Articles > > No Coincidence

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-07-23
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

The U.S. president's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt are about to embark on a tour of the region, but this time around, the administration's spoiled kid will be accompanied by the president's special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, and [Kushner's] assistant Avi Berkowitz..
This can be no mere coincidence; the connection between the Iranian and Palestinian issues has become deeply institutionalized in the Trump administration's considerations and political behavior.
The failed [June] Manama workshop will occupy pride of place in the U.S. delegation's talks with senior officials in the various capitals, but some sources believe that this tour may be different than others, perhaps unveiling some of the political aspects of the 'deal of the century' so to pave the way for its anticipated announcement in November after the early [September] Israeli elections and the next Israeli government's formation. However, Egypt's absence from Kushner's schedule casts some doubt on this hypothesis.
Reports also suggest that there may have been a change to the U.S. administration's preferences vis-a-vis the next Israeli government's composition and its alliances. While the U.S. continues to relish dealing with a right-wing/far-right government, it seems to have concluded that an Israeli national unity government would provide stronger leverage for passing the deal, especially since the future of its trusted ally and spoiled son Benyamin Netanyahu promises to be fraught with scandals and judicial investigations that could destroy his political prospects.
In that vein, there are those who believe that it is possible, if unlikely, that the substance of the deal and its main elements will be revealed, either officially or in leaks, so as to serve political mobilization in Israel that would allow the chances of a national unity government to prevail over a far-right one.
Such an effort could clash with Netanyahu's priorities, the first and foremost of which is staying in power. Israeli reports maintain that Netanyahu is in a feverish race against time to defend his personal and political future. Perhaps for the first time he finds himself facing one of two options: To renew his term as PM in agreement with the right and the safety net of its parties, or spend the rest of his life behind bars. That has prompted analysts to predict that he might undertake the last hurrah of his political life and launch a harsh and decisive war on the Gaza Strip in an entirely unguaranteed gamble with consequences that may hasten his departure from the political stage or send him to prison.
Nothing is certain yet, either in terms of when the 'deal of the century' will be revealed, or Netanyahu's choices in what remains of his term. The one certain thing is that the Palestinian people, who have rejected the 'deal of the century' in a rare consensus, will not change their mind and accept it, despite the hefty olive branch Kushner has sought to extend between the U.S. and Palestinian presidents.
Gaza has been stalwart in its steadfastness amid the destabilization and isolation wrought by three major wars and the frequent and pervasive hostilities, and it may end up being Netanyahu's graveyard and the last nail in his coffin as head of the Israeli government.