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December 16, 2016

Our Notes from the Israeli Regional Initiative Conference Call

Israeli Regional Initiative (Yozmim) Co-founder, Koby Huberman, hosted a conference call on December 15, 2016 to explore how times are changing with the Trump administration and with the Israel political scene. YRF joined the call, open to the public, to learn more about how the Yozmim would continue to promote their regional package deal. For those of you who could not join the call, we have provided our notes below for your reference:

The Israeli Regional Initiative (Yozmim) aims to reach the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict culminating Two State solution, whereby improved security and economic growth play an integral role.

The organization aims to do so by leveraging a regional concept begun with the Saudi-Arab Initiative to develop an Israeli-Regional-Palestinian negotiation process that will be gradually implemented.

With the new Trump administration in the U.S., the Israeli Regional Initiative has flagged the following three risks and challenges

  • Changes in the Israeli region
  • A new US administration
  • Political changes in Israel

However, with these challenges and risks come opportunities, such as:

  • A new administration provides a clean slate and opportunities for paradigm shifts
  • Since there is no clear Middle East policy defined yet by the Trump administration, there is an opportunity for the Israeli Regional Initiative to introduce one and to persuade leaders to implement the regional approach
  • In addition to the Left, many right-of-center politicians in Israel have adapted the Israeli Regional Initiative paradigm.   An estimated 75% of the population as well as the Knesset agree with the IRI path
  • The list of those subscribing to the regional approach continues to grow
  • The Putin relationship may help

The bottom line is that it is too soon to tell what policy the Trump administration will push for. As such, we must use this time for new opportunities and start to prepare ideas and policies.

Some of the game changers in the Middle East are as follows:

  • There is a lack of clarify from the Palestinians
  • There have been set backs with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which can stall the positives
  • Syrian war
  • Increased Russian involvement
  • On the positive side, there is an ever-increasing flow of cooperation and daily interactions with Jordan and Egypt, as well as a renewed Israel and Turkey relationship after six years of disconnect. We must continue to carefully maneuver and push our initiatives to leaders.

The chaos in the Middle East is here to stay but this generates shared interests and creates opportunities for regional alliances.

The Trump election further highlights confusion in Israel.

What the Israeli Regional Initiative promotes is a regional package deal, which includes two states for two people, regional economic development and regional security. This is their main agenda for 2017 to promote the regional package deal.

The Israeli Regional Initiative will continue to make great strides on the diplomatic side and continue to gain supporters and approach leaders, media and businessmen with their regional package deal. The goal is to bring Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs together and they will target Trump and the new American way of thinking to bring people on-board to support this.

The 2017 budget is $500,000 for the Israeli Regional Initiative.

In summary, times are changing with the Trump administration and with the Israel political scene and we must continue our mature, validated and fully baked concepts to gain interaction with the Arab world and implement the regional package deal.

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