Kushner bets he can have it both ways in Jerusalem move

Jared Kushner is normally betting the home on a risky strategy Middle East specialists worry is going to derail any upcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace deal – in addition to what remains of the powerful son-in-law’s shrinking West Wing portfolio.

He privately motivated Trump’s announcement Wednesday that “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” that was viewed by some experts in your community as a setback for peace work led by Kushner and his small crew. The group has made dozens of trips to the region and spent hours on listening tours, working to gain the trust of the Palestinians and the broader Arab universe.

Story Continued Below

“It is extremely, very hard to assume how that peace work can be continued,” said Ghaith al-Omari, who served while an adviser to the Palestinian Authority’s negotiating crew between 1999 and 2002. “All of the Arab leaders who’ve been cultivating relations with the brand new administration will be forced to turn out very strongly from this.”

But a person near Kushner said he was forceful in his backing of the maneuver. “Encouraging would be an understatement,” the person said. “It had been him.”

Kushner offers been hemmed in because the arrival of chief of staff John Kelly, losing his free-floating “initial among equals” status found in the White House, even though wrestling with an increase of scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller. These days, close associates stated, Kushner is generally driven by one goal: to show himself by providing a Middle East peace package many skeptics doubt he can close.

He is banking on the hope that the opposition is just a facade – and that privately, after a “cooling off” period, Arab allies will work with him on a peace plan he even now expects to announce at some time in the first months of 2018..

The most dependable politics newsletter. Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and acquire the latest news, each morning – in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE By registering you consent to receive email news letters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time.

He also sees the decision, people familiar with his thinking said, as one of the most significant techniques by the Trump administration – something that could have repercussions on the region for a long time to come.

“Despite any open public remarks in the Arab world,” said a senior White Property official, “I believe everyone recognizes that without america involvement, the peace deal is not getting done.”

A second White Property official also dismissed potential violent outbursts in a reaction to the announcement as nothing more than a short-term, knee-jerk reaction that will not carry long-term repercussions. “We recognize that there will end up being a lot of predictable template reactions today,” the state said. “We are comfortable enough about getting a peace package done in the foreseeable future and believe all get-togethers understand the central role that america plays in that process.”

For Kushner, the Jerusalem issue also provided a chance to reassert some of his lost authority in the White House. Privately, he informed the president he supported the move, even as Secretary of Express Rex Tillerson and Protection Secretary James Mattis voice their opposition, regarding to multiple officials and outside advisers involved with the administration’s Middle East ideas.

But Kushner’s interior backing of the Jerusalem package – contradicting assistance of senior cabinet secretaries – puts him at risk once again with high-risk political assistance. Kushner continues to be closely connected with his urging, last Might, of Trump to fire his FBI Director James Comey – a decision that result in the appointment of distinctive counsel Robert Mueller and was extensively seen as the largest unforced error of Trump’s first calendar year in office.

“Urging Trump to fire Comey may possibly go down in history as the dumbest little bit of political advice ever presented,” stated Dan Pfeiffer, a ex – adviser to President Barack Obama.

On the Jerusalem issue, a close confidante of Kushner’s stated, the stakes may well not be as high for the trajectory of Trump’s presidency, overall. But they’re large for Kushner. “If he’s right, he will be considered a hero of heroes,” the Kushner ally stated. “He end-ran Tillerson again. If he’s wrong, he’s doomed.”

But Kushner’s view was not a hard put up for sale for a president eager to state victory on a marketing campaign promise, while winning compliment from big pro-Israel donors like Sheldon Adelson. Trump primary promised he would acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital when he shipped a marketing campaign speech – written with weighty input from Kushner – in front of the hard-collection pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC on March 21, 2016.

And his announcement Wednesday collected quick accolades from powerful Jewish interests in the home. The Adelson-funded Republican Jewish Congress, for example, said it planned to perform a full-page advertisement in the brand new York Times on Thursday, beneath the banner headline: “President Trump: You Promised. You Delivered.”

From Kushner’s perspective, according to persons familiar with his thinking, the hope was that the announcement would fulfill a long-standing promise but do little harm to the interactions he has forged with players in the centre East, just like the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, widely referred to as “MBS.”

“I believe [Trump] and Jared number that after all of the posturing and some days of riots, issues get back to normal when it comes to the negotiations,” stated a person near the administration.

Kushner also feels like he has the individual backing of main players in your community. The close confidant who speaks to Kushner on a regular basis stated: “It’’s a bold, bold maneuver. Jared and MBS will be locked at the hip, plus they are saying, 120 years of the hasn’t worked. Let’s consider it inside our hands.”

Publicly, nevertheless, the Saudi King Salman – Mohammad bin Salman’s father – called the Jerusalem embassy move “a dangerous step.”

There have been other small and immediate setbacks Wednesday to the careful outreach to the Arab world that Kushner and his lead Middle East envoy have already been orchestrating over the past ten months. The envoy, Jason Greenblatt, have been planning to spend Wednesday evening at a Christmas party at the Palestine Liberation Organization’s delegation in Washington, a White House recognized said. But that party was canceled after the president’s announcement – an indicator that its leaders didn’t want to be viewed hosting members of the Trump administration in the wake of the Jerusalem announcement.

Kushner and Greenblatt, who offers traveled to the region more than 10 times, have no pending trips planned, a spokesman said. Vice President Mike Pence continues to be scheduled to visit Israel and Egypt in late December.

For now, it’s an open dilemma how much time the “cooling period” may be, and even White House officials conceded they cannot predict the reaction from the Arab universe and are watching carefully.

“I think they’re going to have to have a knee for a time and find out what they’re doing next,” stated Ilan Goldenberg, a former STATE DEPT. recognized under John Kerry. “The dilemma is normally, when can they be observed in public areas with any Arab innovator?”

However the senior White House official stated the timeline for a peace approach hasn’t changed, and that “the decision does not at all hamper our ability to get a peace agreement completed. We’re going to maintain our heads down and maintain doing work through it. When this cooling off period has ended, we’ll be ready.”

Some observers said Kushner may perhaps benefit from even lower expectations.

“It creates the marginal movements for actors [just like bin-Salman and Kind Abdullah of Jordan] much, substantially narrower,” said al-Omari. “The relation with america continues to be fundamental, it’s about Iran, and no-one will hurry that quickly to dismiss Kushner. But when it comes to peace specifically, most will be extremely skeptical.”

Read more on: http://www.politico.com