“There is no plan. Kushner and Greenblatt are trying to dictate the solution by making Jerusalem the capital of Israel, legitimizing the settlements and changing the conflict from a political one to a humanitarian one.”
— chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
The Trump administration is close to releasing a long-awaited Middle East peace proposal that officials said would present US goals for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, despite the Palestinian position that President Trump cannot be an honest broker.
The proposal is likely to be released within weeks, with the aim of beginning negotiations between the parties, perhaps as early as this summer, diplomats and other officials said. It has been delayed by a months-long Palestinian boycott in protest of Trump’s policy that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may reject the framework out of hand. . . .
Last week, the US was alone in voting down the Kuwait-drafted UN Security Council resolution on protecting Palestinians from Israeli live fire. Ten countries, including Russia and France, voted in favor of the resolution.
Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, met Kuwait’s ambassador to Washington and expressed his frustration with the Gulf nation’s position on Palestine at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), according to Kuwait-based daily Al Rai.
Citing an unnamed US diplomatic source, the newspaper said on Wednesday that Kushner conveyed the Trump administration’s “annoyance” over a recently drafted Kuwaiti resolution that called for the protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Kuwait drafted the resolution after dozens of Palestinian demonstrators were killed by Israeli forces last month in Gaza.
Trump, who formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the embassy relocation on December 6, had mulled attending the inauguration, but reportedly decided against it.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is to lead a delegation of 250 people from the United States, including some 40 politicians, to the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem next month, Channel 10 news reported Sunday.
Mnuchin will be accompanied by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as 40 senators and representatives, the report said.
The Times of Israel first reported last week that Kushner and Ivanka Trump were likely to attend.
The Israelis, through US President Trump, are sticking a Jewish finger consisting of Friedman, Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kusher into the Palestinians’ faces, in front of the whole world.
“Is that anti-Semitism or political discourse?” asked U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman with feigned innocence, in response to what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said about him, as if he were a helpless pogrom victim at the beginning of the last century in Eastern Europe rather than an ambassador of the world’s strongest superpower, which encourages Israel to ride roughshod over the Palestinians.
Kushner’s trip has only highlighted the sizable obstacles he faces. Here are five of the biggest:
The rest of the Middle East
White House adviser Jared Kushner headed back to Israel and the West Bank this week in a renewed push to broker Middle East peace, just one of several responsibilities the administration has handed to President Trump’s 36-year-old son-in-law.
Despite Kushner’s unusually varied workload — he’s also tasked with reforming veterans’ care, solving the opioid crisis, something to do with “American innovation,” and more — this is his second trip to the region in the space of just three months. That may be a sign of how keenly the new administration is chasing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which Trump has described as the “ultimate deal.”
A few months ago, there was actually some cautious optimism among Middle East watchers that Trump might be able to make some progress. Sure, he and Kushner don’t have any diplomatic or political experience, but so what? Trump was a self-described dealmaker who didn’t have much of the political baggage of his predecessors. The experts hadn’t done so well finding a solution, so why not give them a try?
“I imagine this will be the end of State Department statements for 50 years calling settlements illegal to illegitimate, unhelpful or obstacles to peace. American foreign policy is about to be dramatically shifted. . . . It’s not about one check from Jared Kushner, but a broad threat to 50 years of bipartisan support for the proposition that settlements are an obstacle to peace. Now, that could be declared dead. I’m very alarmed.” — Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street
Jared Kushner, who may become a Middle East peace envoy in his father-in-law’s administration, is a director of a family foundation that has made charitable donations to West Bank settlements.
The gifts totaled $58,500 between 2011 and 2013, a small portion of the almost $8.5 million the Seryl and Charles Kushner Family Foundation gave away in that period, according to IRS records first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and reviewed independently by The Washington Post. Kushner and his three siblings are directors, along with their parents, of the foundation.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he may make his son-in-law, who is married to Ivanka Trump, a broker for talks between Israelis and Palestinians, saying Kushner would be “very good” at working with both sides.