Dr… Salim Mohammed Al-Zanoun
Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi
Since his arrival at the White House, President Trump has dealt with the logic of economic power as a key to solving all outstanding issues in the international arena, according to this perspective, the trade war with China, the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia, and the tariff increase with Turkey, Mexico and EU countries.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict was not isolated from this vision, as the American administration believes that the conflict can be resolved through the use of economic instruments. In March 2018, the Washington Conference for the Economic Support of the Gaza Strip was held, and on 25-26 June 2019, an International economic workshop was held in Manama entitled “Peace for Prosperity”, during which it reviewed its economic vision of three main aspects: maximizing Palestinian economic potential; creating one million jobs; reducing Palestinian poverty levels by 50%; and in this context , the Manama conference is working to raise $ 50 billion to invest over 10 years in infrastructure and economy , job creation , and regional trade otherwise Hunted, creating job opportunities, regional trade, the improvement of the economy aimed to push the Palestinians to put pressure on their leadership to show greater flexibility in political issues, to pave the way for a political agreement .
Until now, the political aspect of the plan has been missed. The US administration announced its postponement to a later stage. This seems to be related to the stability of the political system in Israel, which is linked to elections in the next September. At this stage, the American elections are approaching, and the political aspect is likely to be postponed after the US elections in 2020.
The historical experiences of ending major conflicts indicate the priority of the political file over economic issues where the economic dimension is secondary compared to the national and political issues. Agreements and economic development are the culmination of the political agreement and at a later stage, the Belfast Agreement of 1988 was a political agreement between Britain and Ireland, put an end to the conflict, and achieved peaceful coexistence between the communities of Northern Ireland and Irish Republics, and at a later stage, economic and commercial work was strengthened.
The US economic power played a role in the achievement of political agreements, where Washington provided guarantees and economic support for the success of political agreements. However, it was not the first incentive for countries to sign agreements. The first incentive was to achieve national and political issues, then, economic projects between the two conflicting parties come in a stage after the political agreement.
In the Camp David model between Egypt and Israel, it was not the economic issue that led to a solution to the conflict, but the complete Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory, in the same context, the Wadi Araba agreement between Jordan and Israel. The agreement on political issues such as the disputed border was a basic axes then the US administration strengthened the two agreements by providing economic support to Egypt and Jordan, and at a later stage, several economic agreements were signed between the parties that signed the the political agreement.
The Oslo agreement between the PLO and Israel dealt mainly with political issues such as the Israeli withdrawal, self-rule, American economic guarantees and aid, followed by the signing of the Paris Economic Agreement, and when the political process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides was disrupted, the economic agreement was unable to prevent the outbreak of violence.
According to the historical experience of ending conflicts , if the work was in a purely economic framework , political agreements wouldn’t signed such as Belfast , Camp David Oslo and Wadi Araba , the economic dimension plays an important role in the solution, but it is not the solution , and economic considerations are incentive for the continuation of the negotiations, but in the priorities , they come after political interests and national issues.
In view of this, the American administration’s attempt to reverse the priorities in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by putting the economic considerations before the political ones are not practical and will not lead to an end to the conflict, which requires a creative political vision that achieves the political interests of the Israeli and Palestinian parties.
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies