What happens when you put a rabidly pro-Israel 37 year old with no track record in politics in charge of the nation's foreign policy? Apparently needless destruction, cruelty, and suffering.
The president's son-in-law and failed businessman Jared Kushner is attempting to make his mark in the Trump administration by throwing as many wrenches into the peace process in the Middle East as possible. This week, Kushner apparently pushed extremely hard to ensure the US stopped all its funding to a United Nations agency providing vital help to millions of Palestinian refugees who have lost their land to Jewish settlers. From the New York Times:
The move [to end the funding] was pushed hardest by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser on the Middle East, as part of a plan to compel Palestinian politicians to drop demands for many of those refugees to return to what they call their homeland, said the former official, R. David Harden, who worked at the United States Agency for International Development until April.
Each year, the State Department transfers money by the end of September to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as Unrwa, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. Earlier this year, the State Department released $60 million of $350 million allocated for the agency, but Mr. Kushner and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, have decided not to give the remaining $290 million, said Mr. Harden, who was briefed on the plans and oversaw projects in the Palestinian territories for more than a decade.
The decision was made this month at a meeting between the officials, Mr. Harden said. Mr. Pompeo argued against cutting the funding so drastically, but Mr. Kushner took a strong stance and won out, he added.
When you consider the fact that Mike Pompeo is himself, a rabidly pro-Israel hawk with a perfect track record of siding with the most militantly right wing elements of Israel's political system, it puts just how insane Kushner is into context. It would seem that while ostensibly responsible for creating "a great deal" between both sides, Kushner is mostly interested in ensuring maximum suffering for the Palestinian people -- a tactic that most US administrations in recent history have used with no success whatsoever.
Kushner however, isn't content with staying within the mainstream of American foreign policy parameters -- he is looking to push the envelope and ensure no peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis can ever happen. Having pushed hard to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Kushner helped ensure that the US could never be trusted to mediate a deal -- a fact he surely had to have been aware of given the Palestinian leadership made it abundantly how they felt.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that the Trump administration "has disqualified his country from any possible role in the peace process" and "destroyed any possibility of peace" between Israelis and Palestinians.
Fast forward nine months, and the situation has deteriorated further with the Trump administration adding insult to injury by punishing those most affected by the conflict. The US contribution to the UN fund is by far the biggest, and without it the rest of the international community will have to scramble to make it up. The move is also highly symbolic and a message to the Palestinians that they do not matter to the United States. So not only can there now be no peace, there can only be more violence. And we can almost exclusively thank Jared Kushner for that.