US PresidentDonald Trump‘s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is inIsraelfor the final leg of another Middle Easttourbefore the scheduled meeting in theBahraini capitalof Manama where the economic aspect of the much-talked-about Israel-Palestine plan will finally be unveiled.
The “workshop” in Manama being organised as part of the so-called “deal of the century” pushed by the Trump administration will not discuss the political aspects of the conflict, and instead will seek to encourage investment in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Palestinian leadership, which has criticised the peace proposal, was not consulted about the Manama conference, which is not expected to address the core political issues of the conflict: final borders, the status ofJerusalem, or the fate of Palestinian refugees.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyehsaidlast week that “any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation.”
Political analyst Hani al-Masri said Kushner came at “the worst time” with Knessetdissolvedfollowing the failure of Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahuto form a coalition government before Wednesday’s midnight deadline.
“The call for renewed Israeli elections in September means that the deal will be put on hold for another few months, aggravating the situation,” Masri told Al Jazeera, speaking from the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
Al Jazeera correspondent Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said that the uncertainty in Israeli politics has “certainly complicated things”.
“He [Kushner] may have expected to come here to speak to Netanyahu on the day that he’d confirmed his government but now, of course, that isn’t the case,” he said.
Cut off relations with the US
“The Palestinian Authority will be at risk of a breakdown because the tax revenues that are usually withheld by Israel were supposed to be released to the PA after the formation of the new Israeli government,” Masri said.
Masri said Kushner’s latest visit is an attempt to salvage the Manama summit, especially after a “general consensus from the Palestinian side – the government, civil society, and private sector – who expressed their rejection and non-participation.”
Morocco and Jordan, however, fell short of stating whether they will attend. The Jordanian Royal Court issued astatementafter the delegation meeting, in which King Abdullah “stressed the need to step up all efforts to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution”.
The two-state solution, based onUnited Nationsresolutions, calls for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel on the 1967 borders, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.
But Kushner hinted that the plan will not propose two states for Israelis and Palestinians – for decades the US-backed goal in marathon peace talks.
The Bahrain gathering is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.
The only Arab states to confirm their presence for the Manama conference, which is scheduled for June 25-26, are Saudi Arabia, theUnited Arab Emiratesand Qatar.
The Al Jazeera correspondent said that “the US administration had already put off the plan, the political part of the plan, in accordance with the unexpectedly early Israeli elections called in April. Will they have to do that again?”
“If they do, then we start getting into the US election season ahead of the 2020 election.
“In any case, Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinians, is saying the deal of the century now looks like it might be the deal of next century,” he said.