1. Killing two states with one plan: In what may be the Trump administration’s most pointed comments yet against the two-state solution concept, Jared Kushner, senior aide and son-in-law to US President Donald Trump, told a conference Tuesday that previous solutions put forward to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had “failed.”
- “We’ve taken what I think is an unconventional approach. We’ve studied the past efforts and how they failed and why they failed… We’ve tried to do it a bit differently,” he told the Time 100 conference.
- The comments are widely seen as an indictment of the two-state solution.
- Barak Ravid of Axios notes that Kushner was asked directly about the two-state solution but refused to answer; instead he “referred to the Arab peace initiative from 2002 — which called for a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital — as reflecting what he called ‘old talking points.’”
- “Two states? We’ll do something different,” reads a headline on the Mako website of Channel 12 news.
- After Sky News Arabia reported over the weekend that a senior US official, widely reported to be Jason Greenblatt, said the two-state solution term was not helping matters, a spokesperson confirms to ToI the comments: “The ‘two state solution’ term means different things to different people. There is no point in using a phrase that never achieved peace. Our plan provides a clear, realistic and detailed vision of what peace could actually look like.”
2. Change we can’t undo: In Politico, Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky argue that the administration is trying not only to change the conversation, but to change things in such a way that future administrations can never go back to the way things are, to the detriment of all.
- This includes not just the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but the Iran deal and a host of other policies.
- “Whatever Trump’s personal inclinations to prove he’s the world’s greatest negotiator on Iran, his hard-line advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, want to get rid of the mullahs who rule the Islamic Republic, not engage them. Pompeo and Bolton are now pulling out all the stops not only to provoke Iran into withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—and maybe into a fight as well—but to block a successor from engineering either a broader geopolitical pivot toward Iran or to engage in diplomacy to resolve outstanding US-Iranian differences,” they write.
- “As for Israel, whatever the president’s personal views on Israeli-Palestinian peace (and during the campaign they were more balanced than they are today), Jared Kushner and his team now seem hellbent on producing a ‘made in Israel’ peace plan that will be dead before arrival and drive the final nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support,” they add.
In Israel Hayom, Eyal Zisser also writes that the proposal will have far-reaching implications even if/when it goes nowhere 3. Golan Towers: Kushner’s comments don’t get a ton of play in Israel, and what little coverage there is focuses on him saying both sides will need to make painful concessions. (And in the US they are overshadowed by his dismissal of Russian meddling in the investigation.) 4. Dem Dems: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is catching some flak for calling the Netanyahu government “dare I say, racist.”
- In a tweet that does not mention Sanders directly, AIPAC tut-tuts over the “name-calling.”
- The group confirms to JTA that it is indeed talking about Sanders.
- Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi calls Sanders’s comments “strange” several times and says they deserve to be condemned.
- Haaretz’s Amir Tibon and Amos Harel write that Israel is concerned about Democrats wanting to re-enter the nuclear deal and making it an issue during the 2020 campaign.
5. Down and out in Ayoub Kara’s head: Yedioth Ahronoth writes that outspoken Likud Minister Ayoub Kara, who will soon be out of a job, is fuming at everyone over the seeming end of his political career. 6. Compromise or wish list? Israel Hayom reports that the ultra-Orthodox may be willing to compromise on a law to regulate members of their community being drafted into the military. 7. Putting the jam in Benjamin: Coalition talks won’t really get underway until after Passover, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making like the rest of the country and traveling around.
- During a trip to the beach in Caesarea on Monday, eagle-eyed journalists took notice of what looked to be a new and scarily giant-looking gun wielded by one of Netanyahu’s bodyguards.
- While it looks like a death ray, speculation is that the gun is just a UAV jammer, to keep prying eyes away, and it does appear to look exactly like the Chinese-made Hikvision Defender.
Catch me if you can, Israeli journalism style: Some will do anything to get a picture of someone they aren’t supposed to. Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson writes on Twitter about the time he came up with a madcap plan to snap a picture of the famously paparazzi-shy Leonardo Dicaprio when he was in Israel with then girlfriend Bar Refaeli over 10 years ago.