Jared Kushner senior adviser to the President says the White House's Middle East plan is 'a great deal' and if Palestinians reject it 'they're going to screw up another opportunity
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Maybe something good will come out of the Trump plan, after all. By pushing the Middle East peace process to its logical conclusion, Donald Trump has made crystal clear something that was supposed to have been obscured: that no US administration has ever really seen peace as the objective of its "peacemaking".
The current White House is no exception it has just been far more incompetent at concealing its joint strategy with the Israelis. But that is what happens when a glorified used-car salesman, Donald Trump, and his sidekick son-in-law, the schoolboy-cum-businessman Jared Kushner, try selling us the "deal of the century". Neither, it seems, has the political or diplomatic guile normally associated with those who rise to high office in Washington.
During an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria this week, Kushner dismally failed to cloak the fact that his "peace" plan was designed with one goal only: to screw the Palestinians over.
The real aim is so transparent that even Zakaria couldn't stop himself from pointing it out. In CNN's words, he noted that "no Arab country currently satisfies the requirements Palestinians are being expected to meet in the next four years including ensuring freedom of press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, and an independent judiciary."
Trump's senior adviser suddenly found himself confronted with the kind of deadly, unassailable logic usually overlooked in CNN coverage. Zakaria observed:
"Isn't this just a way of telling the Palestinians you're never actually going to get a state because " if no Arab countries today [are] in a position that you are demanding of the Palestinians before they can be made a state, effectively, it's a killer amendment?"
Indeed it is.
In fact, the "Peace to Prosperity" document unveiled last week by the White House is no more than a list of impossible preconditions the Palestinians must meet to be allowed to sit down with the Israelis at the negotiating table. If they don't do so within four years, and quickly reach a deal, the very last slivers of their historic homeland the parts not already seized by Israel can be grabbed too, with US blessing.
Admittedly, all Middle East peace plans in living memory have foisted these kinds of prejudicial conditions on the Palestinians. But this time many of the preconditions are so patently preposterous contradictory even that the usually pliable corporate press corps are embarrassed to be seen ignoring the glaring inconsistencies.
The CNN exchange was so revealing in part because Kushner was triggered by Zakaria's observation that the Palestinians had to become a model democracy a kind of idealised Switzerland, while still under belligerent Israeli occupation before they could be considered responsible enough for statehood.
How was that plausible, Zakaria hinted, when Saudi Arabia, despite its appalling human rights abuses, nonetheless remains a close strategic US ally, and Saudi leaders continue to be intimates of the Trump business empire? No one in Washington is seriously contemplating removing US recognition of Saudi Arabia because it is a head-chopping, women-hating, journalist-killing religious fundamentalist state.
But Zakaria could have made an even more telling point was he not answerable to CNN executives. There are also hardly any western states that would pass the democratic, human rights-respecting threshold set by the Trump plan for the Palestinians. Nor, of course, would Israel.
Think of Britain's flouting last year of a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the Chagos Islanders must be allowed to return home decades after the UK expelled them so the US could build a military base on their land. Or the Windrush scandal, when it was revealed that a UK government "hostile environment" policy was used to illegally deport British citizens to the Caribbean because of the colour of their skin.
Or what about the US evading due process by holding prisoners offshore at Guantanamo? Or its use of torture against Iraqi prisoners, or its reliance on extraordinary rendition, or its extrajudicial assassinations using drones overseas, including against its own citizens?
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