Sputnik discussed Donald Trump's statement with Oded Eran, a senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a former Israeli ambassador to the European Union and Jordan who once led Israel's team for negotiating with the Palestinians.
Sputnik: What is the reaction in Israel regarding Donald Trump's statements on the Golan Heights and how could it affect the situation in the region?
Oded Eran: Well, many people are, of course, very happy about this recognition. Although it is not a formal recognition, it is a statement by the US President and by and large, it is welcomed in Israel.
Yet many people are saying that this is in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's request that many leaders, especially the US President, help him in the coming elections, which we are going to have in two weeks' time. And this is seen, by some at least, as an intervention in the Israeli political process.
Sputnik: What is your feeling with regard to how Mike Pompeo's statement about an alleged "deal of the century" between Israel and Palestine will affect Benjamin Netanyahu's ratings weeks before Israeli elections? Now we know that Benjamin Netanyahu in terms of his personal standing and his current situation in Israel, has had a rather rocky last sort of twelve months with bad press in the mainstream media and also with the fallout with the Defence Minister as well, and that he has been holding both posts. Do you think this is going to affect his ratings?
Oded Eran: To some extent, yes; because obviously, people are looking at his record beyond the personal legal problems that he faces. And they are looking at the record and certainly the record on foreign affairs [which] is quite positive and even I would say impressive in terms of relations with the US, relations with President of Russia, and President of Egypt, etc.
The Palestinians for more than a year have stopped any formal contact with the US administration; the US administration certainly angered the Palestinian leadership by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and by cutting the US participation in the UN agency, which helps the (Palestinian) refugees. So, there is no contact with the Palestinians and I doubt that they will say anything positive on the deal when the "deal of the century" comes out [and is made] public.
Sputnik: In many ways, you have answered my next question, which is what is known about the plan and obviously, it is very, very scarce in terms of the information. So, how likely is Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to this so-called "peace plan"? And will the other parties involved in the plan agree to it? And how well can this plan be implemented by all sides [that] agreed? It is a tough one, isn't it?
Oded Eran: It is a tough one. And I think the US administration is certainly investing a lot of effort in certain Arab capitals, which are known to be allies of the US, trying to get their support to whatever will come out from what we know as "the deal of the century".
And then if there is some consent on the Palestinian issue from the Palestinian side, we will be willing to enter into negotiations based among other things on the ‘deal of the century". But as I said before, I doubt very much that the Palestinians will say anything positive on the plan.
Even though some Arab countries may put pressure on them and ask them to be more positive about this deal, I doubt that the Palestinians can say anything positive. To the best I know about this plan, what comes out is met with rejection by the Palestinians. And so I think that we can say that it may be "dead on arrival".
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