Jared Kushner on why the Palestinians would accept his Middle East peace plan:
“I’m not here to be trusted…They’re gonna judge it based on the facts and then make a determination. Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?” @DCTVny @HBODocs pic.twitter.com/TVISoMmDBc
— Axios (@axios) June 3, 2019
I don’t know what Jared Kushner was thinking when he agreed to do the Vice interview that aired yesterday. Not only should he stay away from media interviews, he should stay away from anything that isn’t building management. But alas, he’s stuck his nose into the Israel-Palestine conflict and, as always, the ‘natives’ are the ones who will suffer for his impudence in thinking he has anything worthwhile to offer on the subject.
Though there are many things in the interview which would sate the appetite for a Feast of Fools, Kushner’s comments on his deal of the century were especially jaw-dropping. Among them was this pearl:
Asked whether he believed the Palestinians were capable of governing themselves without Israeli interference, Kushner said: “That’s a very good question. That’s one that we’ll have to see. The hope is that they, over time, will become capable of governing.”
Ah, the white man’s burden of that response is stunning. Israel is a dysfunctional, corrupt country led by right-wing fascists and yet he calls Palestine ungovernable! According to whose standards? Those of an Orthodox Jew whose family foundation have given tens of thousands to support settlements built on land stolen from those ungovernable Palestinians??
The son-in-law followed with this gem:
Asked whether he understood why the Palestinians might not trust him, Kushner said: “I’m not here to be trusted…
I read a critique of the interview in which the writer said Kushner was spectacularly unprepared for the questions asked. In this case, that’s absolutely right. If the interviewer had asked him whether the Palestinians liked him, he might conceivably responding by saying he was there to be liked. That at least would have made some sense.
But his actual answer was mind-numbingly stupid. Even someone with no negotiating experience would know you can’t mediate a conflict without the trust of both sides. Without that, you might as well give up before you start. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Kushner and Trump expect this outcome and once it is sealed in cement they will commence with a truly draconian plan recognizing Israeli annexation of the West Bank, including all of its illegal settlements; along with provisions which would deprive the Palestinians there of anything but a limited set of rights.
As an activist, I would actually welcome this outcome because it would force the world to see Israel for the apartheid state it is. There will be no more grays, only stark black and white. This would make it even easier for BDS to take hold and compel nations and international bodies to concede Israel is a rogue state which must be reined in before it does incalculable damage to the rest of the region and the world.
I suppose beating up on Jared Kushner is so easy that people are bored with it. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, having such an easy, and stupid target. That might be true, except for the fact that the Boy Wonder has the fate of millions of Israelis and Palestinians in his hands. When he fails, pressure will rise on both sides to resort to even more violence to protest the suffocating status quo.
Thank God for Pompeo’s Candor
I never thought I would praise Mike Pompeo for anything. But a leaked account of a private speech he gave to the Conference of President’s of Major Jewish Organizations revealed some badly needed candor concering the prospects for the deal of the century. And they are: none. There are no prospects. Even Mike says so. So you know it’s true since you have it from the secretary of state’s mouth:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a sobering assessment of the prospects of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan in a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders, saying “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” and it might not “gain traction.”
…“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘it’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’
…“I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,” he said. “I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.”
What’s especially dumb about these statements is that Pompeo already knows that the Palestinians don’t have the patience to “give the space” or “let it settle in a little bit.” There is no deal without a Palestinian second party. One cannot be imposed by fellow Arab states, as the Trump circle appears to believe. They’ve laid all their bets on a terrible hand.
But at least Pompeo has the decency not to lie to the faces of these Jewish leaders. That being said, he also knows that most of the Jewish communal elite in that room never believed a peace deal was possible in the first place. They believe the Palestinians are a lost cause. They don’t believe in a two state solution, no matter what they may say publicly. They favor the status quo since that favors Israel. So in a sense, Pompeo was telling many of them either what they wanted to hear or confirming the outcome they already expected.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.