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August 21, 2017 5:07 pm

Kushner Team Heads to Middle East as Arab Leaders Emphasize ‘No Peace’ Without Palestinian State

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White House senior adviser Jared Kushner with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: File.

As a high-level negotiating team headed by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner heads to the Middle East this week, Palestinian and Arab leaders have underlined that they will not consider any solutions that deviate from the 2002 Saudi-backed peace initiative — which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Kushner will arrive in the region on Thursday accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, the administration’s special envoy for international negotiations, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell. The team will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, before heading to further meetings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.

In a joint declaration in advance of the American visit, the Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, welcomed US involvement in advancing the peace process, but implicitly warned against any flirtation with political solutions that do not involve a separate Palestinian state. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki asserted that the “united Arab position” was that “there will be no peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders,” while his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman al-Safadi, said the Americans needed to understand that “we are not coming up with a new proposal.”

Behind the scenes, however, Palestinian leaders are said to be increasingly disillusioned with Kushner and his team. In part, this is because of the Trump administration’s tougher stance on the PA’s policy of paying monthly salaries to convicted terrorists and their families — a practice widely regarded as incentivizing terror, at an annual cost of $300 million. After his last meeting with Kushner on June 23, Abbas was reported to have been furious at an American demand that the PA cut the payments to the families of 600 Palestinian terrorists serving life imprisonment sentences in Israeli prisons. Should the forthcoming session of Congress pass the Taylor Force Act — which would severely restrict US aid to the PA until the State Department certifies that it is no longer inciting and funding terrorist violence – the PA’s relationship with Kushner and his team is likely to be further strained.

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On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Abbas told a visiting delegation from Israel’s left-wing Meretz party that he had met with Trump’s envoys about 20 times, being assured on each occasion of the administration’s support for a two-state solution.

“But when he would ask the envoys, ‘Do you say this to the Israeli government?’ they would not answer him,” Abbas was quoted as saying by Issawi Frej, one of the Meretz Knesset Members who met with the Palestinian leader in Ramallah, the LA Times reported. The paper added that Frej had observed, “The Palestinian Authority is almost at the point of despair — they have no expectations from the Trump administration or the delegation that is on its way.”

But as Abbas reportedly despairs, other Palestinian officials are warning of apocalyptic outcomes in the event that Kushner fails.

“If we don’t succeed this time, all the options are Armaggedonist,” the PLO’s Washington representative, Husam Zomlot, told the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National last week.

“For the last three months we have done the talking, the microphone was with us, we explained in detail where we see things going, and now it’s time to listen,” Zomlot said. He added that the PA wants to now “hear the Trump administration publicly endorse a vision for a solution.”

Adamant that the “only final solution is the two states based on 1967 borders,” Zomlot demanded “crystal clarity from the US before we start the journey, on where we are going and how we will get there.”

But if the official line from the White House is anything to go by, such clarity will come ultimately from the negotiating parties themselves. On Monday, in advance of the Kushner team’s visit, a White House official stated: “While the regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress towards that goal.”

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  • Mahmmoud Abbas and his Arab Palestinian authority are a terrorist entity and anyone who condones them is supporting terror and violence.
    Mahmmoud Abbas is a convicted murderer who is an escaped convict and belongs in Jail. Stop patronizing Abbas and start applying what he deserves, to be put in jail.
    He gladly admitted for sponsoring the Munich massacre and other terror acts.
    The Arab PA is no different than Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    There will never be a second Arab-Palestinian State West of the Jordan River; they have Jordan which is Jewish territory.
    Anyone who thinks about putting another terrorist entity in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank, needs to have his head examined and any government considering such a proposal must be replaced.
    Such a move is suicidal to Israel in view of the results from Gaza with thousands of rockets attacking Israel and the continued terror and violence incited by Mahmmoud Abbas and his followers.
    YJ Draiman

    Mahmmoud Abbas – the terrorist – the Arab PA leader convicted murderer belongs in jail.

    • Lindy Gribben


  • loner

    The palestinian’s don’t want peace they won’t the jewish people dead. they even refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist noy once even right now today they fail to recognize Isreal to exist. all the palestinian’s want is jewish blood that’s it. these palestinian’s teach there kid’s at such a young age to kill the jewish people. now do you really believe these blood thirsty terrorist want peace. God Bless The USA and God Bless Israel. Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital Alway’s.

  • dante

    what the Arab countries don’t say and can’t say is that an Arab in Palestine will bring peace. the Arab states won’t say this and they are not particularly concerned about the issue. no one should be surprised that Israel has a different view.

  • Ron Quarles

    A covenant or treaty will be confirmed soon. The Word of God declares it to be in the last days of a generation that sees the regathering of Israel as a nation. The time is at hand.

  • Jordan is The Arab-Palestine State r3

    Face reality; there will never be an Arab-Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. Jordan is a country that never existed in history before WWI and nobody is contesting its legitimacy or territorial sovereignty and control. Jordan’s territory was taken from land allocated to the Jewish people under international law and treaties and signed by the January 1919 Faisal Weitzmann Agreement. The amount of land taken away from the Jewish people for Jordan is about 78% from the total original allocation under the 1920 San Remo treaty of about 46,332 sq. miles or 120,000 sq. km. The Arabs received over 6 million sq. miles – 13 million sq. km. with a wealth of oil reserves. The same powers that established 21 Arab States after WWI, which nobody is contesting either, had re-established the State of Israel in 1920 based on the 1917 Balfour Declaration which emulated Napoleon 1799 letter to the Jewish community in Palestine aka The Land of Israel. On the other hand, Israel and its Jewish people have over 3600 year history, which archaeological excavations have verified. Many Nations and people are questioning Israel’s control of its liberated territory. No one is questioning the 21 Arab states territory including Jordan; and no one is mentioning that the Arab countries had terrorized and forcefully expelled over a million Jewish families from their lands (my grandmothers family included); where many of the Jews have lived for over 2,800 years, the Arabs confiscated all their assets, personal assets, businesses, homes and over 120,000 sq. km. of real property which is valued in the trillions of dollars. (That includes property and land east of the Jordan River which is now the State of Jordan and no Jews are permitted to live in Jordan. Most of these expelled Jewish families and their children are resettled in Greater Israel they constitute today over half the population of Israel.

    UN resolutions are only a recommendation (which are non-binding with no legal standing), if both parties do not accept it and abide by it, it is null and void and has no meaning whatsoever. The only thing that is valid is the international law and treaties from 1917-1922 and the 1919 Faisal Weizmann agreement which states that all of Palestine is for the Jewish people, while the Arabs received over 6 million sq. miles of territory with oil reserves. The Arabs prophet in Medina slaughtered the Jews, beheaded the men and raped the women and took them as slaves, this occurred in Medina about 1500 years ago; and took over the long established Jewish city that predates Islam by a thousand years. This conduct by the Muslims is common even today.
    YJ Draiman

    Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are Jewish territory – No annexation is required.
    If anything it may need to be re-incorporated or re-patriated and Israel’s sovereignty applied.
    Let me pose an interesting scenario. If you had a country and it was conquered by various foreign powers over a period of time. After many years you have taken back you country and land in various defensive wars. Do you have to officially annex those territories? It was always your territory and by retaking control and possession of your territory it is again your original property and there is no need to annex it.
    Jewish roots and rights to all the land of Greater Israel are stronger than ever!
    “If I am turned out of hearth and home and remain outside one night, I am legally entitled to return the following day. If I suffer for ten, twenty, five thousand or fifty thousand nights, does my right of return stand in inverse relationship to the length of my exile? Quite the contrary; my right to return and recover my freedom becomes stronger in direct proportion to what I have endured, not by virtue of some abstract arithmetic, but because of the nights spent in exile, and because I want my children, to be spared a similar experience.”
    YJ Draiman

  • Jack_nSlvrSprng

    There can be no peace at this time, whether or not there is a so-called Palestinian state. The Arab leadership has so whipped hatred of Israel and Jews that a so-called Palestinian state would only serve as a base for a permanent Intifada with one aim: the destruction of Israel. Before there can be a so-called Palestinian state, the attitudes of those living in areas ruled by the PLO must change to an acceptance and recognition of Israel as Jewish state.

  • Patricia McGehee

    Do not take one acre from Israel.

  • David Matar

    Mr. Zomlot is all in favor of a “final solution” to the Israel problem.

  • David Matar

    Reb Yaakov, where have you been for the last seventy years? Numerous American leaders from Rogers to Clinton to Bush to Obama , have proposed compromise plans, only to be rebuffed by the Arab side. The Palestinians are and always have been asking for Israel’s destruction, not for any negotiated or imposed modus vivendi! Instead of ignoring history and the Arab/Islamic mentality, don’t sit around waiting for the Arabs to live up to your fantasies of giving up on their existential hatred and violence, and help Israel actually triumph over their enemies, in the way that the US vanquished Germany and Japan in WWII. Moslems will not voluntarily concede even a fraction of the Koranic dream of world domination – those aspirations must be crushed, not coddled.

  • David Matar

    True – and Kushner et al. are wasting their time at Israel’s expense; we in Israel will pay a price in blood due to the Americans once again falsely raising Palestinian expectations. Instead of pursuing a non-existent peace, Trump should have come down heavily on Israel’s side, and made clear to the Arabs that they have everything to lose by fomenting and funding terror. So far, despite Trump’s campaign promises, all we’ve seen is Obama redux.

  • robert Davis

    The 2 Palestinian States alreadyh exist they are Israel and Jordan. Ifarab states do not accept this REALITY, forget it, peace is not possible presently. It will be possible when arab states accept reality and stop dreaming to destroy Israel. They will be destroyed not Israel.

    • Esther Noodelman

      Robert Davis,you should be heading the negotiating team. If the Arab states do not accept the 2 Palestinian States WHICH already exist in Israel & Jordan &.UNLESS the Arab states accept reality & stop dreaming to destroy Israel.They will be destroyed,NOT Israel !!