Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, wants to take new routes to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, wants to take new routes to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East. Success is by no means certain, but if he fails – he says pointedly – he doesn’t want to fail in the same way as all other efforts toward peace have, until now. He would like to bring about a paradigm shift.
Apparently, improving living conditions for the Palestinians and stimulating the economy take precedence over negotiating a political solution. At the same time, Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s chief adviser for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, asserts that the plan has not only an economic but political component.
The long-time but neither successful nor visionary representatives of the Palestinians, such as Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi, seem completely caught up in the previous mindset. They reject the plan without getting to know it. On the other side, there are those among the Palestinians who recognize the potential of an economic upswing in Palestinian regions. With the consent of the Arab states, a solution without the agreement of the Palestinians could develop. There are enough examples of ethnic groups, for example, the Kurds, Tibetans and Tamils, who don’t get as much attention as the Palestinians and who do not have their own country.
By all means, Kushner’s plan deserves a fair chance. He does not want to tread beaten paths and concern himself with terms that already exist. The two-state solution is one of these. That should not even be on the table any longer, because each side has a different understanding of what it means. Instead, the issue of how Israelis and Palestinians can live together side by side should be worked out in binding negotiations.
What else is new about Kushner’s plan? Leading off, he says the Palestinians must acknowledge certain realities. First: Jerusalem is and will remain the undivided capital of Israel. Second: Certain parts of the West Bank will become part of the recognized national territory of Israel. Third: The Palestinians’ refugee status must no longer be perpetuated and sustained as an obstacle to a peace settlement. Likewise, there will be no so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel. That calls for a completely new perception, because the support of most of the Western world encouraged the Palestinians to hold onto completely unrealistic expectations for decades.
New Alliance with Israel
There now exists a historic chance for this. Iran, together with its Shiite expansion, is increasingly the greatest common enemy and threat to the Sunni Arab states. The Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc., fear Iran and see Israel as a military and economic ally. Together with the U.S., a new alliance with great geostrategic potential and importance is emerging.
It is eminently important that the EU and other European nations do not end up completely on the periphery by holding fast to positions and models for solutions that have existed from the day before yesterday. At this juncture, an important role could lie ahead for Austria, especially as we have gained great trust and influence from the U.S. and Israel, as well as the Arab states and the EU, in recent years.