The Economist: Will peace come after hell in the Middle East?

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The British Economist magazine says the Middle East is currently facing a horrific period, but after death and hell, peace may come, adding that there is a slight but growing possibility of turning disaster into opportunity, as President Joe Biden The administration is working. This is difficult to achieve.

The magazine reported in a lengthy report that prominent American figures are these days shuttling between Washington and European and Middle Eastern capitals with one direct goal, which is to ensure a long humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza that could last a month or two. and allowing the exchange of hostages, and the second, more ambitious goal, which is to transfer… This would lead to a permanent ceasefire and secure a regional peace agreement.

According to the report, the regional agreement package would include Israel's acceptance of Palestinian statehood, Saudi recognition of Israel, Palestinian reforms and US measures to “sweeten” the deal.

Before Ramzan and before presidential elections

The report said Washington wants to implement the first target before the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan on March 10th next, and the second target before the US presidential election next November.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned of “incredibly turbulent times” in the Middle East, saying: “We have not seen such a dangerous situation across the region as we are facing now since at least 1973.”

Reports indicate that senior US officials frequently visit the region. Biden's Middle East adviser Brett McGurk was in the region last week, and CIA Director William Burns was in Paris on January 28 to consult with Israel, Egypt and Qatar and coordinate on the hostage deal. Blinken is expected to return to the Middle East again in the coming days, and the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, is working to communicate with Saudi and other leaders.

nested boxes and keys

In its report, The Economist invited readers to think of the problem as a set of overlapping sections: The key to ending the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is a “two-state solution”, with a Palestinian state alongside Israel. ; The key to the two-state solution is the Saudi normalization agreement. The key to Saudi normalization is ending the war in Gaza. The hostage agreement is the key to ending the war in Gaza.

He said the Biden administration is now speaking more clearly about the need for a “credible, irreversible and timely” Israeli commitment to Palestinian statehood. It also wants prompt advance payments, and perhaps the withdrawal of some West Bank lands or an actual end to settlements.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Britain would consider recognizing a temporary Palestinian state before reaching a final agreement, and Blinken is said to be considering such an option.

Create a contact group

The Economist said the US is considering setting up a “contact group” to press for reform in the Palestinian Authority, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and perhaps Turkey and Qatar.

Arab officials say Jordan could oversee security sector training, while Gulf countries could help with administrative reforms. The hope in Gaza is that eventually enough former Gaza policemen – currently on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority – can be retrained to take over, but the process will take several months.

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