President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner received public praise on Sunday from a billionaire Israel lobby financier for his possibly illegal attempts to derail a UN Security Council vote condemning Israel’s settlements a year ago.
This came as news broke that Kushner failed to disclose in government ethics filings his role as director of a family foundation that funded Israeli settlements.
Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, is in charge of efforts to revive the so-called peace process.
New details of Kushner’s Saudi-backed plan reported Sunday confirm that it would require nothing less than a complete capitulation by the Palestinians to Israel’s demands, leaving them with a state in name only.
On Sunday, Kushner appeared at the Saban Forum, an Israel lobby conference at Washington’s Brookings Institution, financed by Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban.
Saban and Kushner sat on stage for what was billed as a “keynote conversation.”
“You’ve been in the news the last few days, to say the least. But you’ve been in the news about an issue that I personally want to thank you for, because you and your team were taking steps to try and get the United Nations Security Council to not go along with what ended up being an abstention by the US,” Saban said in the exchange in the video at the top of this article.
“As far as I know there was nothing illegal there but I think that this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort.”
“Thank you,” Kushner responded.
Given the systematic lack of accountability for senior US officials, dating back decades, there is little reason to expect that anything short of an indictment will remove Kushner from his role.
And the more that is known about the “peace plan” he is helping forge, the clearer it is that Kushner and his colleagues are simply mouthpieces for Netanyahu.
On Sunday, The New York Times characterized the as yet unpublished plan in the following terms: “The Palestinians would get a state of their own but only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.”
These were the elements reportedly conveyed to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman last month with an ultimatum that he accept them or resign.
These ideas are so far below what any Palestinian could ever accept that even Abbas was “alarmed and visibly upset” by the Saudi proposal, according to an official from his Fatah party cited by the Times.
The White House has denied that its plan has been finalized, and Saudi Arabia denied it supported such positions, according to the Times.
But the newspaper provides ample reason to doubt those denials, noting that: “the main points of the Saudi proposal as told to Mr. Abbas were confirmed by many people briefed on the discussions between Mr. Abbas and Prince Mohammad, including Mr. [Ahmad] Yousef, the senior Hamas leader; Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Parliament; several Western officials; a senior Fatah official; a Palestinian official in Lebanon; a senior Lebanese official; and a Lebanese politician, among others.”
The Saudis have been pressuring the Palestinians to capitulate to Israel evidently to clear the Palestinian cause out of the way so that the growing Saudi-Israeli alliance aimed at Iran can be brought fully into the open.
One element of the plan reportedly includes giving Palestinians a capital in the village of Abu Dis, instead of Jerusalem.
This is a revival of a 1990s fantasy in which the small village would be renamed “al-Quds” and declared the “capital of Palestine,” while the real city of Jerusalem is swallowed up by Israel.
Israel currently uses part of Abu Dis as an illegal garbage dump.