In recent years, the Arab region have witnessed many dramatic changes, the most notable of which was the declaration of normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and most recently was the normalization between Bahrain and Israel. Historically speaking, the USA plays the major role in these agreements, which made it pledges to build up further relationships between other Arab countries and Israel.
Gabriel Soma, a professor of International Law and a member of the advisory body of US President Donald Trump, spoke to “Zat Masr “ about Trump’s goals and plans in the region, his vision for the Arab-Israeli conflict, and ways to bring peace to the region.
As a member of Trump’s campaign, Soma revealed the chances of the US president in the face of his Democratic rival Joe Biden, a former US vice president and a current presidential candidate, in light of Trump’s economic achievements that have changed the life of Americans, as he said. Here is the Interview:
When President Donald Trump came to power after the US elections in 2016, he promised to put forward proposals to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict. Since the establishment of Israel, the conflict was an Arab-Israeli, and the wars that took place were between Arab countries and Israel. It was the Arab armies that would fight against Israel; there was no presence of Palestinians in these wars.
Arab countries were demanding the removal of Israel and they did not recognize its existence. However, now the conflict has changed, to be a Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
When President Trump presented the so-called “peace plan” or “the deal of the century”, he hoped that the Palestinians would be satisfied with this plan which gives the Palestinians about $50 billion for the development and modernization of the Palestinian state. They need hospitals, schools, clean drinking water and electricity.
For example, if we look at the Gaza Strip, we will find electricity always going off. President Trump’s plan is to build underground bridges and tunnels, and to connect the West Bank with Gaza Strip, and to transfer water in Palestine through the “pipes” that have been set up since the British presence and which need reforms. The plan, thus, helps Palestinians to have a good state that works for the interest of the Palestinian people, but the Palestinians have so far rejected this project.
When the Palestinians rejected this project, President Trump found that there was a possibility to convince Arab countries to hold peace talks and conclude agreements with Israel, as former Egyptian President Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat did in 1979, as well as the late King Hussein of Jordan in 1994. Since that time, no one Israeli, Egyptian or Jordanian soldier was killed, and the wars between these countries ended. Thus, communications began with the Gulf States.
Today, the situation in the Middle East is quite different from previous years, especially when the State of Israel was founded 72 years ago. Today, there is a new element, namely, Iran. Iran threatens the security of the region, especially the security of the Arab Gulf, such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
If you look at the countries which Iran intervened in their affairs, you will find that these countries have become “failed states”. Lebanon that was the Switzerland of the East, today is less than a country belonging to the third world.
Let’s look at Syria, where a half million killed, more than a million wounded, six million Syrians are displaced in Arab countries and Europe, and other six million are displaced inside their country, not to speak about what is going on in Yemen and Iraq as well.
The countries which Iran intervened in their affairs were destroyed. Therefore, the Gulf States find that they need to solve the economic problems with Israel, including tourism, and to solve political and social problems. Arab countries and Israel can do good economic actions for the benefit of the peoples of this region.
I think that what the UAE and Bahrain did recently is very important on the economic, tourism, political and security levels for the Gulf.
There is a high possibility that a number of Arab countries will conclude peace treaties with Israel in the near future, on the top of which is the Sultanate of Oman which would be the third country in the peace agreements with Israel, and next to Oman is Sudan, in addition to a number of other Arab countries, which I will not mention them in the present time.
When Palestinians find the Islamic and Arab countries signing peace and reconciliation agreements with Israel, they will have to conclude a peace agreement with Israel. At the present time, there are 13 Muslim states that recognize and have relations with Israel. These include: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Albania and the UAE, Bahrain, etc.
President Trump’s plan gives the Palestinians 70% of the historical land of Palestine. However, they reject the plan, and want 100% of the land, that is, removing Israel, which is not possible.
Therefore, I believe that the agreements that are currently concluded between Arab countries and Israel will encourage the Palestinians to accept a peace treaty. The current Palestinian principle of eliminating Israel based on that “what was taken by force, can only be restored by force” is an old logic that can not be used at the present time; Israel exists and will continue to exist, and the Palestinians have to live under this world order.
I would like to point out that the public opinion polls that we see at the present time are very similar to these during Presidential elections in 2015 and 2016; nothing has changed: The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, NBC, “ABC”, and “CNN”, say what they said before in 2015 and 2016.
I do not trust these newspapers when they say that Joe Biden will win this elections; he is hiding in his house, does not deliver speeches, nor meet people. Therefore it is very difficult that he wins. President Trump will win because the American people in the end want to see a strong American economy. We see that the economic situation in the country has improved considerably after the Corona pandemic, and unemployment rates are went down in the United States due to President Trump’s wise policy.
In the first four years, we have to remember that had it were not for the Corona pandemic, the economic situation in the United States would have been very excellent. Unemployment among black Americans has reached its lowest level in the history of the country. Also unemployment among women and Spanish-speakers Americans has also reached the lowest level. This is something unprecedented in the United States. The stock market rose up to a level that has never been reached in history despite the Corona pandemic.
If you want to compare the current situation with the situation in President Barack Obama period, you will find that Obama economy was a “fragile”. Therefore, Biden never defended Obama’s economic policy when he was his deputy, because Obama’s economy was very weak, and economic growth could not excede 1.5% during Obama time.
However, economic growth under Trump was 2.5 percent, and it was going to reach 3.5 percent this year except for Corona pandemic. Thus, the president succeeded in terms of the US economy and global security as well.
First: I would like to point out that China wants to see Biden as the US president. It thinks that Trump will not win the next elections. As we know, Biden maintains strong relations with China.
When President Trump decided at the end of last January to stop flights between China and the USA due to Corona virus, the first one to object was Joe Biden, accusing President Trump of being a “xenophobic”. Biden was wrong because if Trump allowed thousands of Chinese to enter into the United States, we would have seen more than one or two million deaths in the United States as a result of the Corona pandemic.
But thank God, we have a strong president who decided to stop flights with China even though Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and the other Democratic Party leaders were against the president’s policy on this matter.
As for the Russian intervention, Russia has been and continues to intervene in the US elections, but this year there will be concentration by the FBI and US intelligence agencies, and they will curb the activity of these countries with regard to interference in US affairs.
Our relations with China are not as good as it was before. China has become a wealthy country because of its business with the United States of America. We would import from China with about 450 – 500 billion dollars in one year, and China would import just little from us.
More than 10 years before Presidency, Trump was well aware that this is very dangerous for the US economy, because every year China had net profit of nearly 350 billion dollars from the United States, and in this way China became a wealthy country and competed with the United States, not only at the economic level, but at the political and military levels.
Today, China threatens its neighboring countries, particularly at the southeastern China Sea, where it threatens Japan, Taiwan and other neighboring countries. This is because of the wealth it has gained after trading with the United States.
President Trump wants to stop this and reduce the number of companies operating in China. Now companies are leaving China; some have returned to the United States, and some others have started operating in other countries such as Vietnam.
There are expectations that the influence of China will decrease because China’s economic situation will fall as a result of stopping trade with the United States. There are taxes on Chinese products and exports to the United States, and these taxes will increase. Thus, it will be difficult for Chinese companies to export to the United States. This is why American companies, in particular, and the European ones began to leave China to other countries.
U.S. companies are working day and night to find a vaccine for this virus. President Trump stated that this vaccine may be available in the United States next November, and it may be before the election.