WIRE IsraeliPalestinian Peace Deal Is Alive Thanks to Jared Kushner
The key players.
It was easy to miss it, what with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson being fired and President Donald Trump fueling rumors of more personnel shake-ups. But last week Jared Kushner, presidential adviser and son-in-law, presided over a highly unusual White House conference on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Who participated was noteworthy: Israel was there, alongside Arab states with which it does not have diplomatic relations, such as Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Who didn’t participate was noteworthy too: the Palestinians, who have been boycotting Trump since his announcement that the U.S. will have an embassy in Jerusalem.
The meaning of the conference can only be deciphered in relation to the Kushner-led peace effort. That long-shot effort is alive, notwithstanding Kushner’s defeat by chief of staff John Kelly in the White House palace intrigue over security clearance.
Last week’s conference embodied the success of the Kushner team’s basic strategy -- and the challenge of making it work in the face of setbacks like Trump’s Jerusalem announcement.
In essence, Kushner has approached the Israel-Palestine question by treating it as an adjunct to a broader regional realignment of Sunni states plus Israel against Shiite Iran.
His laser-like focus has been on Saudi Arabia, which is signaling that it’s prepared to develop warm and even official ties to Israel if only peace can be established. The basic idea is for the Saudis and other Gulf states to pressure the Palestinians to the table. Then Trump and Kushner will deliver the Israelis -- or at least try.
Other negotiators in the past have sought to regionalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kushner has gotten further than any of his predecessors on this front.Read More...