[News] Jared Kushner probed over Israel contacts

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Fri Nov 24 10:57:02 EST 2017


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/jared-kushner-probed-over-israel-contacts 



  Jared Kushner probed over Israel contacts

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 22 
November 2017

------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 
<https://www.wsj.com/articles/special-counsel-mueller-probes-jared-kushners-contact-with-foreign-leaders-1511306515> 
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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/abdulfattah-al-sisi>, whose 
diplomats were sponsoring the resolution, to press him to pull it.

Despite these efforts, the resolution passed 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/us-lets-security-council-pass-resolution-against-israeli-settlements> 
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 
transition.”

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/kushner-family-foundation> has 
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 
<https://soundcloud.com/moderaterebelsradio/russiagate-democrats-episode-1> 
or fictional 
<https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-is-more-fiction-than-fact/>.


    “Ultimate deal”

On Wednesday, /Middle East Eye/ published 
<http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/trump-ultimate-deal-borders-palestine-state-no-talk-israel-saudi-no%20talks-jerusalem-1510521541> 
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 
Africans.

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 
postponed.

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 
media reports 
<http://www.electronicintifada.net/blogs/omar-karmi/can-trump-and-saudi-arabia-force-palestinian-surrender>, 
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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/saudi-israeli-relations> with 
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 
<https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/11/21/saudi-official-denounces-violence-against-israel-as-un-islamic> 
that violence against Israel – presumably including Palestinian 
resistance to military occupation – is “un-Islamic.”

In June, the Saudi foreign minister demanded 
<https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-gulf-qatar-saudi/saudi-minister-says-qatar-must-end-support-for-hamas-muslim-brotherhood-idUKKBN18X2CV> 
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 
<http://www.electronicintifada.net/blogs/omar-karmi/can-trump-and-saudi-arabia-force-palestinian-surrender>: 
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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-backs-saudi-arabia-confrontation-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 
<https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-crisis-egypt/lebanons-hariri-holds-talks-with-egypt-president-sisi-in-cairo-idUSKBN1DL22U?il=0>, 
Hariri finally returned to Beirut on Wednesday.

There he promptly rescinded his resignation 
<https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-politics/lebanons-pm-hariri-shelves-resignation-easing-crisis-idUSKBN1DM0IP> 
after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

The US threats this week 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/palestinians-suspend-ties-plo-office-closed-171118170345048.html> 
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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863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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