The “Deal of the Century” and the United States in the Region (An INSS Panel Discussion)

Martin Indyk, John Allen, Barbara Leaf, Richard Haass, Joseph Votel and Amos Yadlin, INSS, January 28, 2020

With permission, read full article at INSS.

Moderator: Amb. Martin Indyk, Gen. (ret) John Allen, Amb. Barbara Leaf, Dr. Richard Haass, Gen (ret.) Joseph Votel and Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin

The panel of international experts, chaired by Dr. Martin Indyk, dealt first with the “deal of the century,” announced minutes before the speakers took their places on stage. Among the points emphasized was the skepticism that any Arab country would accept this plan, and the belief that the Palestinians can be “bought.” Furthermore, Gen. (ret.) John Allen said that the plan does not resemble any concept that the American people have of a solution to the conflict. Conversely, the plan’s conditional promise of a Palestinian state with a capital somewhere in Jerusalem may fracture Netanyahu’s right wing bloc. Overall, the panelists speculated what lies ahead, and as INSS Director Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin said, it remains to be seen whether it joins other previous plans on the shelf and effects no change; sparks dangerous initiatives, such as Israeli annexation of territory; or becomes a basis for negotiations. Looking at the region, the panelists emphasized that the US has key interests in the Middle East and will continue to pursue them, even if primary attention is focused on Asia. Dr. Richard Haass, who questioned whether the killing of Soleimani was even legal, contended that the turning point in the region was not this event, rather the United States withdrawal from the JCPOA. Gen. (ret.) Allen added that the American people were never given a proper context with which to understand this American action.