Jared Kushner is betting on the house for a risky strategy that worries the Middle East experts will fail any future peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as what remains of the powerful portfolio of the west wing of the son-in-law.
encouraged Trump's announcement on Wednesday that "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," which was seen by some experts in the region as a setback for the peace efforts led by Kushner and his small team. The group has made dozens of trips to the region and has spent hours listening to tours, working to gain the trust of the Palestinians and the Arab world in general.
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"It is very, very difficult to imagine how that peace effort can continue," said Ghaith al-Omari, who was an advisor to the Palestinian Authority negotiating team from 1999 to 2002. "All the Arab leaders who have been cultivating relationships with the new administration will be forced to leave – very much against this. "
But a person close to Kushner said he was energetic in his support of the play. "Encouragement would be an underestimate," said the person. "Was the".
Kushner has been cornered since the arrival of Chief of Staff John Kelly, losing his "first peer-to-peer" status in the White House, as he struggled with greater scrutiny from special counselor Robert Mueller. Today, say relatives, Kushner is mainly driven by one goal: to prove his worth by offering a peace agreement in the Middle East, many skeptics doubt that he can close.
He trusts that the opposition will be only a facade, and that in private, after a period of "cooling off", the Arab allies will continue to work with him on a peace plan that he still hopes to announce at some point in the first months of 2018.
He also sees the decision, according to those familiar with his thought, as one of the most important measures of the Trump administration, something that will have repercussions in the region in the coming years. [19659002"InspiteofanypubliccommentintheArabworld"saidaWhiteHouseofficial"IbelievethatallofthemrecognizethattheUnitedStatesparticipatesinthepeaceagreement"
A second White House official also dismissed possible violent explosions in reaction to the announcement as nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction in the short term that will have no long-term repercussions. "We understand that today there will be many predictable template reactions," said the official. "We trust enough to achieve a peace agreement in the future and we believe that all parties understand the central role that the United States plays in that process."
For Kushner, the Jerusalem issue also provided an opportunity to reaffirm some of his lost authority in the White House. In private, he told the president that he supported the measure, even when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed their opposition, according to several external officials and advisers involved in the administration's Middle East plans.
But Kushner's internal endorsement of the Jerusalem agreement – the contradictory advice of senior cabinet secretaries – endangers him once again with high-risk political advice. Kushner is still closely associated with his insistence, last May, that Trump dismiss his FBI director James Comey, a decision that led to the appointment of special adviser Robert Mueller and was widely seen as the biggest unforced error of the first year of Trump in office.
"Urging Trump to dismiss Comey can go down in history as the dumbest political council ever offered," said Dan Pfeiffer, a former aide to President Barack Obama.
On the Jerusalem issue, a close confidant of Kushner said, what is at stake may not be so high for Trump's presidency in general. But they are high for Kushner. "If he's right, he'll be a hero of heroes," said Kushner's ally. "He finished Tillerson again, if he's wrong, he's doomed."
But Kushner's point of view was not hard to sell for a president eager to proclaim victory in a campaign promise, while earning the praise of big pro-Israel donors such as Sheldon Adelson. Trump first promised that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel when he delivered a campaign speech, written with great input from Kushner, in front of the hard-line pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC on March 21, 2016.
White House officials said the decision was finally resolved only by the president, after many advisers informed him of all his options. And although Kushner was an important part of the process, it was a voice among many.
Trump's announcement in Jerusalem picked up quick praise from powerful Jewish interests at home on Wednesday. The Republican Jewish Congress, funded by Adelson, for example, said it planned to publish a full-page ad in the New York Times on Thursday, under the heading: "President Trump: He promised, you delivered."
From the perspective of Kushner, according to people familiar with his thinking, hoped the announcement would fulfill a long-standing promise but that it would not hurt much the relationships he has forged with players in the Middle East, such as the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, widely known as "MBS".
"I think [Trump] and Jared believe that after all the postures and some days of unrest, things are back to normal when it comes to negotiations," said a person close to the administration.
Kushner also feels that he has the private backing of the main actors in the region. The close confidant who speaks with Kushner regularly said: "It's a bold and bold move." Jared and MBS are blocked at the hip, and say that 120 years of this have not worked. Let's take it into our hands. "
Publicly, however, Saudi King Salman, the father of Mohammad bin Salman, called the move of the Jerusalem embassy" a dangerous step. "
There were other small setbacks and immediate on Wednesday for the careful reach to the Arab world that Kushner and his main representative in the Middle East have been orchestrating in the last ten months.The envoy, Jason Greenblatt, had planned to spend Wednesday night at a Christmas party in the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, a White House official said, but that party was canceled after the president's announcement, a sign that its leaders did not want to be seen as hosting the Trump administration after the announcement of Jerusalem.
Kushner and Greenblatt, who have traveled to the region more than Ten times, do not have planned trips planned, said a spokesman. Ke Pence is still scheduled to visit Israel and Egypt at the end of December.
For now, it is an open question how long the "cooling period" could last, and even White House officials admitted that they can not predict the reaction of the Arab world and are watching closely.
"I think they" "I'll have to kneel for a moment and find out what they'll do next," said Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official with John Kerry. "The question is, when can they be seen in public with an Arab leader?"
But the senior White House official said that the timetable for a peace plan has not changed, and that "the decision does not in any way hamper our ability to obtain a completed peace agreement. and keep working on it.When this cooling period ends, we will be ready. "
Some observers said that Kushner could benefit from even lower expectations.
"It makes the marginal movement for actors [like bin-Salman and King Abdullah of Jordan] much, much narrower," he said. al-Omari "The relationship with the United States is still fundamental, it's about Iran, and nobody will rush so quickly to fire Kushner, but when it comes to peace in particular, the majority will be extremely skeptical."