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Kushner sells plan to skeptical UN

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UNITED NATIONS, 6 FEBRUARY 2020 — Jared Kushner, the United States point-man on Middle East peace, tried to persuade United Nations Security Council members on Thursday to back his plan for re-starting talks between Israelis and Palestinians amid doubts that the proposal is either fair or workable.

The discreet, lunchtime meeting, which was held away from U.N. headquarters at the U.S. mission, occurred against a backdrop of violent clashes in the West Bank and mounting Palestinian fears that the Trump administration’s plan is just cover for an Israeli land grab.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is headed to the U.N. on February 11, hoping to rally international support behind a draft Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements, which is expected to face to a U.S. veto.

Kushner’s visit was widely viewed as part of an effort to blunt Abbas’ New York appearance and to persuade members of the 15-nation body to drop long-held positions on the peace process, which he presents as unrealistic dogma and a roadblock to negotiations.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, U.N. diplomats appeared unwilling to abandon the established norms of deal-making between Israelis and Palestinians. France’s U.N. ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said the view from Paris “remains the same”

“We support the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states,” said de Riviere.

“This is the only pragmatic way to resolve the issue.”

Belgium’s UN ambassador Marc Pecsteen told reporters of a “useful meeting” in which Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, was quizzed by diplomats and responded with “explanations and clarifications” about the plan.

Still, it remains unclear whether the Trump administration’s re-framing of the peace process will persuade Washington’s allies in Europe and the Arab world to tolerate some type of Israeli land grab, even while their stated positions remain unchanged.

Some 5,700 miles away, at least three Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and 16 Israelis were hurt on Thursday amid a surge in violence from Palestinians angered by the U.S. plan and anxious that Israeli politicians will come good on talk of annexation.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Thursday he was “concerned about the levels of violence in Israel and throughout the Palestinian communities” and was hoping for “leaders on all sides” to “ensure that the populations act with restraint”.

At the White House on January 28, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited plan for Middle East peace, accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but with no Palestinian envoy present.

The peace plan has had a mixed reception. Palestinians say it denies them the long-held goal of establishing their own country, while many Israelis applaud Trump’s decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.

The proposal makes other concessions to Israel, including the creation of a Palestinian capital in Abu Dis, a suburb to the east of Jerusalem. The Palestinians have long sought the whole of East Jerusalem and to control territories that have been held by Israel since a war in 1967.

Netanyahu has promised to carry out the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank before Israel’s March 2 election, but has since backtracked amid reports that the White House expressed reservations about the timing.

The plan has been rejected by the Arab League and the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rejected parts of the proposal, saying that it broke with “internationally agreed parameters”.

U.N Security Council members Tunisia and Indonesia have circulated a draft resolution that “stresses the illegality of the annexation of any part” of occupied Palestinian territories and “condemns recent statements calling for annexation by Israel” of these lands.

In order to pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes from permanent members the U.S., France, Russia, China and Britain — meaning Washington can scupper any document that gets beyond the nine-vote threshold.

The Palestinians could also propose a General Assembly resolution, where they may well secure a majority of votes in the 193-nation hall, but could only claim that as a moral victory as such documents are not legally binding.

Ahead of that visit, U.S. and Israeli diplomats have sought to close down the Palestinian leader’s options at the U.N. Washington’s U.N. envoy Kelly Craft warned that the visit would do “nothing but repeat the failed pattern of the last seven decades”.

In a statement, Israel’s ambassador Danny Danon said the Palestinians must “decide whether to continue down the path of rejection and continue to raise protests in the UN, or to come to the negotiating table”.

James Reinl

James Reinl is a journalist, editor and current affairs analyst. He has reported from more than 35 countries and won awards for covering wars in Sri Lanka, Congo and Somalia, Haiti’s earthquake and human rights abuses in Iran. His work has appeared on PRI's The World, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Fox News, France 24, CBC, CBS News, dpa, RTÉ, The Times, The National, Monocle and APTN.

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13 Responses

  1. JohnSmith on February 6, 2020, 4:39 pm

    Hey! This post is another excellent opportunity for a racist, Zionist troll to make comments about how this site and any somewhat progressive newspaper is getting Kushner’s proposals totally, totally wrong, not out of any real search for truth and accuracy, but as cover for racial cleansing.

    Be sure to make totally dishonest and disingenuous comments about population exchanges / land exchanges of Palestinian-dominated and Zionist-dominated areas, knowing full well that giving up land to Palestinians in any sort of way that favors or helps them simply isn’t going to happen!

    Try to cloud the issues with your dishonesty and immorality! Try to pretend that Israel, Kushner, and Netanyahu are acting in any kind of good faith!

    Act now! People who actually believe in decency and fairness are waiting!

  2. Kay24 on February 6, 2020, 6:47 pm

    They just should laugh into his face and show him the door. This man is under the illusion that reading 25 books on the Middle East conflict, and drawing a few maps showing criminals having the largest portion of prime stolen lands, and building a puny tunnel underneath linking those measly pieces of land for the helpless victims, is going to be a huge success, and will impress the UN. The UN is not made up of fools, and they will realize this is a scam cooked up by the zionists, the villains in this entire conflict, and that Kushner the man whose family has interests in the illegal settlements, is trying hard to do the zionists a huge favor and complete their bid to take as much as they can from the victims, who have had no say in anything. As for Benjamin, he is all for stealing, and taking what is not his, as we have seen.

    He is as delusional as Trump.

    • RoHa on February 6, 2020, 7:51 pm

      “The UN is not made up of fools,”

      I wish you were right.

      • Ernie on February 7, 2020, 3:56 pm

        They’re not fools; they know which side their bread is buttered on.

    • Misterioso on February 7, 2020, 8:47 am

      @Kay24

      Also. What “25 books on the Middle East conflict,…” did he read?

      Furthermore, I bet he doesn’t speak a word of Arabic.

      Like his huckster father-in-law, he’s another spoiled brat and a two-bit shyster.

      • Kay24 on February 7, 2020, 10:06 am

        I really don’t know what books he must have read. I suspect they are all written by zionist authors, and looking at his so call peace plan, he has grasped the bias aspects of the book. It is all for the criminals who keeps stealing lands, a huge reward for their crimes. The Palestinians get the crumbs.

      • Misterioso on February 7, 2020, 12:57 pm

        ATTENTION JARED KUSHNER!!

        https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/jared-kushner-25-books-read-palestine-israel

        “Jared Kushner, here are 25 more books you should read about Palestine, Israel relations
        Donald Trump’s senior advisor says he has looked at 25 books relating to the conflict – here are some more he might also want to consider”

        Published date: 31 January 2020 Middle East Eye

        “Earlier this week, in the wake of the announcement of Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ for Israel and Palestine, Jared Kushner, its chief architect explained to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour just how much he had studied the region.

        “’I’ve been studying this now for three years,’ Kuchner said. ‘i’ve read 25 books on it, I’ve spoken to every leader in the region, I’ve spoken to everyone’ who’s been involved in this.’

        “Most interest focused just on which 25 books Kuchner had read: some sleuthing by The Forward revealed several titles, including State of Failure and Hamas vs Fatah, by Jonathan Schanzer; and Thirteen Days in September, by journalist Lawrence Wright.

        “The impression from those few titles to emerge is that they are broadly written from a Washington perspective, and not necessarily that insightful about the lived experiences of Palestinians, who Kushner on Wednesday called ‘foolish’ for rejecting his plan.

        “In the spirit of a geo-political book club, the editors and writers at Middle East Eye would like to offer Mr Kushner the following reading list to maybe deaden his echo chamber.

        “Our choices are, we suspect, more eclectic than those he has read so far, and include poetry, fiction and graphic novels amid geo-political analysis and discourse. The list, presented here in no particular order, is by no means exhaustive. We have restricted ourselves to books originally written in or translated into English.

        “But we hope that Mr Kushner and others engaged in securing the ‘deal of the century’ might obtain a different perspective from the reading list below. Please let MEE know on Facebook and Twitter (@MiddleEastEye) which titles you think we have missed.

        “Twenty-five books, after all, barely scratches the surface when it comes to explaining what has become the Middle East’s most intractable problem.”

      • Ernie on February 7, 2020, 3:57 pm

        It might be prudent to take the allegation that Kushner actually read anything whatsoever cum grano salis.

      • RoHa on February 8, 2020, 12:27 am

        Do we have evidence that he can read?

  3. James Canning on February 7, 2020, 10:55 am

    Kushner has encouraged Israel to continue to trample on international law, and to rely on rich and powerful private parties to facilitate retention of ill-gotten gains.

  4. Talkback on February 7, 2020, 12:18 pm

    Comical Danny: “IThe Palestinians must] decide whether to continue down the path of rejection and continue to raise protests in the UN, or to come to the negotiating table”.”

    What is left to negotiate with a sociopath who illegaly prolongs occupation to illegaly take everything through illegal wars of aggression and crimes against humanity like expulsion and then cries “antisemitism”?

  5. Ossinev on February 7, 2020, 1:35 pm

    One of the latest quotes drom dickhead Kusner:
    “Right now, Kushner said, “it’s very, very difficult to have a contiguous state where you can drive from the top to the bottom.”
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/kushner-says-it-will-take-months-to-prepare-west-bank-maps-ahead-of-annexation/

    No s..t Sherlock. To any rational human being ( even the ones who have not read 24 Agatha Christie novels and 1 x Fifty Shades of Grey by way of Steal of the Century prep) the map is a sick Apartheid joke.

    And just think if his moron father in law gets another four more years given the rate of attritional loss of personnel at the top of “government”as Trump becomes more and more bizarre he might just end up with a significant government portfolio(after he has finished delivering the Wall of the Century). As for the equally doombrain First Daughter well who knows. Secretary of State after Pompeo gets the old heave-ho.

    • Misterioso on February 7, 2020, 2:41 pm

      @Ossinev

      Re: “dickhead” Kushner;

      Bingo!!

      Caligula’s Rome all over again, including rampant nepotism!!

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