Donald Trump's Middle East masterstroke
"Why does he keep stirring the pot?" "He should just keep his mouth shut and do his job!"
I'm sure you've heard many express these sentiments regarding Trump and his penchant for tweeting, commenting, and poking at the perpetually aggrieved left and their fellow travelers in the "Never Trump" establishment.
But while you (and the media) were distracted by the latest shiny object dangled by the president, some tectonic plate-shifting occurred in the Middle East.
Representatives of Hamas and Fatah (competing groups seeking control over the Palestinians) have met in Cairo at the invitation of Egypt's President El-Sisi to craft a governing coalition, forming a single unified Palestinian government.
While fronted by El-Sisi, the meeting was proposed and supported by Trump. Unlike his predecessor, who crowed "historic achievement!" every time he suggested everyone just get along, Trump wisely remained in the background, avoiding the inevitable resistance occasioned by direct U.S. involvement in the talks.
This promises to be an entirely Arab, entirely Muslim solution, palatable to the so-called "Arab street." It may be an agreement also acceptable to the other regional powers, who have been casting about for a non-Western counter-balance to the fanaticism of ISIS and the caliphate-builders.
How do we know this? As a show of good faith, Hamas just dropped a dime on the locations of ISIS cells along the Egyptian-Israeli border.
Against this backdrop, one of the most pernicious purveyors of anti-Israel bias in the region, UNESCO, the United Nations "cultural heritage" arm, has suffered a devastating loss in their ongoing attempt to declare millennia-old Jewish sites wholly Muslim and therefore rightly "Jew-free."
Trump has directed the United States to ditch UNESCO and has declared the U.S. withdrawal effective immediately. The withdrawal of the U.S. (as the primary funder of UNESCO) ensures that the 800-pound gorilla will shrink to a 12-pound rhesus monkey in a matter of months.
The connection between these events? Israel.
As part of a larger strategy designed to foment unrest sufficient to "justify" the imposition of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Jerusalem, UNESCO has relentlessly kept the Arab "masses" stirred up over supposed Jewish insults to Muslim holy sites. This has been a major obstacle to peace in the region.
Combine the U.N.'s manufactured chaos with the reality that neither Hamas nor Fatah could negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians (if Fatah did, Hamas would automatically oppose the deal, and vice versa), and even a great deal for both sides would be strangled in infancy.
With UNESCO out of the picture and a newly empowered single negotiating partner on behalf of the Palestinians, the stage has been set for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, brokered by El-Sisi, the enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood and champion of a politically secularized Middle East.
The fruit of this union could be an Israeli-Arab agreement crafted and enforced by both, not created and imposed by the U.S. or some amorphous "international community."
This is a game-changer that doesn't require anything other than American support, from far behind the scenes. Clearly, Israel will not accept any agreement that doesn't respect Israel's security, and the Palestinians won't accept anything that doesn't offer recognition, but the beauty here is that whatever agreement is reached will be a regional one, not dependent on American enforcement and not immediately hobbled by American involvement.
And you thought all Trump cares about is who is standing and who is not...
Joe Herring is a writer based in Omaha and volunteers time with the Global Faith Institute, of which Dr. Mark Christian is founder and executive director. Mr. Herring welcomes visitors to his website at dailyherring.com. Dr. Christian welcomes visitors to globalfaith.org.