Syria in a peace settlement in return for the demilitarised Golan; no Syrian agreement, no Saudi money. Israel gets another “moderate Sunni” neighbour to keep the Iranian threat at a distance; too much to dream that a respectable Hashemite could be found to take charge there but one can’t have everything. Israel is then backed to make a derisory offer of recognition of a Palestinian State on the basis of existing territorial control with minor easements, with more Aramco money for Palestine (or its venal leaders) if they capitulate and the threat that Saudi Arabia and our other moderate allies will wash their hands of the whole business if they turn it down.
    Pipedream, nightmare or impossible? Without the US/Russia deal over Syria, I do not believe it could be done. Asad, Russia, Hizbullah etc could break it. American friends hope Trump will not be with us long enough for us to find out. If it did happen, it would make a mockery of half a century of International Diplomacy and UN principles. The Palestinians would have no justice but that is almost certain anyway. It would surely alienate still further the populations at large from our Sunni friendly regimes, jihadists everywhere would have a new recruiting sergeant, and the Shia/Sunni fault line would be more truly a war zone than ever. But would Trump or Netanyahu care?
    With MbS on present form and an unpredictable US President, there may just be major changes in the offing. It would certainly put HMG in need of some clever reformulation of what we claim to be seeking in the region.

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