Is Jared Kushner the messiah we’ve been waiting for?

A close-up of a man's face

“He’s a very naughty boy.”

Hayne Palmour IV TNS

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been busy.

In his other role as Middle East peace envoy he has been working now for two years – TWO whole years – on the US administration’s peace plan for Palestinians and Israelis, AKA The Ultimate Deal™.

That plan will be, he promised recently, “a realistic and … fair solution.”

This solution is based on four principles, he said: freedom, respect, opportunity and security.

(Not justice, not rights, mind.)

And rather than focus on “the issues” – though confusingly, he and his team of crack diplomats also focused on those “extensively” – the administration team has been focused on “what’s holding back the Palestinian people from achieving their full potential and what’s holding back the Israeli people from being able to properly integrate with the whole region.”

It’s good to get a fresh perspective, isn’t it?

Let’s not be unkind, it was not as if Kushner didn’t have prior experience. He prepared for his current role by leading a foundation that raised money for illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. And while intensely working on the Ultimate Deal™, he learned a thing or two.

For instance, he learned that “all the conflict does is keep people from having the opportunity to do commerce and to have opportunity and improve their lives.”

You simply can’t make this stuff up.

Excitement builds

With such a build up, excitement is mounting, especially among those most affected.

Could this be it? Is Kushner the Messiah the Palestinians and Israelis have been waiting for?

Israel’s prime minister seemed excited.

“I know that the Trump administration seeks to ensure Israel’s security for generations to come,” Benjamin Netanyah said back in February about the mooted plan.

Netanyahu has since all but secured another term after an election campaign in which he promised to annex more settlements and during which he secured recognition from Trump – completely unrelated, of course, to Netanyahu’s bid for reelection – of Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights.

The Palestinians also seem excited, though, perhaps, not for the same reasons.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, accused the Trump administration of supporting “Israel’s violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine.”

And, in a promising sign that Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza can at least agree on something, that sentiment was echoed by Hamas leaders in Gaza.

The Trump administration is “blindly biased toward the [Israeli] occupation and systematically acting against the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,” said Ghazi Hamad, a former Hamas deputy foreign minister.

Interestingly, it’s not just among Palestinians that expectations are at rock bottom.

Don’t publish the plan, urged Robert Satloff, head of the Washington Institute for Whatever is Good for Israel is Good Enough For Us (better known as WIWGIFEFUS).

Any overt annexation of West Bank settlements and land, Satloff argued, which Kushner’s plan could trigger, could disturb a status quo “in which Israel maintains security control over the entire West Bank and channels support to many existing Israeli settlements.”

Satloff’s argument for continued but fig-leafed military occupation proves that whatever you think of Donald Trump’s peacemaking, at least he is not saddled with the hypocrisy of Washington think-tankers. It also shows that even in the hallowed halls of Israel’s Washington cheerleader clubs, Kushner’s plan is viewed with trepidation bordering on hysteria.

Pining for the fjords

Part of the reason for that, of course, is that a plan that offers Netanyahu everything he could possibly want, might just force him to finally and publicly declare what he wants.

We know what he wants. Everyone knows what he wants. The guy who hands out flyers for a local cleaning service knows what Netanyahu wants.

Netanyahu and the vast majority of Israelis – as evidenced by the fact that peace was not a campaign platform for any major party in Israel’s general election – want the land, all the land. But not the people. No, none of the people.

But you can’t say that in polite company. You have to, as Satloff knows, engage in decades-long, centuries-long, if need be, slow bleed of ethnic cleansing, masquerading as military occupation, masquerading as sham peace process to get to that stage.

You can’t simply come barging in with a plan that – reportedly – tells Palestinians they can’t have a state, they can’t have sovereignty, they can’t claim their right of return because they don’t have the same rights as other people, they can’t have equal rights with Israeli Jews because, well, see above point.

But, hey, here’s some money (that we will get from Arab countries) so you can fulfill your “full potential.”

It won’t fly.

For pity’s sake, even the Europeans have rejected it before seeing it.

The plan is dead in the water. Never before can a major foreign policy initiative have been so roundly dismissed ahead of publication.

Before it is even a deal, it is an ex-deal.

Which only leads us here at The Electronic Intifada’s Europe headquarters to think:

What’s-the-plan-show-us-the-plan-go-on-we-need-a-good-giggle-Lord-knows-the-news-is-bad-enough-as-it-is!

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Comments

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Kevin, I cringe whenever I see people framing the Israeli/Palestinian situation in terms of Jews versus Arabs or Muslims. Please do not confuse "Jews" with "Israelis" or "Zionists." Many people in our world see it like this and that is a big part of the problem. This is not a religious, ethnic or tribal dispute. This is about a clash of global ideologies: European/Western colonialist/corporatist/oligarchic dreams of world dominance versus indigenous sovereignty rights to self-determination. Jewish support for the Zionist state of Israel was born in the wake of the holocaust with a perceived need to preserve a people threatened with extinction. Since then, we have been witnessing those people perpetrating a similar genocidal program (though in slow motion) against another people (ironically with a very close genome to their own). As a result, many Jews can no longer support the apartheid state of Israel, and they no longer identify with the aims of the Israeli Zionist state.

Palestinians do have a very clear vision: They want their own state free from Israeli dominance and meddling. The "two state solution" has been eroded to the point of non-existence by the Israeli greed for all the land. So now, it is time to ponder what a true just and democratic state would look like, with full right of return for displaced Palestinians, with completely equal rights and with no priority placed on any religious, ethnic or cultural makeup of its population. The idea of a "Jewish" state is clearly antithetical to democracy and is already obsolete and non-viable in today's world. South Africa's process of moving out of an apartheid state into a democratic one is an important model in moving toward justice and equality for all.

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The plan is a One State Solution that has been well articulated by Edward Said who wrote:

"... after 50 years of Israeli history, classic Zionism has provided no solution to the Palestinian presence. I therefore see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way with equal rights for all citizens."

As the majority of Jews don’t live in Israel and are increasingly critical of Zionism as practiced by Israel, it shouldn’t be difficult in enlisting them in the cause of justice for the Palestinians and with the pressure applied to Israel by the BDS movement, persuading the recalcitrant colonists to adopt the plan is not just probable but inevitable.
After all, if South Africa can do it with a 10 to 1 ratio of Blacks to Whites, the 1 to 1 Israeli to Palestine settlement ought to be quite doable - provided the US adopt an evenhanded approach.

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I like the (one binational) state vision proposed in Ali Abunimah in his 'One Country' book but I must admit I find it hard to believe the Israel's will find it acceptable and allow it to happen.

Realistically, Israel does hold the power here and their leadership will likely - almost certainly - determine what actually happens. They seem content with the awful "status quo"for now but I cannot see it lasting. If it results in war and tragedy then, I hate to imagine what horrors and bloodshed and even genocides may occur. Its hard to see them making any peace whilst Hamas holds any sort of power or any similar group.

Or maybe the Isrealis will try to get something more like the 8 state, "Palestinian Emirates" plan (google it) proposed by Dr. Mordechai Kedar which focuses on Israeli security needs and proposes 7 city state Palestinian emirates in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, Tul-Karm, Kalkilya, the Arab part of Hebron and the Gaza strip? But is there any chance of the Palestinains all accepting that?

Or, accepting residence in absorbed greater Israel with Jordanian and Egyptian citizenship as another suggetsion that I've seen proposed as plausible but not likely and hard for the Palestinians to agree on?

Ultimnately, its going tobe up to what the Israelis and Palestiians are each able to accept and I just wish both sides would see the other as equally human and equally legitimate because they are and neither is going away.

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Is this article title question is addressed exclusively to the stupid readers to ponder on?!What an outrage.

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Here it is- short and sweet.

End Zionism (which is racist and wrong).

Stop preventing the return of the victims and their families of the pogroms of the 1940's.

Just compensation for pain and suffering of the Palestinian diaspora.

Rid Palestine of all its weapons of mass destruction (particularly nuclear ones) and accept the NPT.

Want peace? An all inclusive, secular, egalitarian, democratic society in all of Palestine for all its residents and citizens.

NO EQUALITY, NO PEACE!

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Palestinians and Israelis need to work together and follow in the footsteps of the Sudanese people. They could build a left wing movement which benefits ordinary people regardless of ethnicity and religion, and gives them a real alternative to Fatah, Hamas, and Likud.

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Omar Karmi

Omar Karmi is an associate editor for The Electronic Intifada and former Jerusalem and Washington, DC, correspondent for The National newspaper.