Kushner in Gulf for Israel-Palestine 'Deal of the Century'

Trump son-in-law Kushner arrives in Gulf to promote Israel-Palestine 'Deal of the Century'
3 min read
26 February, 2019
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, is in the Gulf to sell the economic component of the 'Deal of the Century' Israel-Palestine peace plan.
Kushner will discuss the economic component of the plan with Gulf leaders [NurPhoto]

Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is visiting the Gulf to gain support for his boss's much-anticipated so-called "Deal of the Century" Israel-Palestine peace plan.

Kushner, an adviser to the US president, and Jason Greenblatt, the US Middle East peace envoy, met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, on Monday, the US embassy in the UAE said. Nahyan, known as MBZ, is the de-facto ruler of the UAE.

"They discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, and the Trump administration's efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians," said a statement.

"[The] first principle is to have freedom. We want people to be able to have the freedom of opportunity, the freedom of religion, the freedom of worship, regardless of your faith," Kushner claimed, discussing the plan in an interview aired on Sky News Arabia

Three other principles apparently guide the peace plan: "Respect. We want all people to have dignity and to respect each other. Opportunity. We want people to be able to better their lives and not allow their grandfather's conflict to hijack their children's future. And the final one is security."

The US delegation will not discuss the "political component" of the deal, US officials said earlier in February. Instead, Kushner will try to sell the "economic component" - a combination of aid and investment for Palestinians - to Gulf officials. The economic part of the plan is widely expected to include international funding for the besieged Gaza strip.

Kushner, Greenblatt and Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, discussed the same issues in talks with Oman's Sultan Qaboos on Monday, AFP reported.

The three will travel to Bahrain on Tuesday, and will also visit Qatar and another, yet to be named, Arab state during the Gulf visit. The US delegation is not expected to visit Israel, Reuters reported.

Earlier in February, Kushner briefed countries at a US-led Middle East conference in Warsaw on some details of the deal, but the US will reportedly not announce the final details of the plan until after Israel's April elections.

Top Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini officials attended the Warsaw conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the talks a "turning point". Officials from those countries were filmed dismissing the importance of the Palestinian issue at the summit.

Palestinians rejected the conference as an "American conspiracy" to "normalise" the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also refused to discuss the so-called “Deal of the Century” because of Trump’s 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestinians see either occupied East Jerusalem or a united Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state. 

Accusing the US of a pro-Israel bias, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has said the US should no longer be the mediator of stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The Trump administration has since dealt a series of blows to the PA, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.