The former Trump adviser said the strategy was to bypass the Palestinians, isolate Iran and build political capital with the Gulf states.
The Trump administration decided to bypass the Palestinians to forge normalization agreements last year between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a former Trump official said.
Robert O’Brien, national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, said the Trump administration first sought to build “political capital” with Israel by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“We could not allow the Palestinians to stand up as an obstacle to a broader peace in the Middle East,” said O’Brien, describing for the first time since leaving the strategy behind Trump’s diplomatic moves.
“So we went to our friends, partners and allies and we built political capital. And one way we’ve built political capital in Israel has been to move the embassy to Jerusalem, one way to do that has been to recognize the Golan Heights, as Israeli territory, ”O’Brien said.
Former President Trump forged standardization agreements referred to as the “Abraham’s Agreements” between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September 2020. Additional agreements were made to include Morocco in December and Sudan in January.
Trump announced in 2017 that the United States move your embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This move was celebrated in Israel but widely condemned elsewhere as detrimental to internationally supported Palestinian interests.
Trump unilaterally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019, violating international law. Israel seized Syrian territory during the Six Day War of 1967.
“These were facts that were never going to change on the pitch. Jerusalem was never going to change being the capital of Israel. Israel was never going to surrender the Golan Heights to Assad or any other regime in Syria, ”O’Brien said.
“We did the same. We built political capital with Bahrain, with Morocco with the United Arab Emirates by letting them know that we would be on their side, by getting out of the” Iran nuclear deal “which was a threat. serious for the region, ”O’Brien said.
The 2015 United Nations-backed Iran deal “provided the Iranian regime with so much money, so much funds, to export its revolutionary ideology,” O’Brien said.
Asset unilaterally withdrew In 2018, the Iranian nuclear deal that was negotiated by his predecessor President Barack Obama. Now President Biden is preparing to open negotiations with Iran to revive the deal.
“We then took that capital and used it to bring the parties together and see if we could get them to some kind of agreement, which we did,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien’s remarks came during a panel discussion hosted by the American Institute for Peace in Washington which included President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Other Arab states are likely to join the Abrahamic Accords as they see economic benefits and the new relationship should allow the United States to reduce some of its military forces in the region, O’Brien said.
Among the benefits, O’Brien said the deals should allow Israeli entrepreneurs to raise capital from Arab sovereign wealth funds.
“It to some extent excludes China from the Israeli tech sector, which I have looked at very carefully,” O’Brien said.
Biden’s adviser Sullivan said the new administration intended to build on the Abraham Accords. The new president “is thinking about how we make sure that the seeds that have been planted actually grow in the kind of full cooperation” that has been promised, he said.
Separately, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the US Senate on January 19 that the Biden administration would take a close look at the incentives Trump had offered the UAE and Bahrain to close the deals.
O’Brien said he still hoped for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians and suggested other Arab states like Saudi Arabia would join in the future.
“We haven’t been able to catch the Palestinians. I wish we had been. But there are a number of carrots and sticks that will get them to the table, ”O’Brien said, adding that he believes European nations will help when they“ see the success ”of the Abrahamic Accords.