'The Trump administration is working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to create a rift between the Gulf states and the Palestinians, according to a wide-ranging report on Trump's Middle East policy that was published on Monday in The New Yorker.
The report says that the Trump administration's peace plan, which will likely be much closer to the Israeli government's positions than previous U.S. peace plans, could be used by Netanyahu to divide the Gulf monarchies and the Palestinians.
Netanyahu, according to the report, expects the Palestinians to reject Trump's plan, thus creating an opening for the Gulf states to support it and distance themselves from the Palestinian leadership while inching closer towards Israel, with whom they share a common view of Iran as the main threat in the region.
According to the report, the Obama administration suspected that Netanyahu secretly met with leaders from the Gulf in 2015 in Cyprus, as part of an attempt to organize a joint strategy against the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu did visit Cyprus in 2015, but the report didn't include specific details on when exactly the meeting took place, or who attended it. The prime minister's presence at the meeting was suspected by the Obama administration, but never fully proven.
The report described a tense relationship between the Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority, which has deteriorated into a total disconnect ever since Trump's decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. At some point, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, told veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat "we're a sovereign nation, don't threaten us" when Erekat warned that Trump's decision to move the American embassy to Israel would end America's role as a mediator in the region.
According to the report, shortly before Trump announced the embassy decision, he called Abbas to inform him about it, but the call never came through because of technical problems. At one point, Trump thought Abbas was on the line, and he reportedly told the Palestinian leader that he (Trump) would get the Palestinians "a better deal" than what was offered to them under Obama. Abbas, however, wasn't actually on the phone at that moment.'
Read more: Report: Netanyahu, White House Working to Drive Wedge Between Palestinians and Gulf States
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