Today I found the headline in TOI’s news flash that Trump is unsure if Israel is looking to make peace.
While it’s not certain that he will draw the right conclusions, at least it appears that Trump is starting to understand an important aspect of the conflicts in the middle east. Since the Romantic Era, the West is suffering from a beclouded view upon reality. Trump is one of the few players, in today’s western political circus, who is not trapped in this condition.
Since many decades at least superficially western politicians pretend that they are yearning for peace for the Middle East and many U.S. presidents have made this issue to one of their big items on their agenda. Yet, they all failed.
But what is peace, if there is no security and the parties meet on the battle field short after? In 2011 I read about an opinion polls published in al-Ahram weekly that said that about 61% of the Egyptian population were in favor of abandoning the peace treaty with Israel and to return to war with her. Unfortunately al-Ahram doesn’t retain its OnLine-articles over so many years and hence I only find other sources like this one. To insiders of the Middle Eastern conflicts, this was not big news. It also wasn’t big news when during the 2011-12 Egyptian election campaign trumped each other in declaring the peace treaty with Israel null and void. This is now seven years ago. In February 2012 I wrote a little note in my earlier blog to show this talk of Prof. Ruth Lapidoth.
Back in the late 1970s the situation was so fragile that the U.S. decided to join the peace treaty as a witness. Witness means that the 3rd party to the treaty “supports” the two main parties of the treaty to keep it and in this case the U.S. mainly supported Egypt with around US$ 1.3 billion per year in foreign aid, most of which ws invested in U.S. military aid for Egypt. Egypt is mainly run by its military and Egypt’s military also is the single biggest economic player. So the biggest player in Egypt had to be kept at the treaty.
During the more than 30 years of the peace treaty, that has been signed in Washington in 1979, the Egyptian government failed to install the idea of peace with Israel in the Egyptian population. But 25% of the Egyptian population is illiterate and that doesn’t mean that the other 75% reads and writes. There are about another 40-50% who are functionally illiterate, meaning, they can read, but they don’t understand what they just read. So most of the Egyptian population relies on what others tell them, for instance the Imams.
Another important treaty are the Oslo accords. In terms of international law, the so called Palestinians (actually stateless Arabs) are not sui juris, meaning they are actually not able to effectively sign an international treaty, because they don’t have a state. They first should build that state. So many sides signed into the Oslo accords (watch Ruth Lapidoth’s remarks)
Trump is now a year in his office and he gradually understands the parties positions. Israel is perfectly fine with any solution, as long as spells the end of war and terror. In the Middle East a treaty doesn’t have a lot of meaning. The only thing that really counts are common interests. Insofar, the relationships between Israel and Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia at present are much better than Israel’s relations with Germany or Sweden.
What we see her is that a treaty or the absence thereof doesn’t mean anything for the state of relations between countries in the middle east and if we take this second look at the Europeans, we also see that they even need external pressure to abstain from war.
Trump who is not an involved player who would be suffering from the same pathological troubles than most European leaders…..etc Trump takes a somewhat elevated position, because he doesn’t indulge in the same form of self betrayal like others do. Now he’ll probably lean back for a few months and think about this.