Alleged Kushner Middle East Peace Plan Includes Jordan-Saudi Land Swap
White House Advisor Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace proposal allegedly included a land swap plan where Jordan would receive Saudi Arabian land if Jordan turned over land to the Palestinians.
Jared Kushner’s proposal to make “the Deal of the Century” and establish peace between Israel and Palestine was revealed in a new book Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. The book was released on Tuesday, but some White House officials immediately disputed the book’s claims.
According to the book’s author, journalist Vicky Ward, Kushner’s concept calls on Jordan to give land to the Palestinians, and “in return, Jordan would get land from Saudi Arabia, and that country would get back two Red Sea islands it gave Egypt to administer in 1950.”
Ward also said Donald Trump’s son-in-law wants Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to deliver economic aid to Palestinians.
“There were plans for an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Gaza, where refineries and a shipping terminal could be built. The profits would create desalination plants, where Palestinians could find work, addressing the high unemployment rate,” Ward explained.
Last February, Kushner, who had no diplomatic and foreign affairs experience before becoming one of the most influential advisors at the White House, said that Washington would be ready to reveal a draft of the peace deal after Israel’s election in April.
The book also detailed that Kushner has been particularly focused on US-Israel relations since his father-in-law’s presidential campaign in 2016. The book claims that during the early days of the Trump government, Kushner clashed with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the Middle East, telling him he, not Tillerson, was responsible for the Middle East peace plan.
What Is the Middle East ‘Deal of the Century’?
The coinage “Deal of the Century” is not new; it originated in 2006 when Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert initiated what he called the Olmert-Abbas deal. Mahmud Abbas was the President of Palestine at the time and still is. The deal went nowhere because Olmert lost the next election to the current prime minister conservative Benjamin Netanyahu.
The former Israeli security adviser Giora Eiland wrote the guidelines of the deal in 2010. The former major general proposed one of two solutions to end the dispute with Palestinians: the establishment of a Palestine-Jordan federation government by re-creating Jordan with three states; the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the East Bank.
The other was a territorial swap, based on the premise that Egypt must be willing to release 720 square kilometers of the Sinai Peninsula to a Palestinian state in the future. On the other hand, Egypt would get the southern part of the Negev, which was Israel-occupied territory in 1948.
Kushner, who toured the Middle East with White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and the State Department’s envoy to Iran Brian Hook, highlighted four pillars as the basic principles of the deal; respect, freedom, security, and opportunity.
Unlike previous international efforts to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict, Kushner explained that the current plan provides incentives that enable both Israelis and Palestinians to remove all obstacles that halt their “global integration.”
A unified Palestine is one of the crucial items highlighted in the deal, as opposed to the current situation with the divided West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Many Doubt the Peace Plan Will End the Israel-Palestine Conflict
While the deal’s details will be officially released publicly in April, there have been some leaks already. One leak in 2017 said that Palestinians would have to abandon East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine, and Israel would have to pull out from villages in East and North Jerusalem, as the Palestine Chronicle explained.
Allegedly illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land would not be demolished. The Jewish state would still maintain control over the Jordan Valley and the Old City. Palestinian refugees would also lose their returning rights to their homes.
Some believe such a deal is doomed to failure as Lebanese Prime Minister Gebran Bassil has said. Bassil voiced pessimism over the fate of the peace plan, saying that it “will not survive.”
“We want to have a strong state like the United States as a true sponsor of peace, and to have integrated roles with Russia and the European Union to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Arab states, in accordance with the rights that Israel must return to Palestine,” Bassil said.
An American researcher specializing in the Middle East, Joe Macaron, criticized the deal for not including the role of the conflicting parties, including Palestinians, in a peace negotiation process.
In Ward’s book, she wrote that the Palestinians are not included in the process due to a worsening relationship with the U.S. after Trump relocated the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem- which the Palestinians also claim as their capital.
What’s unclear is how accurate Ward’s book is. Ward cited as her sources “multiple people who saw drafts of the plan” that Kushner created.
However, White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt claimed, “No one who has seen the plan would spread misinformation like that,” he tweeted. “Whoever made these claims has bad info.”