Ambassador Ayalon Explains Trump’s Deal of the Century
Michelle Makori: As we said, both Netanyahu and Gantz seem to be happy with this. The Palestinians have rejected it without even hearing what is in the plan. So what does that tell you about the likelihood of this deal of the century actually succeeding?
Danny Ayalon: Well, Michelle, first of all, it tells you that the Palestinians have not changed a bit. You know, for over 100 years, there were so many plans presented which would have been beneficial very much to them. But successive Palestinian leadership just betrayed, the trust and the very interests of their own people. They have always had this idea of a zero-sum game, all or nothing until now. They think of all or nothing. And by all, it means that they want the entire land without a Jewish state. They still continue with this policy. So it will be no surprise to me if they rejected outright. But the difference now, Michelle, is first of all, that there is a wide Israeli consensus. In the past, the Palestinians always and Arafat was a genius in that, unfortunately, to drive the wedge between Israeli left and Israeli right. Now It will be very, very hard for them to do. And also, because of Trump's leadership, the Arab countries, which have been privy to the plan, will be hopefully supportive or at least not rejecting the plan, which was not the case in the former plans.
Michelle Makori: Well, let's talk about the former plan with Arafat, because, of course, you're referring to the famous Camp David summit of 2000, when Ehud Barak practically offered Arafat for 90 percent or more of what he was asking for. He rejected that and launched the second intifada, a wave of terrorist attacks and violent riots. Is Israel concerned that this is what could be expected now that the Palestinians launch a full-on intifada, more terrorist attacks? They are calling for days of rage tomorrow and on Friday. Do you expect an uptick in violence?
Danny Ayalon: Well, we're very much concerned because it's not going to be the first time. We see here a pattern that every time after they reject a plan, they are pushing with violence, hoping to bring Israel to its knees with accepting some kind of plan that, of course, will be a death sentence for our country. We don't have to expect. Abu Mazen Abbas said it in his own words. He calls his people for what he says, popular violence or rage days, which is a euphemism for terror or a third intifada.
Michelle Makori: Ambassador, you mention the other Arab nations, and that could be the key to all of this because the Trump administration has been working on an outside-in approach. Jared Kushner has been touring the region, prepping the Saudis, talking to the Egyptians, trying to get their support. So what do you expect to hear from the Arab leaders when this is announced tomorrow?
Danny Ayalon: Well, hopefully, they probably the most they will do is remain mute. Why? Because they are very much intimidated. The Palestinians have been very, very effective in intimidating them by calling on the people in the public opinion against the regimes of these countries, whether it's Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Jordan, and other Sunni countries. However, their national interests are to support the plan. They would like to remove the Palestinian problem out of the equation because it's an existential problem for them because the Palestinians are undermining their own regimes as they did with supporting Saddam Hussein against Kuwait and all the Gulf countries. Also, because of the new situation with Iran, which is also an existential threat to all the Sunni countries. They understand that Israel is the main ally in supporting them and deflecting the Iranian threat. They know Israel is not the problem anymore. It's the solution.
Michelle Makori: Ambassador, so with these Arab countries potentially seeing nothing that in itself would speak volumes if they don't come out and condemn this. Now, you mentioned this common threat of Iran. Could one of the effects of this plan actually be pushing Israel and some of its Arab nations closer together?
Danny Ayalon: That could easily be the case. We will have a very interesting call tomorrow when the Arab ambassadors in Washington were invited to the conference announcing the plan. And if they all show up, I think this would be a very good sign. Of course, the Palestinians told them not to show up.
Michelle Makori: We will see what develops tomorrow. Thank you so much for that analysis and perspective, Ambassador Danny.