The U.S. Peace Plan Is Likely to Do More Harm Than Good

During an interview with Robert Satloff at the beginning of the month, the president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner revealed much about the administration’s yet-to-be-unveiled proposal for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. On the basis of what he learned in the interview, Satloff concludes that the plan is unlikely to succeed and, moreover, that the costs of yet another failed peace initiative are much greater than the costs of inaction:

[Kushner’s apparent] indifference to the potential implications of failure is why I believe not only that his plan poses a danger to U.S. interests but that it is reckless for the administration even to give it a try. While the United States should certainly be prepared to offer its own ideas to help the parties close the final gap in negotiations—as Jimmy Carter did at Camp David in 1979, after Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat, and their teams had already spent seventeen months in intensive bargaining—the chasm between Israelis and Palestinians today is so wide that no conceivable bridging formula exists.

Viewed this way, the specific details of what Kushner and co. are preparing to put on the table don’t really matter because, in the current political environment, there is no possible overlap between the most Israel will offer and the least the Palestinians will accept (and vice-versa). Giving it the old college try—which is essentially what President Trump has empowered Kushner to do—is not admirable; it is irresponsible. . . .

Indeed, Kushner may think that his plan will survive as the new reference point for future negotiations even if it fails to achieve a peace breakthrough, but it is at least as likely that those ideas—even if they are solid, worthy, valuable ideas—get tossed in the diplomatic dung-heap by Trump’s successors. Given America’s deeply tribal political partisanship, it is not difficult to imagine a future administration—especially a Democratic one—refusing to reconsider proposals on such issues as security arrangements, refugee resettlement, Palestinian political reform, and regional economic development if they bear the Trumpian stamp. And because the Kushner team approaches these issues with a deep affinity for Israel, this is likely to harm ideas that seem especially friendly to the Jewish state. This is why I hope that Benjamin Netanyahu comes to his senses and does what he can to scuttle the “deal of the century” before it becomes formal U.S. policy.

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Read more at American Interest

More about: Camp David Accords, Jared Kushner, Peace Process

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism