What’s clearly missing from Jared Kushner’s plans for the Isreali-Palestinian crisis is a respect for its history.
In a leaked Q&A session with congressional interns, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner admitted there may be “no solution” to the Isreali-Palestinian crisis or the wider peace problem in the Middle East. This embodies the complexity of the Middle East’s problems and the impracticability of claiming to create peace in the region with an often trivial viewpoint of its potential future.
No, obviously Jared Kushner will not singlehandedly solve the Middle East peace crisis. For that matter, it is unlikely that he will solve it multi-handedly. But for the 36-year-old son in law of the president and senior advisor, the view was optimistic.
Obviously, Kushner was no Middle East or diplomatic expert, but the statements he made sounded awfully like he had a foolproof plan towards creating meaningful stabilization in the region.
Included was a vision of a new solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, which came packaged with an obvious bias he had towards Israel, made obvious by a 20-year long relationship he had with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu. But on July 31st this vision disappeared. Leaked audio of Kushner speaking to congressional interns showed the advisor admitting to the ambiguity of a discernable solution for the situation in the region.
Speaking specifically about the Al-Aqsa situation and more generally later of the wider Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Kushner said “there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problems sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”
One of the more interesting points Kushner made was the long winded statement:
“You know everyone finds an issue, that ‘You have to understand what they did then’ and ‘You have to understand that they did this.’ But how does that help us get peace? Let’s not focus on that. We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation.”
The reality is that Kushner, more than any other person, needs a history lesson
It’s no secret that to understand a situation one must analyze past circumstances and problems, and to further solve that situation they must take what they learned and apply it to a greater understanding of what could possibly happen in the future.
What’s missing from Kushner’s plans for the region: a respect for its history. After all, you can’t simply go ahead and “get peace” without studying a region and understanding why conflict broke out in the first place.
Finding a solution depends on an understanding of both sides of the issue and determining what compromises can be made. Agreements and peace talks only succeed when both sides are satisfied in their representation on the issue and feel that they are equally respected for their position. That is the greater issue in the region.
The fact is that history is overlooked and current events are not analyzed nearly enough by events passed. You don’t have to read Edward Said to understand that trivializing and simplifying the Middle East is a bad idea. And the assumption that any long term peace can be made without a solid understanding of the issue at hand is what has created failed peace agreements. Kushner must learn both sides of Palestinian and Israeli tensions before he decides to come up with a peace plan. Otherwise, it will inevitably fail. Indeed if he truly wants to “offer something unique” he should try to understand where others in his position failed, and learn from their mistakes. The biggest of them — a lack of an appreciation for the complexity of the situation.