Mark Habeeb

Instead of Brokering Peace, Jared Kushner Keeps Guzzling Jet Fuel on His Way to the Middle East

Jared Kushner has made another quick tour of the Middle East with the goal of launching renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law was joined by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations; and the US Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Habib Powell, who was born in Cairo to Coptic Egyptian parents and speaks fluent Arabic. She also served in the White House and the State Department under former President George W. Bush.

Kushner met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — their meeting was described as “productive” by a Palestinian spokesman — and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu — their meeting was described as “effective” by an Israeli spokesman.

While they were in the neighbourhood, Kushner and his team also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the same day that news broke of an impending US aid cut to Egypt, as well as with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with Israeli-Palestinian peace at the top of every agenda.

Amid the flurry of activity, I have one pointed question for America’s most powerful son-in-law: Who do you think you are fooling? The odds of an Israeli- Palestinian peace breakthrough are as close to zero as odds can get.

Consider the situations of the main decision-makers: Abbas is unpopular, politically isolated, at odds with Hamas and, at age 82, ailing. The jockeying for who will replace him is well under way. Netanyahu is the latest in a long line of Israeli politicians to face possible indictment over corruption. Neither leader is in any position to make a bold or courageous move towards peace. In fact, to salvage his political hide, Netanyahu has embraced Israel’s extremist right-wing fringe.

Trump is facing historically low popularity ratings — fewer than four out of ten Americans say they approve of his job as president — and a criminal investigation of his own related to accusations that his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 US elections.

Add to these problems the fact that Trump does not have the focus or depth of knowledge necessary to bargain with such wily survivors as Netanyahu and Abbas. It is almost laughable to imagine Trump in the role of Jimmy Carter at Camp David, shuttling in a golf cart between the cottages of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat to hammer out the details of peace. (It is, however, easy to imagine Trump in a golf cart.)

Keep reading... Show less
BRAND NEW STORIES

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.