Portions of Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan are expected to be announced around June 25, and as the deadline approaches, the administration’s confidence in the White House senior adviser appears to be waning. In a recent closed-door meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” and that it might not “gain traction.”
“It may be rejected,” Pompeo said, according to audio obtained by the Washington Post. “Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out.’” Pompeo also said that “I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,” suggesting that the proposed plan would not involve much in the way of concessions from the Netanyahu government. It was a tone that Kushner himself shared in an interview with Axios, saying that Palestinian self-government would be a “high bar.”
Now, according to Politico, some Trump allies are calling for the president’s son-in-law to cancel the rollout of his long-awaited plan. Even prior to its release, conservative and pro-Israel voices close to the administration are stressing over its reveal, concerned that it could “trigger violence” or “could forever kill efforts to craft a two-state solution,” per the report.
“Releasing the plan now would make the U.S. seem unserious,” James Carafano, a senior foreign affairs scholar at the Heritage Foundation, told Politico. “It’s better to wait, perhaps even until after the U.S. elections.” The plan faces a potential deal-breaking political hurdle in Israel, where Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition by the deadline; last Wednesday, the Knesset voted to dissolve itself and hold another election, the second in six months.
Think-tank staffers and Middle East observers are also pushing the administration to halt the plan’s release. The most acute argument comes from Rob Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who argues that an underwhelming peace proposal would result in an immediate rejection from Palestinians. At that point, the right in Israel may argue that the state “has no negotiating partner” and pressure the government to annex parts of the West Bank, further destabilizing the region.
There’s still a lot to unfold before Jared Kushner reveals the economic aspects of the peace plan at a conference in Bahrain that begins June 25. (The administration has said that it will release the political details of the plan at an unspecified later date.) On Sunday, after the less-than-inspiring comments from Mike Pompeo were made public, the president himself said that his secretary of State “may be right” about the proposal; in the past, Trump has called it the “deal of the century.” But prior decisions by the Trump White House — cutting $200 million in aid to Palestinians, shuttering the Palestinian delegation’s office in D.C., and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem — suggest who will benefit from the plan, or even the maintenance of the status quo, if Kushner’s two years of diplomatic role-play come to naught.