In 2017, Trump gave his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a job with a rather vague description: Kushner was put in charge of brokering the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
Since the beginning of his job, Kushner had seemed bent on undermining whatever peace could have been cultivated between Israel and Palestine. Instead, Kushner seems to be doing his job with only one aim in mind: to pry Palestine away from the families who have lived there and forced out of their homes.
In his most recent exercise in “brokering peace,” Kushner has tried to block the aid that Palestinian refugees living in Jordan receive from a UN agency.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was formed in 1949 to provide aid to Palestinians displaced after the State of Israel appeared on the map. For decades, the agency has been giving food and basic amenities of life to Palestinians derived of their homeland. Now, emails sent at the beginning of this year reveal that Kushner pressured Jordan to strip two million Palestinians living in the country of their refugee status.
“It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” read an email Kushner allegedly wrote on Jan. 11 and addressed to several senior officials, including Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt.
“This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace,” he continued.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said that Kushner insists that Palestinian refugees should be resettled in their host countries.
If Palestinians are stripped of their citizenship, there would be two long-lasting effects. The more obvious one would be that they will be rendered even more vulnerable after they stop receiving aid from UNRWA. There will be many sinister offshoots of this development. Presently, 44 percent of the 2 million Palestinians in Jordan are unemployed. With even greater threats to their livelihoods, the forcefulness of Palestinian Muslims’ fight for their country may weaken.
More importantly, the refugee status keeps intact the Palestinians’ connection to their homeland. If they are no longer the refugees who were originally from Palestine, that connection would be severed. In this way, Palestine’s argument that families torn apart from Palestine have a “right to return” to the country may also crumble. Currently, Israeli leaders contest this argument, saying Palestinians do not have the right to come back.
It is unsurprising that Kushner so openly works for the vested interests of the Israeli state.
As a businessman, Kushner has some serious financial ties to Israel. Just before Kushner accompanied his father-in-law on an official visit to Israel, his family’s real estate company received a $30 million investment from Minora Mitvachim, an insurer and one of Israel’s largest financial institutions.
Israel is also one of the four countries who reportedly pondered how best to eke out political advantages from the U.S. by exploiting Kushner’s financial interests and easing the many financial problems that plague his real estate ventures.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters