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Trump's Israel-Palestine deal targets Saudi alliance, not peace

President Donald Trump knows that in order to get the Saudis into a regional alliance with Israel against Iran, he must first present a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shortly after President Donald Trump bid farewell to his new buddy, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, on June 12, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and US Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt would travel to the Middle East next week to discuss the administration’s peace plan for the region. Their itinerary includes stops in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The Palestinian Authority seat in the West Bank city of Ramallah is not on their schedule. For now, there is no mention of the Palestinians on the tour. An alien landing on Earth would be certain that Trump’s promised “ultimate deal” is a peace plan between Israel, the Saudis and the oil-rich Gulf states.

The alien would not be far from the truth. The prevailing view among Israeli and Palestinian officials who spoke this week with Al-Monitor is that the Trump administration views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a mere hurdle on the way to forging a strategic US-Israeli-Arab alliance against Iran and its proxies. According to these officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a stalwart supporter of the West Bank settlements, has ascertained that the deal Trump promised soon after he took office would be tailored to fit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and too tight to the point of constricting for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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