Israel says hi to Morocco, Bhutan, Dubai and goodbye to Ashrawi

December 14, 2020 by David Singer

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Another momentous week has seen President Trump broker diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco – whilst Bhutan and Israel established diplomatic ties and Israel’s first commercial flight to Dubai occurred.

It is also the week in which long-serving member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee – Hanan Ashrawi – chose to resign.

Ashrawi was clearly miffed at the way her intended resignation was treated:

“I met with President Mahmoud Abbas on 24 November, 2020 and we had a candid and amicable discussion in which I informed him of my decision to resign from the Executive Committee, effective the end of the year.

I sent the resignation in writing on 26 November, 2020, with the agreement that it will not be publicly disclosed until all necessary arrangements are concluded.

Regrettably, news of my resignation was leaked from “senior sources” in a misleading and irresponsible manner that lead to conjecture and rumours.”

Ashrawi was having no truck with Abbas’s belated attempt to pacify her:

“I refrained from making any comments until I communicated with President Abbas on Tuesday, December 8, and agreed to the disclosure of my resignation and publication of the letter.

The President responded that evening with a notation on my letter deferring the decision to the Palestine Central Council.

While I appreciate and respect the President’s position, I reaffirm my resignation and consider it to be in effect. “ 

The reasons for Ashrawi’s resignation were unambiguous:

“I believe it is time to carry out the required reform and to activate the PLO in a manner that restores its standing and role, including by respecting the mandate of the Executive Committee rather than its marginalization and exclusion from decision-making.

The Palestinian political system needs renewal and reinvigoration with the inclusion of youth, women, and additional qualified professionals.”

Certainly – the tired old faces on the Executive Committee – and the PLO’s outdated policies – need rejuvenation.

Abbas’s continuing refusal to negotiate with Israel on Trump’s deal of the century – offering the PLO a demilitarized state in Gaza and 70% of Judea and Samaria – is fast becoming another lost opportunity – as a fourth Arab state – Morocco – joins the United Arab Emirates, Bahrein and Sudan in calling for an end to the 100 years old unresolved Arab-Jewish conflict.

The PLO – emboldened by its belief that Trump has lost the elections – will not come to the negotiating table to finalise Trump’s proposals with Israel – preferring to cling to decades-old claims – still supported by Biden, the United Nations and European Union – demanding Gaza and 100% of Judea and Samaria.

Trump – as a result – seems set to give Israel the go-ahead – at a time of Israel’s choosing – to extend Israeli sovereignty in the 30% of Judea and Samaria specifically designated for Israel in Trump’s plan.

Trump has also recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara – rejecting the status quo and driving toward what Trump considers the only serious, credible, and realistic solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

Trump declared:

“The United States believes that Morocco’s autonomy plan is the only realistic option to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable solution to the dispute over Western Sahara…

… This recognition leaves room for a negotiated solution and the United States remains committed to working with Morocco, the Polisario, and all involved regional and international actors to support the necessary work ahead and create a more peaceful and prosperous region.”

Trump’s circuit- breaking proposals for Judea and Samaria – and now Western Sahara – assures Trump a place in history no other American President has managed to achieve.

 Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators –  whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and a foundation member of the International Analysts Network

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