An Interview with Joel Rubin: 'Jordan is the Keystone' in Deal of the Century

Published June 3rd, 2019 - 09:35 GMT
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Joel Rubin.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Joel Rubin.

“What we’ve seen from the Trump administration is a constant and blatant disregard to Palestinian requests; from cutting off funding for security assistance to UNRWA to shutting down the embassy to blocking Hanan Ashrawi from visiting. Then, there’s the real big stuff like the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or the Golan Heights... All of this implies an utter lack of concern for Palestinian aspirations.”


During the past week, Senior Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt have been making their rounds through various Arab countries in order to drum up support for the U.S. and Israel. With the highly-anticipated upcoming announcement of the latest Middle East peace plan, the two countries are in dire need of as much support from as many Arab states as possible.

To gain further insight on the situational progress, DC Insider spoke with former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Joel Rubin. As a prominent Jewish-American politician, Rubin stands firmly with a two-state solution and is proof that the two sides aren’t as distanced as they appear often to be.

“Kushner and Greenblatt are out there trying to maintain the status quo and to enable the Israeli right to advance its goals without interruption; to push Arab states [and others] to normalize relations with Israel without normalizing relations with the Palestinians. Israel’s challenge is to achieve this by getting their states on board with that vision without having the Palestinians on board.”

“Kushner and Greenblatt are out there trying to maintain the status quo and to enable the Israeli right to advance its goals without interruption; to push Arab states [and others] to normalize relations with Israel without normalizing relations with the Palestinians"

In the past week, Kushner and Greenblatt have visited Morocco and Jordan in hopes of gaining their allegiance on such a skewed vision.

“Of course, you want to go the friendly states as they are the low hanging fruit; they are the ones that will come on board. However, Jordan is the keystone to all of this because it would be an earth-shattering decision if the King goes along and says,’ Okay, we are going to normalize and call for the other Arab states to make peace and move the Palestinian issue aside for a later date.’ If he says, ‘No, we must have the Palestinians at the table and until then, we won't support full normalization,’ then that would also be earth-shattering decision.”
 

Jordan is the keystone to all of this

Neither Morocco nor Jordan have announced whether or not they would be joining the upcoming economic conference in Bahrain, in which the ‘deal of the century’ is set to take place, but King Abdullah of Jordan shared his two cents by stressing “the need to step up all efforts to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution,” which was agreed upon during the 1993-1994 Oslo Accords, marking “East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security, in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions.”

In regards to Israel’s current ‘status quo’ as opposed to what it should be, Rubin highlighted that “the demographics are not on the Israeli side.”

“Recently, Trump tweeted and meddled in Israeli politics by tweeting support for one candidate over others. Many Israelis took offense to this and rightly so... As an American Jew, I find it deeply distressing that the U.S. president thinks that he has the right to tell the Israelis who their prime minister should be.”

“People like me [that are in the pro-peace community] have been advocating that the best way to maintain Israel as a Jewish democratic state is to create a Palestinian state alongside it… We can do this from a very parochial pro-Israeli perspective in which there will be a legitimate separation of both sides in which both believe in the separation.”

“People like me [that are in the pro-peace community] have been advocating that the best way to maintain Israel as a Jewish democratic state is to create a Palestinian state alongside it… "

Unfortunately, Rubin’s viewpoints aren’t shared by the current U.S. government.

“I don't think that the Trump administration is coming up with a grand bargain peace plan to resolve the issues that cross Israeli redlines... This is all reminiscent of the failed peace process in Camp David in ‘2000/’01 in which they tried and failed, but at least they tried and got everybody in the room. However, one of the top criticisms of the Americans was that we were acting like Israel's lawyer and I think that that pales in comparison to what we’re currently seeing.”

This is all reminiscent of the failed peace process in Camp David

The strangest aspect to this supposed ‘deal of the century’ is the fact that Trump’s own son-in-law, Kushner, is the one that’s supposedly pulling all of the strings while he’s never had any true governmental experience.

“The problem is that he's not operating transparently; he's not operating in a manner that builds alliances and creates a web of support and so he’s not even playing the politics right. Trump picked him because he thought it was interesting, since he has a personal connection and because he's trusted. However, he isn’t the one to pick if you're really looking for a Palestinian outcome in which the Palestinians feel like they are getting treated like equals at the table.”

Will the Palestinians ever be treated like equals at the table? Will the current administration finally admit that their supposed ‘deal of the century’ has simply been a rouse? Or more importantly, when will all of these theatrics come to a finale?

Joel Rubin is former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba News.


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