[News] Jared Kushner probed over Israel contacts
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 24 10:57:02 EST 2017
Jared Kushner probed over Israel contacts
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 22
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly probing Jared Kushner’s
contacts with Israeli officials last year as Israel tried to derail a UN
Security Council vote on its West Bank settlements.
Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law, a senior adviser and fixer. Former
FBI director Mueller was appointed by the Department of Justice in May
to lead a broad investigation sparked by allegations of ties between the
Trump campaign and Russia.
/The Wall Street Journal’s/ revelation
of the probe into Kushner’s contacts with Israel comes as details emerge
of an imminent Trump “peace plan” that would railroad Palestinians into
surrendering their rights in exchange for a state in name only.
According to the newspaper, Mueller’s “investigators have asked
witnesses questions” about the involvement of Kushner “in a controversy
over a UN resolution” passed before Trump took office that condemned
Israel’s settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.
Trump had posted his opposition to the resolution on social media and
called the Egyptian dictator Abdulfattah al-Sisi
diplomats were sponsoring the resolution, to press him to pull it.
Despite these efforts, the resolution passed
on 23 December, after several other Security Council members stepped in
to sponsor it, and the Obama administration – in a rare US move –
declined to cast a veto.
According to the /Journal/, Israel had reached out to senior Trump
associates, including Kushner and Steve Bannon
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/steve-bannon>, in an effort to
thwart the vote.
“The motivation for the Mueller team’s questions about the UN is
unclear,” the /Journal/ states, but they are part of an examination of
Kushner’s “interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential
The newspaper points to the 1799 Logan Act that “bars Americans from
communicating with a foreign government to influence the government’s
actions related to a dispute with the US,” but notes that no one has
ever been successfully prosecuted under it.
Kushner is no impartial observer. His family’s foundation
donated money to support Israeli settlements.
What will be interesting to watch is whether Kushner’s role in Trump’s
efforts to derail international condemnation of Israel’s settlements
will attract the same obsessive attention from liberal politicians and
pundits who have jumped on every “Russiagate” allegation of “collusion”
no matter how dubious
On Wednesday, /Middle East Eye/ published
what it said were exclusive details of Trump’s “ultimate deal” peace
plan reportedly to be unveiled early next year.
Citing a “Western diplomat” close to the US team preparing the proposal,
/Middle East Eye/ describes a rehash of Israeli-inspired plans to give
Palestinians what amounts to limited self-rule on a few scattered plots
of land – akin to the bantustans
<http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/homelands> apartheid South Africa
tried to establish to deflect calls for full rights for Black South
The US plan would call for a “Palestinian state” in the Gaza Strip and a
few enclaves in the West Bank but key issues including the status of
Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees would be
So-called “final negotiations” would then be led by Saudi Arabia.
Kushner reportedly visited Saudi Arabia to brief Crown Prince Mohammad
bin Salman <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/mohammad-bin-salman> –
commonly known as MBS – and to ask for Saudi help to pressure
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept the plan.
Earlier this month MBS summoned Abbas to Riyadh. According to Israeli
the Saudi autocrat told the PA leader to accept the upcoming Trump peace
plan or resign.
Unnamed Palestinian officials told /Middle East Eye/ that MBS offered to
nearly triple Saudi Arabia’s monthly payments to the PA to $20 million
if Abbas accepts it.
Obsession with Iran
The report confirms the motive of the Saudi interest in promoting the
plan – and it has nothing to do with securing Palestinian rights.
“MBS is very enthusiastic about the plan,” the Western diplomat told
/Middle East Eye/, “and he is eager to see a peace deal between the
Palestinians and Israel first, then between Israel and the Arab
countries, as a first step in forming a coalition between Saudi Arabia
and Israel to counter the Iranian threat.”
“This is Netanyahu’s plan and he sold it the US team and they are trying
to sell it to the Palestinians and Arabs,” according to a Palestinian
official quoted by /Middle East Eye/.
Saudi Arabia has long been flirting
Israel in a low-key manner, but the two states are now increasingly open
about their alliance.
In an unprecedented interview
<https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.823163> with Saudi media last
week, Israeli military chief Gadi Eizenkot expressed his country’s
willingness to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia – something that has
undoubtedly already been going on.
Eizenkot also described Saudi Arabia and its allies as “moderate.”
The Saudi regime is returning the favor.
Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa, the former Saudi justice minister and a
close ally of MBS, reportedly told Israeli media
that violence against Israel – presumably including Palestinian
resistance to military occupation – is “un-Islamic.”
In June, the Saudi foreign minister demanded
that Qatar stop supporting the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
Saudi schemes backfiring
While embracing Israel appears to be a key strategy in pursuit of Saudi
Arabia’s obsession with confronting Iran, the kingdom’s regional schemes
have had a tendency to go disastrously awry, as The Electronic
Intifada’s Omar Karmi noted in a recent analysis
these include the years-long proxy war in Syria that resulted in massive
destruction and fatalities but failed to remove its president, Bashar
al-Assad; the Saudi-led war on Yemen that has succeeded only in killing
and injuring tens of thousands of civilians and bringing millions to the
brink of famine; and the effort to isolate Qatar
which has not brought Riyadh’s Gulf neighbor to heel.
The latest Saudi power play to weaken the Lebanese resistance and
political movement Hizballah by forcing Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad
Hariri to resign also appears to have backfired.
After a bizarre episode in which he appeared to be held captive by the
Saudis, before traveling to Paris and Cairo
Hariri finally returned to Beirut on Wednesday.
There he promptly rescinded his resignation
after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
The US threats this week
to close the Palestinian Authority’s “embassy” in Washington appear to
be part of efforts to pressure Palestinians into accepting Trump’s plan.
But the bullying and bribes by the US-Saudi-Israeli axis aren’t going to
be any more successful on the Palestinian front either.
Even the pliant PA leadership will have no choice but to reject a plan
that seeks only to liquidate the Palestinian cause in order to remove
all obstacles to Israel’s full integration into the region.
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