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It’s time for the Palestinians to take responsibility

What do the Palestinians need to do in order to join the normalization happening throughout the region? "Our Middle East" with host Dan Diker and guest Abdullah Junaid, Ep. 14

In this episode of “Our Middle East,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs President Dan Diker and Bahraini journalist Abdullah Junaid, deputy director of MENA 2050, discuss whether Israel can help warm up relations with Egypt and Jordan beyond the tepid peace between the countries. MENA2050 is an organization led by a big cross-generational group from across the Middle East and North Africa region working together on an agreed vision for the region in 2050.

“Warm Peace” with Jordan and Egypt?

Can Israel achieve full normalization with Jordan and Egypt, the kind now enjoyed with Abraham Accords partners Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates?  Junaid says that Jordan has the potential of becoming a hub for water power and investments in the field of healthcare. As with the Abraham Accords, Junaid says a warm peace can come through he power of regional joint ventures, citing the recent announcement of an Israeli venture capital company placing its headquarters in Bahrain and attaining Iraqi and Jordanian investments.  Diker agrees, saying “The regional approach allows conflicts to depreciate, based on shared mutual prosperity. It gives countries a chance to ‘come down from the high branches of the tree’—conflict.” 

Increased Cooperation between Regional Actors

Junaid suggests using the United States Central Command (CENTCOM)  framework, which includes both Israel and Saudi Arabia, to prevent Iranian aggression, with or without the support of the Americans. CENTCOM directs and enables military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. interests in the Middle East and elsewhere. He says Abraham Accords partners’ security coordination and systems replace American ones. “We should not have to qualify our cooperation. We are stakeholders and we need to do whatever it takes to stabilize this region.”

Saudi Arabia, Iran and China 

Of the Chinese-brokered Iran-Saudi rapprochement, Junaid says that the kingdom acted not to “spite” the United States for its lack of leadership in forcing sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program, but that Saudi Arabia acted in its interests, believing the Chinese to be guarantors for Iran. “The Saudis announced their 2030 vision though it conflicts with West’s, but they put their foot down. The region comes first. It’s not for the U.S. to decide,” Junaid says.

He says that the kingdom’s biggest achievement has been its social transformation, most apparent in more freedom and opportunities for Saudi women. He also says that the “Saudis understand very well: Israel is a potential ally.”

Palestinians

Regarding the Palestinians, Junaid says diplomatically, that they need to assess “where the past has taken them and seek another alternative.” He adds, “The Palestinians need to step up and take their own decisions.”

“Our Middle East: An Insider’s View” airs live on JNS TV Youtube Channel, Facebook and Twitter at 1:30 PM EST/8:30 PM IST. You can also listen to the audio version here. A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs podcast produced by JNS.

You can catch the audio version on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Dan Diker is the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a foreign policy expert and the former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress.

The Bahraini journalist Abdullah Junaid is deputy director of MENA 2050.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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