Israeli national security officials sat around the same table on Tuesday morning with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, discussing a dire humanitarian situation unfolding in the Gaza Strip.
“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: The closer we get to May 14th, 2018, things related to Israel and the Middle East continue to heat up. Today, for the first time ever, Jared Kushner successfully brought high level Israelis and Arabs to the negotiating table to discuss the Gaza Strip and by association peace in the Middle East. President Trump is opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Independence Day in Israel, could it be possible it will be accompanied by a blockbuster announcement related to Middle East peace? Keep your eye on that bouncing ball with the number 70 stamped on it. And while you’re at it, keep your eye on Jared Kushner, too. He is what the Bible might call a “person of interest”.
The summit on Gaza, called by Jared Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East peace, as well as Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, marks an unprecedented moment for Israeli diplomacy, as their dialogue with officials from Arab states is publicly recognized for the first time.
The Trump administration planned the meeting over the course of several weeks and released a list of attendees the morning of the summit, which also included officials from Egypt, Jordan, Canada and various European countries. Palestinian Authority officials did not attend the meeting.
“We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today,” Greenblatt said in opening remarks to the conference. “This is not about politics. This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians.”
“As you know, we are here today to consider ideas on how to address the humanitarian challenges in Gaza – a topic that has long been at the forefront of all of our minds,” Greenblatt continued. “It has certainly been on mine.”
Greenblatt and Kushner are putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of which the resolution of the Gaza crisis is an integral part.
The US envoy emphasized the need for health aid, electricity, clean water, food security and employment in the coastal strip.
“We all know that none of this will be easy,” Greenblatt said. “And, everything we do must be done in a way that ensures we do not put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk– and that we do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears responsibility for Gaza’s suffering.”
Greenblatt asked the group to “agree to leave politics at the door.” Consecutive US and Israeli governments have criticized Qatar for generously supportive Hamas in Gaza for years.
“There are no excuses for inaction,” he continued. “Inaction not only leads to more suffering for the Palestinians in Gaza, but also creates more security challenges for Israelis and Egyptians, and pushes the prospects for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians further and further away.”
The meeting took place amid reporting from Israel’s Channel 10 that Egypt has been hosting a series of quiet meetings between Israeli and Saudi officials. The report has not been independently confirmed. source