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May 31, 2019 No.
8098

Arab Writers Urge Palestinians Not To Reject 'Deal Of Century' Out Of Hand, Make Most Of Economic Workshop In Bahrain

The Trump administration's Middle East peace initiative, known as the "Deal of the Century", which has yet to be officially announced, as well as the "Peace to Prosperity" economic workshop, scheduled to be held in Bahrain on June 25-26, 2019 and aimed at garnering "support for potential economic investment and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement," continue to be widely discussed in the Arab press. Amid much criticism of the U.S. initiative, and while the Palestinians have announced they would not attend the Bahrain workshop,[1] some leading columnists in the Arab press expressed a different opinion. They called not to reject the initiative out of hand, and strongly condemned the Palestinian and Arab rejection of many peace initiatives in the past.

The articles in the Gulf and Egyptian press harshly criticized the Palestinians and Arabs for repeatedly losing opportunities to resolve their problems and advised them to view the Deal of the Century with an open mind, enter negotiations and strive to make the most of them, while agreeing to make concessions where necessary. In Jordan, amid widespread opposition to the Trump administration's initiative, a few articles argued that the country should participate in the Bahrain workshop in order to defend its positions on the Palestinian issue and also as an opportunity to improve Jordan's economic situation. Support of the initiative was also expressed by Jordanian MP Fuaz Al-Zo'bi.

The following are excerpts from these articles and statements:

Editor Of Saudi Arab News Daily: The 'Kushner Peace Plan' May Be 'The Palestinians' Last, Best Chance' For A State – And Saudi Arabia Can Help

In a May 14, 2019 article in the Saudi English-language Arab News, titled "A Gleam Of Hope As We Recall The Nakba," the newspaper's editor-in-chief Faisal J. Abbas wrote that "Jared Kushner's peace plan" could be the Palestinians' last, best chance to achieve a state. Saudi Arabia can help, he added, by persuading Arab and Muslim countries to back the plan, and by working with donor countries "to ensure a sustainable and prosperous life for Palestinians."

He wrote: "Palestinians today mark the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, the 'Day of Catastrophe,' when displacement, occupation and injustice befell the people of Palestine as a result of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Since that day in 1948, all attempts to restore Palestinian lands, whether by peaceful or military means, have failed...

"When Arab News marked last year's 70th anniversary of the Nakba with a special issue, I wrote that peace was 'remote but still possible'... However, an interesting development has been brewing for the past few months that may, just may, reverse the situation and make peace more possible and less remote – the Jared Kushner peace plan… It is all very well for veteran politicians and diplomats to carp about Kushner's lack of experience in such matters, but what exactly have they achieved in more than 70 years of trying to resolve this conflict? Too much 'process' and not enough 'peace,' I would suggest...

"Contrary to some of the wilder speculation, Saudi sources have told Arab News that [the Kushner plan] will be a two-state solution, in which Palestinians will have their own nation state. Moreover, reports that Saudi Arabia will attempt to force the deal on the Palestinians are untrue. 'Any proposal will still be subject to both sides, Israelis and Palestinians, agreeing and adhering to it,' the Saudi source said. 'This has been the Saudi position on every peace offer, including the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.' While the Kushner peace plan will include some aspects of that initiative, it will not be a replica of it.

"Cynics have already rejected the Kushner peace plan despite knowing nothing about it, but it may be the Palestinians' last, best chance of their own state.

"Arab News understands that Kushner's plan will require painful sacrifices by both sides. For sure, it will end illegal Israeli occupation, but it may include an exchange of disputed territories. It will also guarantee Israeli security by finding agreed ways to secure the border, and control weapons coming into the Palestinian state.

"Both sources Arab News spoke to – one Saudi, one American – denied conspiracy theories about an alternative state for the Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan or elsewhere. 'Americans also understand the sensitivity of Jerusalem for both sides and the importance of Al-Aqsa mosque for Muslims,' the U.S. source said, and any deal will ensure that this issue is agreed upon."

"How can Saudi Arabia help? As our Saudi source says, only the Kingdom, home of the two holy shrines, can persuade Arab and Muslim countries to back the bid once the Palestinians have agreed to it. Also, Riyadh will work closely with donor countries to ensure a sustainable and prosperous life for Palestinians, so that they can finally focus on education, jobs and a better economy.

"'Other countries have an important role; Jordan has historically had one that is vital, so does Egypt. Donors and development partners such as the EU, Japan and others also can help,' the source said.

"Should the Palestinians accept? It would clearly be wrong to reach a final judgment without seeing the whole plan. However, it is also the definition of insanity to repeatedly do the same thing and expect a different result; for 70 years, every time the Arabs have said 'no' the Palestinians have lost more land, more rights and more opportunities.

"This may be the last chance to secure a two-state solution. The Palestinians should negotiate hard, and then take what they can to secure a nation state for future generations; everyone would salute their courage and sacrifice if they did, while there is nothing to be gained from a refusal to come to the negotiating table.

"That, of course, is what Israel is counting on; another Palestinian 'no' would allow the Israelis to claim that they had done everything possible to secure a deal and been rejected, and it would encourage the already generous Trump administration to cut them yet more slack.

"Bottom line: Let us give peace a chance." [2]

Chief Editor Of Saudi Al-Jazirah Daily: Do Not Reject The 'Deal Of The Century' In Advance; There Is Need For Concessions By Both Sides

In a May 5, 2019 article, Khaled Al-Malik, editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, likewise called on the Arabs and Palestinians not to reject the Deal of the Century even before it has been published, but rather to wait until it is officially revealed and then study it carefully. He stated that the deal cannot be worse than the continued Israeli occupation, and noted that the Palestinians had lost opportunities in the past, which involved better proposals than the one they are likely to be offered today. He called on both sides to show good will and receptiveness, and make the necessary concessions in order to achieve the goal of establishing a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel and ensure a future of stability and mutual cooperation for both sides.

Al-Malik wrote: "It is the greatest mistake to judge America's proposed plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even before it has been officially announced... [Only] after the details of the plan are revealed, will we be able to examine it, study its positive and negative aspects, and determine whether it is a good option that will yield an independent state for the Palestinians.

"We do not expect the plan to meet all the Palestinians' demands. But it will not be worse than the continued Israeli occupation... [At the same time], it is certain is that this plan, or any other plan endorsed by the U.S., will be announced only if conforms to the desires of Israel, which [presently] has the upper hand and is victorious. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are still divided on how to respond to any initiative, however flawed, that provides them with an opportunity to [realize their] right to an [independent] state. This has caused them to lose opportunities in the past that involved better [proposals] than what they are now being offered.

"Therefore, the new initiative must be met calmly, without populist slogans, [so as to] derive every possible benefit from it, and then demand, in negotiations, what cannot be implemented at the moment. Good will and readiness for peace must be shown by both sides.

"Israel needs someone to reassure it, allay its fears and assure it that it is welcome in this region, providing it is willing to cooperate and live in peace with its neighbors. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are concerned that, [even] if they recognize a [peace] initiative and agree with Israel on its details, Israel's [real] intentions and the absence of adequate relations with it [will be to their detriment].

"It is also a fact that the Arab-Israeli wars have not realized the state that the Palestinians dream about and hope for. The peace process and dialogue with the Israelis did not bring the Palestinians happiness either, nor did they give the Israelis a sense of confidence regarding their distant future. Therefore, there is need for concessions by both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides leading to the establishment of the hoped-for Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. There is need for cooperation between them that will ensure them [both] stability and allay fears of future war. These concessions are meant to meet the demands of both sides, and the implementation of whatever they agree on must be guaranteed by the superpowers. American guarantees are not enough, since the U.S. is biased in favor of Israel and the Palestinians do not trust it.

"I repeat: there is no need to judge the American initiative or plan based on what has been leaked about its details, even if it was leaked by official and high-ranking sources in the U.S. administration. We must wait for the plan to be publicized, so as to avoid sabotaging it when it is still a draft whose details are unknown." [3]

Saudi Columnist To Palestinians: Seize The Opportunity Represented By The Bahrain Workshop

In a May 21, 2019 tweet, Saudi columnist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh, who writes for the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, accused the Palestinians of losing many opportunities and urged them to make the most of the Bahrain workshop. He tweeted: "Oh Palestinians, you've lost many opportunities since 1948 and up to the [recent] annexation of Jerusalem. You succeeded only in resentment, invective, insults and blaming others for your negligent handling of your own affairs. Take advantage of the Bahrain Economic Workshop, and suffice with whatever little [you can achieve], since you don't possess even a single card to bargain with…"[4]


Emirati Businessman: Abbas Must Re-Think His Boycott Of The Bahrain Workshop; "I Long For The Day When Israel And Arab States, In Particular Gulf States, Are Able To Normalize Diplomatic And Trade Relations As Egypt And Jordan Have Done"

In a May 30, 2019 article published in Kuwaiti English-language Arab Times, titled “Peace to Prosperity”, UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor wrote that the Palestinian boycott of the Bahrain workshop is self-defeating, since there is no harm in listening to the American proposal. While the Palestinians can and should protect their ultimate goal of establishing an independent state, he said, economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians can provide the Palestinian economy with a much-needed boost and smooth the way to a political solution. He added that he yearns for the day the Arab countries can normalize relations with Israel, which will enable them to join forces against their common enemy, Iran.

Al-Habtoor wrote: "The Palestinian Authority and all Palestinian factions have rejected any participation in the upcoming US-Bahraini sponsored economic peace conference to be held in Manama on June 25 and 26 to be attended by representatives from all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries as well as other Arab states. Although individual Palestinian business leaders have shown interest, the Palestinian Liberation Organization(PLO) has termed participants 'collaborators' and written off the summit as 'financial blackmail' despite assurances from Jared Kushner that it is merely a prelude to a proposed political settlement soon to be unveiled.

"This narrow approach on the part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is short-sighted at best, self-defeating at worst. There is no harm in listening to what will be placed on the table. Ultimately it is the Palestinian prerogative to accept or reject. Palestinians have always relied heavily on aid to one extent or another. Now that it is on offer, their leaders are turning their backs instead of taking care of their people’s needs.

"Non-attendance also plays into the old Israeli canard, 'The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.' There is no arm-twisting going on from the Arab side. There is only an attempt to persuade Abu Mazen to see the big picture. Besides, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have recently reaffirmed their commitment to a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

"A boost to the Palestinian economy is badly needed. People are hurting badly. Unemployment is rising. Government employees are reduced to half-pay. A recent report from the World Bank asserts the Palestinian economy is in crisis and calls for an urgent resolution. ‘Peace to Prosperity’ could provide the answer. Government donors, as well as keen investors, are waiting in the wings. Saudi and the UAE are front-runners in pledging substantial funding. Sincere economic cooperation can be the first step towards conflict-resolution and will undoubtedly smooth further interaction between peoples. Commerce could bolster and simplify a political solution. The mutual suspicion harbored by most ordinary Israelis and Palestinians is because there is little contact between the two peoples...

"The Palestinian Authority should seriously reconsider its boycott of the conference if only for the fact that a stronger Palestinian economy translates to strengthening their political platform. Unfortunately, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are so entrenched in its hardline political and distorted theocratic ideology while remaining in bed with Iran and other undesirables that its participation is a non-starter.

"Let me get something straight. I have been a lifelong supporter of Palestinian rights. In years gone by I hosted conferences in Dubai to further that aim and my foundation offers a helping hand to Palestinian farmers and others in need. However, I am also a realist. Fantasy Land is for Disney. I see what is and what can be...

"Of course, I understand why the Palestinian leadership is upset over the US President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State and the Israeli Prime Minister’s pre-election vow to annex Jewish settlement on the West Bank. I feel the same. That said should we continue bashing our heads against a brick wall in pursuit of peace forever and a day using the same worn-out paradigms that have delivered nothing except misery while cementing hatreds for over 70 years? Palestinians and Israelis find themselves at the losing end...

"I long for the day when Israel and Arab states, in particular Gulf States, are able to normalize diplomatic and trade relations as Egypt and Jordan have done. Almost all share a common enemy. Iran and its destructive proxies are considered by Israel and by those of us living close to the Strait of Hormuz as an existential threat. However, normalization requires a satisfactory resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or at the very least for tensions to be reduced. Once achieved, we will be well placed to halt Tehran’s belligerent adventurism in its tracks.

"I trust that day will come soon. Backchannel talks between Israeli and Gulf Arab officials are happening. I do not pretend there is no opposition from some quarters, but I believe the majority of our populations will be accepting, if not initially welcoming. Those who vehemently oppose are serial objectors. They regularly pop up on social media raving and ranting in response to every solution and when asked to present alternatives they have nothing apart from insults and expletives.

“Lastly, I would reiterate my appeal to Mahmoud Abbas to have a re-think. Palestine needs you. Your people need you... I would also caution the US and Israel not to try any tricks. We will see through them when all positive overtures will cease, hurtling us straight back to square one. The Palestinians want to be dealt with fairly and with respect. Do not let them down!"[5]

Owner Of Egyptian Daily: Before Saying No We Must Find Alternatives; By Losing Opportunities We Abandon Palestine

Salah Diab, Egyptian businessman and owner of the Al-Masri Al-Yawm daily, who writes under the pen name "Newton," published an article on May 21, 2019 titled "The Deal of the Century and the Arab Nos", in which he criticized the Arabs for repeatedly rejecting initiatives aimed at solving the Palestinian problem and improving the situation of the Middle East at large. Newton explained that this Arab policy caused both Palestinians and Arabs to remain behind, plagued with wars and economic difficulties. Instead of just rejecting proposals, he said, they should propose alternatives that could actually improve their situation. Thus, rather than say no to the Trump initiative, they should seek to preserve what is still left of Palestine.

He wrote: "Coming to reassess our position on the Deal of the Century, which arouses some justified suspicion, we must first of all examine [our] knee-jerk rejection of every proposal, and everything we have lost by saying no. When did the status of the Four Asian Tigers [the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan] improve? When they stopped their internal and mutual quarrels and turned [instead] to growth, development and investment. Our region, on the other hand, suffers from endless wars – if not wars among nations then civil wars within nations.

"When the UN proposed the Israel-Palestine partition plan [in 1947], we said no. When we were invited to join the Baghdad Pact, which [also] included Britain, Turkey and Iran,[6] we said no. The funny thing is that the first [country] that opposed that coalition, except for the Arabs, was Israel itself.[7] Had we joined the Baghdad Pact, would the wars of 1956, 1967, 1973 and the War of Attrition have taken place? Would the operation of the Suez Canal have been suspended all those years? Would the Arab states have incurred such enormous military expenses all those years? When Sadat signed the peace agreement [with Israel], all the Arabs said no and even boycotted him, and the Arab League [headquarters] was moved from Egypt to Tunisia. Now we reject the Deal of the Century and rush to say no even before hearing all its details.

"Whenever we said no, we failed to propose any alternative. When we rejected the partition [of Palestine] we proposed no alternative, and the same can be said of our rejection of the Baghdad Pact and the [Egypt-Israel] peace agreement. We thought it best and safest to always operate in the dark, behind the scenes, and continue saying no. Palestine is now saying no [to the Deal of the Century] even before hearing the details of the deal.

"Lebanon and Syria suffer power outages, but the West Bank and Gaza do not, because their power is supplied by Israel. The Gaza Strip, which once used Egyptian pounds [as its currency], now uses Israeli shekels, and the same is true of the West Bank. Israel also collects the taxes on behalf of the West Bank. Many people may be unaware of these facts. So before fanatically saying no, we should hold our heads [and think]. We must find alternatives. We must study [the issues] and figure out: Should we preserve what is still left of Palestine, or abandon it [to its fate], as we did when we lost previous opportunities?" [8]

In another article, Newton wrote that Jared Kushner has kept the details of the Deal of the Century a secret, so everything that has been written about it is no more than speculation. He also assessed that several parties have probably agreed to accept the deal, since such an initiative would not be put forward only to fail and collapse. He concluded by calling on Egypt to neither accept nor reject the deal, but rather to propose alternatives and amendments for its problematic aspects, in order to make it acceptable to as many parties as possible and prevent it from causing a political war among the Arabs.[9]

Former Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Urges Palestinians To Consider The Deal Of The Century, And Arab Governments To Persuade U.S. To Renew Aid To Palestinian Authority, UNRWA

In a May 8 article posted on Ahram Online, the English-language website of Egypt's government daily Ahram, Egypt's former assistant foreign minister Hussein Haridi likewise advised against rejecting Trump's peace initiative out of hand. Referring to central aspects of the initiative recently presented by Trump's advisor Jared Kushner, Haridi urged the Palestinians to consider the deal and to focus on two issues: establishing a definite time table for reaching a permanent agreement, and obtaining an Israeli commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. He advised the Arab governments to persuade the Trump administration to resume its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA.

He wrote: "It would be advisable for purely tactical reasons not to reject the American peace proposals once they are officially submitted to the Palestinian Authority. The best course of action would be to engage the Americans in the nitty-gritty of the deal and seek assurances from Washington on two major factors. The first is the time limit for reaching a final peace deal and the second on Israeli commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. If the Palestinians decide to reject the proposed deal outright, I am afraid the Israelis would take this as a pretext to accelerate their settlement activities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank.

"The same goes for Arab governments that should work collectively to persuade the Trump administration to resume its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority as well as to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to encourage the Palestinians to reengage the Trump administration.

"I fully realize that this is a difficult and unpopular choice, to make but the alternatives are not at all promising and would prove to be a boon for the extreme right in Israel."[10]

Jordanian MP: We Must Accept The Deal Of The Century In Order To Protect Jordan

Although Jordan reportedly intends to attend the economic workshop in Bahrain, the political dimensions of the deal have evoked considerable apprehensions in the kingdom, and Jordan's official position is therefore firmly against the Deal of the Century. Referring to reported details of the deal on several occasions, King 'Abdallah admitted that he was being pressured regarding it, and clarified: "Jerusalem and the future of Palestine are a red line for Jordan... [I say] a resounding No to [relinquishing] Jerusalem, to [Jordan becoming] an alternative [Palestinian] homeland, and to naturalizing [Palestinians in Jordan]!"[11] Firm opposition to the deal, as well as calls to boycott the Bahrain workshop, are also prevalent in the Jordanian public discourse and press.  

A different opinion was expressed by Jordanian MP Fuaz Al-Zo'bi, a representative of the Al-Ramtha district in northwestern Jordan, who said at a public iftar dinner (the meal at the end of the daily Ramadan fast) that the deal would serve Jordan's interests, saying: "We [keep] saying no to the Deal of the Century and to every other deal. If you ask Jordanian villagers or elders what the Deal of the Century is, they will think it means a ram with two horns.[12] [But] the Deal of the Century [really] means protecting this homeland and supporting the Hashemite leadership. King ['Abdallah] saw what we failed to see. In 1994 we met with [the late] King Hussein in his office, and he said to us: 'If you want [to protect] your honor, the [younger] generation, your assets and your reputation, we must accept reality'... [Then-MP] Barjes Al-Hadid said to the king: 'we support you and follow you,' and we signed the peace agreement [with Israel]. Some firmly oppose this agreement to this day... But we have honored this agreement, invested in our homeland and protected our survival, and we are all one family, Muslims and Christians, Palestinians and Jordanians, and only death can separate us."[13] Al-Zo'bi's statement evoked criticism and condemnation in Jordan. [14]

Columnist For Jordanian Government Daily Al-Rai: We Should Attend The Bahrain Workshop – And "Not Sentence It Before It Has Even Started"

Amid calls to boycott the economic workshop in Bahrain, several recent articles in the Jordanian press called to participate in it, claiming that it is an opportunity for Jordan to be involved in the Deal of the Century and influence its direction, as well as an opportunity to improve its economic situation, while sticking to its position on the Palestinian issue. Tael Al-Dhamin, columnist for the Jordanian government daily Al-Rai, wrote in a May 27 column, titled "Let's Attend the Bahrain Conference," that Jordanian participation was essential because it would allow Jordan to express its position and protect its interests. He stated:

"The Bahrain workshop is very important and is closely linked to the domestic situation in Jordan and to [Jordan's] supreme national interests – whether we like or reject its outcomes... Thus, we cannot approach it negatively and passively, like a man who complains of chest pain yet fears seeing a doctor for fear of what [test] results will show. Jordan's participation in this workshop is vital – it does not necessarily mean that we agree with its outcomes and recommendations, but we must participate and make our views heard to the other conferees and defend our supreme national interests... Participating will not change Jordan's position [on the Palestinian issue] one whit, but it is essential for strengthening [this position] and for defending it in all international forums...

"The Bahrain workshop's declared aim is to achieve growth and prosperity in the occupied Palestinian territories by encouraging investment. This goal aligns with our positions supporting anything that will help the Palestinian people and anything that will lead to the actualization of some of its aspirations... We should have a position about the [workshop's] outcomes and recommendations, and we should not sentence it before it has even started."[15]

Jordanian Journalists: The Bahrain Workshop Is An Economic Opportunity For Jordan

In his May 23 column in Al-Ghad, Jordanian journalist Ibrahim Gharaibeh called the Bahrain workshop an economic opportunity for Jordan, and added that the Jordanians will support initiatives and plans presented at the conference if they are good and useful for the country. He wrote:

"The Bahrain conference is an opportunity for Jordan to develop its economy and its growth, while recognizing the challenges posed and reservations evoked by the leaks or assessments regarding the American inclinations regarding the political arrangement. In clear, simple terms, [our] strength and weakness, or opportunities and challenges, in [our] approach to the Deal of the Century, to the initiatives and policies, and to the economic and regional initiatives all depend on our ability to unite, socially and politically, and to take this viable economic opportunity, while adhering to our fundamental demands and positions on the [peace] arrangement...

"It is not too late for Jordan to plan to participate in the conference in Manama, or in the Deal of the Century, in a way that will yield benefits and opportunities for it and for its citizens without relinquishing [our] permanent principled and declared political position. These opportunities do not pop up spontaneously, and no one gives them as a gift from the heavens... The world will help us and take us seriously as long as we can submit initiatives that are practical and effective for all citizens.

"Of course, no one will help us more than we help ourselves, and naturally the [workshop's] outcomes will not match expectations. Benefits and opportunities are taken by force or through rivalry, through proving oneself, [through] ability and willingness to attract and handle investors, and also by means of promises. The citizens too will stand behind enterprises and plans, as long as they help them improve their lives..."[16] 

Jordanian journalist 'Issam Qadmani also saw Jordanian participation in the Bahrain workshop as an opportunity to improve Jordan's economic situation. He wrote in his May 26 column in Al-Rai: "Jordan is at the point of deciding whether to participate in the workshop to learn about the unknown details of the proposed arrangements [as part of the Deal of the Century] and to consolidate a position on them – or to be absent, to leave its seat empty, and to push aside its vital interests. Logic says 'yes' [to attending] because [our] first and last aim is to take advantage of every opportunity to improve [our] economic situation, albeit not at the expense of basic rights... Opinions are divided: One says 'no' to the empty-chair policy that in the past has cost the Arabs dearly; the other, the emotional response, [simply] says 'no.' Under the shadow of this dispute, people forget that Jordan has fixed positions on the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem... but should always prefer Jordan's interests...

"The Bahrain workshop will present ideas that can be debated [and then] either accepted or rejected – just as with the political part of the Deal of the Century... Jordan is entitled to seek [ways] to improve its economic situation, as are the Palestinians, and as is every other people in the region. This does not mean relinquishing rights that are anchored in international resolutions regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution for the refugee issue. This is a fixed Jordanian position."[17]

 


[2] Arabnews.com/node/1497016, May 14, 2019. Abbas was formerly editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English.

[3] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), May 5, 2019.

[4] twitter.com/alshaikhmhmd, May 21, 2019.

[5] Arab News (UAE), May 30, 2019.

[6] The Baghdad Pact, aka the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), was a Cold-War-era military alliance between Britain, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey in 1955-1979. It was intended to contain the Soviet Union by forming a line of allied pro-Western states along its southwestern frontier, while the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), comprising the U.S., Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan, created a similar line along the Soviet Union's eastern frontier.  

[7] In fact, when the alliance was formed Israel considered joining it, but was refused.

[8] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 21, 2019.

[9] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 12, 2019.

[10] http://english.ahram.org.eg,  May 8, 2019.

[12] This is a play on the name of the Deal of the Century in Arabic, safqat al-qarn. The word qarn ("century") also means "horn."

[13] Noorjonews.com, May 26, 2019.

[14] Noorjonews.com, albosala.com, May 26, 2019.

[15] Al-Rai (Jordan), May 27, 2019.

[16] Al-Ghad (Jordan), May 23, 2019.

[17] Al-Rai (Jordan), May 26, 2019.