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Still Giving Peace a Chance

Omri Nahmias

“Ultimate deal” still alive, but will it see the light of day?

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

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(Photo: AFP/IMAGEBANK)

The Palestinians are boycotting the Americans, and Hamas in Gaza continues to launch fire balloons, but the White House is still planning to unveil its peace plan, in a big way. According to a source in the National Security Council, “Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are expanding their team and the resources available as they finalize the details and rollout strategy of the peace initiative. They continue to work very closely with the National Security Council staff and State Department.”

That statement follows an NPR report that the administration has very quietly released aid money earmarked for the Palestinians, which was frozen at the start of the year after the Palestinians boycotted the Americans to protest the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. The State Department has since transferred those funds to PA security forces, based on the rationale that those forces are preserving stability and security. According to new reports, the State Department is trying to decide which other funds can be thawed, based on putting American taxpayers’ money to best use.

Another piece of the puzzle was revealed last Friday when the Foreign Policy website reported that Kushner had asked the Jordanians to revoke the refugee status of 2 million Palestinians in the kingdom, in what appears to be yet another in a series of chess moves, part of the bigger picture in which the Palestinians will be forced to give up many of their maximalist demands.

Most curious about the expanded efforts is the timing. Beyond the problematic reality on the ground — with continued violent demonstrations along the fence, terror attacks, and 26 launches of incendiary kites last Friday alone — relations between Jerusalem and Washington may also see some changes. While Washington gears up for midterm elections in November, it’s speculated that Israel will be embroiled in elections of its own in the first half of 2019. It’s hard to envision Trump launching a peace proposal in the midst of this whole balagan, with both governments focused on internal politics. And yet, expanding the team and resources for a peace initiative sends the message loud and clear: Trump has not given up on making “the deal of the century.” (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 722)

 

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