That’s not going to go well

Setting the cat among the pigeons.

In a mysterious trip last month, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, traveled to Saudi Arabia’s capital for consultations with the hard-charging crown prince about President Trump’s plans for Middle East peace. What was said when the doors were closed, however, has since roiled the region.

According to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of the conversation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presented a plan that would be more tilted toward the Israelis than any ever embraced by the American government, one that presumably no Palestinian leader could ever accept.

The Palestinians would get a state of their own but only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

I guess Kushner came up with that “plan”?

The White House says that’s not its plan, and the Saudi government said it doesn’t support it. But of course “the White House” is such a steadfast liar these days that who knows what that’s worth.

Even if the account proves incomplete, it has gained currency with enough players in the Middle East to deeply alarm Palestinians and raise suspicions about Mr. Trump’s efforts. On top of that, advisers have said the president plans to give a speech on Wednesday in which he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, even though both sides claim it, a declaration that analysts and regional officials say could undermine America’s role as a theoretically neutral broker.

I think it’s safe to assume that Trump is assuming He Can Fix It where No One Else Can, and that he thinks that’s all he needs to know, and so that he’s probably perfectly happy to let his slumlord son-in-law pretend to be a policy expert in an area that has foiled actual experts for generations. Yeah that should work well.

Mr. Trump assigned the effort to reach what he calls the “ultimate deal” to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, aided by Jason Greenblatt, his top negotiator, and other aides. After nearly a year of listening tours to the region, they are developing a comprehensive plan but have kept details under wraps.

“We know what’s in the plan,” Mr. Kushner said in a rare public appearance on Sunday at the Saban Forum, a Middle East conference in Washington hosted by the Brookings Institution. “The Palestinians know what discussions we’ve had with them. The Israelis know what discussions we’ve had with them.”

Said a callow young nobody who should be doing rental accounts in a small dusty office in Hoboken, not playing Miracle Diplomat at the Brookings Institution.

The Palestinians are saying hell no.

Adding to the shock for Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials from Fatah and Hamas, as well as a senior Lebanese official and several other people briefed on the matter, was the claim that Prince Mohammed had told Mr. Abbas that if he would not accept the terms, he would be pressed to resign to make way for a replacement who would.

Several of the officials said the prince had offered to sweeten the agreement with vastly increased financial support to the Palestinians, and even dangled the possibility of a direct payment to Mr. Abbas, which they said he had refused.

Elegantly put – “even dangled the possibility of a direct payment to Mr. Abbas” aka offered a bribe.

Mr. Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, dismissed the accounts of the Riyadh meeting and the Saudi proposals as “fake news” that “does not exist,” and said the Palestinians were still awaiting a formal proposal from the United States.

But the main points of the Saudi proposal as told to Mr. Abbas were confirmed by many people briefed on the discussions between Mr. Abbas and Prince Mohammed, including Mr. Yousef, the senior Hamas leader; several Western officials; a senior Fatah official; a Palestinian official in Lebanon; a senior Lebanese official; and a Lebanese politician, among others.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Parliament, described a similar set of ideas that he said the Palestinians had received from the Americans and Israelis: a Palestinian state with only “moral sovereignty” and noncontiguous territory and without East Jerusalem as the capital; no Israeli settlement evacuation; and no right of return for Palestinian refugees.

And word of the plan has worried even some of the United States’ closest allies, who are eager for clarification from the White House.

Is this really just Trump, or Trump plus Kushner, doing yet another calculatedly off the charts extreme thing for whatever crazed reason Trump does such things? To rub everyone’s nose in it, to say Because I Can, to smash everything, to drain the swamp?

While the proposals may sound far-fetched on their face, they have deeply alarmed Palestinian and Arab officials because they come in a context of fast-moving new dynamics in the region.

Prince Mohammed, 32, is very close to Mr. Kushner, 36, both young men without much foreign policy experience who see themselves as creative reformers able to break with the ossified thinking of the past.

Uggggggggggh yes that’s what I was afraid of – young empty Mr Kushner thinking he’s a creative reformer. He has no foreign policy experience, none, zero; he is a slum landlord, period. He’s young, he’s shallow, he’s ignorant, he’s corrupt, he’s greedy, he’s happy to treat his wife’s horrible daddy’s job as permission to try to bully the Palestinians into giving everything up. There are rules against this crap, it should be stopped.

And the Saudi prince has made clear that his top priority in the region is not the Palestinian-Israeli issue, the fulcrum of Arab politics for generations, but confronting Iran.

Regional officials and analysts say they believe he might be willing to try to force a settlement on Palestinians in order to cement Israeli cooperation against Iran.


Alarms began to go off across the region last month, when Mr. Abbas started making phone calls to political leaders in the region after he had left Riyadh.

One Lebanese government official who received a call was most surprised by what he said was a Saudi suggestion that the Palestinians could have Abu Dis, a suburb of East Jerusalem, as their capital.

Abu Dis is separated from the city by a wall built as part of Israel’s separation barrier.

The Lebanese official said no Arab could accept that kind of gamesmanship, adding that no one could propose that to a Palestinian unless a person lacking experience was trying to flatter the family of the American president.

This is what the Giant Nepotism Takeover is reaping: the perceived need to flatter the family of the American president cutting gashes in the landscape all over the globe.

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