The Christian Science Monitor

Mideast peace plan’s rocky start: Did US misread Arab politics?

The first phase of the long-awaited U.S. plan for Middle East peace, a summit in Bahrain to discuss economic investment in the Palestinians, is already beginning to look like a major miscalculation.

The announcement this week of the June 25-26 event was met with a wave of derision among Palestinians and in the Arab press, culminating Wednesday in the Palestinian Authority’s official rejection of the U.S. invitation to attend.

The central complaint: that the economic component of peace could not be addressed without agreeing first on fundamental political principles.

Or put another way: Palestinian independence is nonnegotiable, and the Trump administration’s actions to date, both favoring Israel and hostile to Palestinians, have undermined any lingering faith that a U.S.-led process can lead to an acceptable agreement.

But, say analysts, the U.S. miscalculation in launching the economic phase of its peace plan first goes beyond the alienation of the Palestinians and the precipitation of their boycott. At its core, they say,

Cart before the horse?Limits of pressureSetting the toneAlienated Allies

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