An Israeli journalist reports (Hebrew) that the intelligence chiefs of the major Sunni regimes met secretly with Israeli Mossad boss, Yossi Cohen, to discuss the upcoming Trump peace plan. The meeting was held in the Jordanian city of Aqaba under the auspices of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. A surprise participant was Palestinian security chief, Majed Faraj, was represented the PA. Though it’s not known the specifics of their conversation, the report is shocking on several counts.
First, this further confirms that the Sunni states are conniving with Israel under U.S. tutelage to shove the upcoming peace plan down the throats of Palestinians. Second, it further confirms that the issue of Palestine no longer has a priority for these authoritarian Arab rulers. It is an irritant to be disposed of.
Now, the shibboleth of the day is Iran. It is the Great Satan of the Sunni world. Everything else, including Palestine, pales in comparison. Third, and most shocking is that the PA intelligence chief participated in the meeting despite his boss’ claim that the Palestinians were boycotting peace negotiations and had declared Trump persona non grata.
This is not surprising, when you consider the equivocating history of the PA and its leadership. Whenever it rises in righteous indignation against some Israeli or American insult to Palestinian dignity, you will always find those stalwart Palestinian nationalists keeping a backdoor open to the master’s pantry, so they can sneak in to nab a treat from his plate. Mahmoud Abbas, despite his theatrical show of pride, is a sell-out. He doesn’t stand for anything except perpetuation of his own power base and prerogatives. He feels he has to make a show for the Palestinian “street” while leaving the back door wide open to betray Palestinian interests to the highest bidder. This is only one of the reasons that Hamas retains pride of place among many Palestinians as the true upholders of the mantle of resistance.
The Intelligence Online report (paywall) on which Yossi Melman’s Maariv report was based says that while Faraj attended the meeting, he barely participated. For some strange reason, the article interpreted his silence as an indication that the Palestinian spy boss was the favored U.S. successor to the almost nonagenarian Palestinian leader. To me, it would appear much more likely that he did not participate because he wanted to send a message that the PA was observing the discussions, but had no interest in signaling its support for them.
Whoever leaked this story didn’t anticipate the obvious, that leaking word that any Palestinian leader is the favorite of Donald Trump is a virtual kiss of death. Of course, the U.S. wants a pliant Palestinian vassal. But why would anyone in their right mind expect the Palestinians would agree to Faraj as the new boss? Unless you’re a clueless American real estate mogul turned international diplomat and believe a Palestinian strongman can impose his will on 2.5-million Palestinians. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Given the publication record of this story, beginning with Intelligence Online and then proceeding to Maariv, I strongly suspect an Israeli journalist reported it to the French intelligence website. This follows a very common method used by such journalists with national security stories which are either under military censorship or judicial gag orders. If you give the story to a foreign media outlet which reports it, then the story may be published inside Israel. There are some rare cases in which even this method is prohibited, but not here obviously. Yet another example of what I call the Kabuki drama which is the Israeli national security state.
I further surmise that the original source for the article was someone in the Israeli political or military leadership who wanted Israelis to know two things: that Israel sits among the highest councils of the Arab world; and that despite their gruff talk, the Palestinians are going to bend and fold at the first opportunity for a peace settlement. My guess is that the source either lies in the Mossad or the prime minister’s office (or both). There is also the possibility that Kushner was the source seeking to burnish his own negotiating record, but that seems unlikely.