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Kushner in Ankara to discuss 'Deal of Century' despite criticism

Kushner is in the Middle East attempting to sell his much-criticised peace plan [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 February, 2019

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Jared Kushner is meeting with Erdogan, one of the US' most vocal critics, to rally support for his Israel-Palestine 'Deal of the Century' ahead of its long-awaited release in April.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner in Ankara on Wednesday for talks expected to centre on Kushner's long awaited Israel-Palestine peace initiative.

Turkish Economy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, was also present. As with Kushner, Albayrak is also a key advisor to his father-in-law.

Details of Kushner's much-delayed plan are set to be unveiled after the Israeli election on April 9. However what is known of it so far has evoked a cool reception from all sides. Palestinians are currently not cooperating with the US after Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in December 2017.

Erdogan has been one of the fiercest critics of President Donald Trump’s support for Israel, accusing the US president of sacrificing its role as mediator in the conflict after the embassy move.

“The United States has chosen to be part of the problem rather than the solution,” the Turkish president said last May, ahead of a summit of Muslim leaders hosted in Istanbul, which discussed economic measures against countries which followed the United States in moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

Kushner has said that the plan will address all "final status" issues, including borders, and will require compromises by all sides.

He has made no mention of establishing a Palestinian state and said the plan would focus heavily on offering economic "opportunities" to the Palestinians.

Despite little being known of its contents, the plan has already been panned by critics for failing to address what are considered the main Palestinian demands.

"Such a 'deal' will be dead on arrival because it is not expected to address the lifting of the Israeli occupation or the affirmation of Palestinian sovereignty," Emile Nakhleh, a Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at University of New Mexico, told The New Arab.

Speaking to the Guardian on Tuesday, Qatar’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said he had spoken with Kushner, warning that Qatar “had no interest in anything that is not a two-state solution, 1967 borders, the right of return, clear designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine”.

He was also dismissive of one-sided initiatives in the region, which increase polarisation and instability.

“You cannot keep people under oppression for a long time, so to prevent this instability from happening, we just want leaders to start reforming. We have to practice preventative diplomacy rather than reactive diplomacy,” he said.

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