Steve September 17, 2020

Ascribing the euphemism, peace, for formally normalizing the relationship between
the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the smaller Island of Bahrain with Israel,
is an abysmal attempt to repackage Jarred Kushner’s string of failures and Donald
Trump’s obsession for a pseudo achievement in a difficult election year.

Perched behind the Resolute desk on August 13, Trump mispronounced the name
of the UAE Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed, proclaiming what he described as
the first “Historic Peace Agreement” in 25 years. Archetypical of
the President self-aggrandizing, he professed, “Everybody said this would
be impossible …”

“Everybody,” possibly except for Trump and Kushner, had known of
UAE and Bahrain, not so secretive, back channels with Israel. In October 2018,
the racist Israeli minister of culture, who likened the mosque’s Azan to barking
dogs, was welcomed in Abu Dhabi, toured Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and Israel’s national
anthem played in the UAE capital.

In June 2019, on the side of Kushner’s botched “deal of the century”
peace conference in Manama, Israeli journalists posed openly next to landmarks
around the Bahraini capital

With a background in real estate, both Kushner and his father in law, Trump,
came from an industry imbued with apathetic market manipulators who inflate
value to sell, and undervalue assets to buy. The culture had molded Kushner’s
personality at a young age. Most of his recognized successes in the private
business accredited to arm-twisting economically distressed property owners
and the evictions of low income renters in New York.

The same knack that gave Kushner an advantage in the world’s financial capital
was in itself the very reason for his abject failure in brokering peace between
Palestine and Israel. Ironically, however, the same had led to the superficial
success in the normalization of relation between the two Arab states and Israel.

In the first instance, and despite reading twenty five books on the Palestine
Israeli issue, Kushner flunked the test. He failed for employing New York techniques
and misconstruing the seventy years grievance for an opportunity to coerce the
economically distressed Palestinians to accept a bad deal.

A plan prepared by Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz, David Friedman, and presented
by Kushner, all bono fide American Zionists. Kushner and Friedman are major
donors subsidizing illegal “Jewish only” colonies over the same occupied
Palestinian land slated for negotiation in their peace plan. Besides the conflict
of interest, Kushner and company are ideologically incapable of being objective

On the second, his approach succeeded because his Arab counterparts were susceptible
to New York street pressure and had much deficit to reconcile with the Trump

Unlike previous US presidents, Trump reminded Arab Gulf Royals bluntly that
America’s protection was the only legitimacy they have to maintain their DNA
qualified familial rules. In October 2018 at a campaign stop, Trump addressed
the Saudi King, “You might not be there for two weeks without us.”

Following the CIA conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman, had
ordered the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump shared a practical example of his role when he bragged in a recorded conversation
with Bob Woodward how he saved the Saudi Crown Prince “ass.”

While a Saudi payback would have been the preferred option to temper Kushner’s
list of failures, however―typical of a New York real estate loser―he
settled for a diminutive faux peace between parties that had never engaged in

The formal normalization of the back channels is the product of a symbiotic
relationship between Trump and Arab Gulf Royals. Having mismanaged COVID-19
and aftermath economic crises, Trump despaired for an election boost, possibly
a stunt to gain favor with pro-Israeli voters in swing states like Pennsylvania
and Florida.

Gulf Royals on the other hand, fear a new American administration where US
Congress could reopen the CIA findings on the murder of the Washington journalist,
vote to halt US weapons, or investigate Amnesty International reports asserting
Saudi led war crimes in Yemen.

Fright in the Gulf, election anxiety in Washington crafted the opportunity
for a mediocre accord between Israel and two Arab rulers lacking valid popular

This week, Kushner stands to celebrate another faux achievement. Following
three and a half years, he produced a molehill when he promised mountain of
a deal. Or to paraphrase a well-known Arabic proverb: after long and arduous
birth pangs, the camel gave birth to a mouse

Mr. Kanj is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from
a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His second coauthored novel, “Bride
of the Sea,” published in Germany and Poland. He can be reached at [email protected].

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