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.
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 several weeks and released a list of attendees the morning of the summit, which also included officials from Egypt, Jordan, Canada and various governments of Europe.
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.”
The mainstream media that covered the conference – meaning, as far as I can tell, only Reuters – didn’t make this seem historic at all. An almost unprecedented meeting between Israel and so many Arab states was downplayed, and the absence of the Palestinians was highlighted:
Imagine the fawning coverage if Obama would have put together such a conference. Imagine how this would be a top story that shows Obama’s diplomatic genius at getting all sides in a room to talk.
But this story is downplayed, and the absence of Palestinians is being highlighted as a subtle insult to the Trump administration for alienating them.
A related point is that the Obama administration wouldn’t even dream of having such a summit without the Palestinians – the same Palestinian leadership that is directly responsible for much of the misery in Gaza.
Trump managed to get Israel into a room with five nations it is at war with, along with Egypt and Jordan, to help Arabs. He accomplished more yesterday towards true Middle East peace than Barack Obama did in eight years.
And that is exactly why the media will studiously ignore it.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.