Jared Kushner is like a bad joke that Donald Trump is playing on not only the country but the entire world. Despite him being woefully unqualified for any kind of work beyond grossly mismanaging real estate in a manner which echos the president, Kushner has been tasked with a staggering portfolio, with a directive to forge peace in the Middle East. Where our greatest presidents and diplomats have failed, Trump has tasked a 38-year-old political neophyte with succeeding. Not surprisingly, things haven’t been going well.
Three Israeli security experts have penned an op-ed for Politico entitled “Trump’s Peace Plan Is Immoral, Impractical—and Could Blow Up the Middle East” in which, as the title makes abundantly clear, they absolutely shred the Kushner-masterminded plan. The men behind it are Ami Ayalon, who used to be the Director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, Gilead Sher, who served as the former Chief of Staff for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Orni Petruschka, a businessman behind an Israeli think tank.
In their article, the three men bash the Trump administration’s plan to hold a “peace to prosperity economic workship” in the country of Bahrain in the hopes of reigniting peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The writers find this to be a dubious prospect at best and say that if one scratches “the shiny PR surface” they’ll “find a dangerously simplistic approach to a complicated situation.” Unfortunately, their suspicions may very well prove correct, given that Trump and his cronies have proven to be far more interested in media coverage and PR than achieving tangible successes.
What emerges quickly when reading the article is how little confidence the men have in this current crop of American leadership.
“Anybody who followed the last 30 years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict understands that President Donald Trump’s announcement of this first step on the way to a deal is all form and no substance: a new name for the same failed idea known as ‘economic peace,’ and before that as ‘a new Middle East,'” write Ayalon, Sher, and Petruschka.
The men slam Trump and his team for focusing on economics first and foremost, a misguided approach which they lay at the feet of Jared Kushner and which they argue means the negotiations are effectively scuttled before they’ve even been given a chance to begin.
“If Trump and his team studied history, they would know that placing economics before core political issues is a slap in the face to the Palestinians. Of course, the Palestinians want to improve their quality of life; of course they want to build a growing economy. But these are secondary goals, to be pursued after self-determination is achieved. If the Palestinians could be ‘bought’ with economic benefits, we would be long past the need for talks. Trump’s approach is not only immoral, it is impractical,” the op-ed reads.
From there, they move on to sketch out a brief history of Israel-Palestinian negotiations, perhaps in the outside hope that a member of Trump’s team will read the op-ed and wake up to the administration’s historical ignorance. The American focus on economic conditions rather than a more holistic approach represents a “colossal mistake” according to the writers that could lead to “disillusionment” and “escalating violence.” According to Ayalon, Sher, and Petruschka establishing a Palestinian state is the only way forward without more bloodshed.
The three men predict risk for an explosion of violent conflict in the region, something which is all the more worrying given the saber-rattling Trump’s people are currently engaged in with Iran.
The piece questions Trump’s intentions, as the writers are unsure if the president truly wants to forge peace in the region or if he is simply trying to further ingratiate himself to the Israeli prime minister
“As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Yet it is not clear whether Trump’s intentions are good or merely seek to do Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a political favor. Presenting Abbas with an impossible choice will allow Netanyahu to win another round of the blame game and accuse the Palestinians of backing away from a good deal, playing into Netanyahu’s electoral base that rejects a two-state solution. But the result may be more death and an escalation that would delay constructive talks—and a Mideast anti-Iran coalition—for years,” they write.
The three men end their article by once again trashing the “economics first” approach to the problem and insist that it must be “discarded” immediately and if it’s not it must be opposed.
Read the full piece here.