Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East conference: Will Kushner reveal peace ‘deal of the century’?

An international conference for a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East will meet in Warsaw on Wednesday and Thursday Feb 13 and 14, 2019. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and other administration officials will attend.

A question arises: Will Kushner reveal U.S. President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

Kushner and other administration officials will also swing through Middle Eastern Arab countries later in February, possibly to garner economic support for Palestinian development.

This report has been gleaned from the AP by way of The Washington Post, “US officials visiting Mideast to seek backing for peace plan,” February 11, 2019. Also from the “U.S. Department of State Weekly Digest Bulletin.”

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Both eyes working

The Paul Manafort verdict was in and was to be announced on August 21, 2018.

In watching TV reports, Trump campaign operatives were somber.

Everyone seemed to be working or chatting with one eye while keeping the other fixed on the television.

Luckily, they weren’t chatting with both eyes.

from: Corey R. Lewandowski and David N. Bossie. Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2018, p. 239.

Russia’s Lavrov decries ‘plunge in U.S. journalism standards’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on January 16, 2019, that U.S. newspaper reports about an FBI investigation of whether President Trump was working on Moscow’s behalf reflected a plunge in journalism standards. Lavrov dismissed the idea as “absurd.”

It seems to me that this is a projection. Russia has a muzzled journalism. Its journalists lack independence. Even more so, Russian journalists have been murdered in recent times.

Criminality reigns in Russia from the highest reaches down. No law enforcement agency in Russia can investigate alleged criminality, in contrast to the U.S.’s FBI.

So the pot is calling the kettle black.

Source: “Kremlin calls idea that Trump worked for Moscow ‘absurd’.” The Washington Post. January 16, 2019.

‘The whole nine yards’

We commonly use the expression “the whole nine yards” to mean absolutely everything. The origin of this expression stems from the military. As Alan Axelrod writes,

The length of a complete standard .50-mm machine gun ammo belt: twenty-seven feet.
To feed the gunner the entire belt was to give him (or the enemy target) “the whole nine yards”; hence the popular expression for giving, getting, or doing absolutely everything.

from – Alan Axelrod, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: the Real Language of the Modern American Military. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, p. 205.

Macron: ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism.’

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced nationalism: “It’s a betrayal of moral values.”

Nationalism is “the egotism of a people only concerned with their own interests,” Macron said on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He was speaking to a gathering of national leaders to commemorate 100 years since the armistice that ended World War I. The armistice of November 11, 1918, marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany.

“By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values,” the French President said.

This vision of France as a generous nation, of France as a project, of France as a bearer of universal values was in these somber hours exactly the opposite of the egotism of a people only concerned with their own interests. Because patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism betrays it. By saying we put ourselves first and the others don’t matter, we erase that which is most precious to a nation — that which gives it life, that which makes it great, that which is the most important: its moral values.

(as translated into English from French)

(As reported by The Washington Post, “Macron denounces nationalism as a ‘betrayal of patriotism’ in rebuke to Trump at WWI remembrance,” in its video stream, and by the Associated Press.)

U.S. to reveal ‘Deal of the Century’ to Israel in early November

from: Middle East Monitor (MEMO) | October 27, 2018

Israeli public radio reported that the U.S. administration would reveal the details of its “Deal of the Century” to Israel during the first week of November.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, is scheduled to travel to the region to meet with Israeli officials and reveal the details of the U.S. plan, Quds Press reported.

The so-called “Deal of the Century” is claimed by Trump’s Administration to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict …

(See MEMO’s original article with its pro-Palestinian rhetoric.)

Demise of the U.S. Consulate General to Jerusalem after 174 years

On October 18, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the merger of the U.S. Consulate General to Jerusalem with its Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

Citing significant efficiencies and increased effectiveness, Pompeo said that a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem will be conducted through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the U.S. Embassy.

Pompeo added that this action does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip. “As the President proclaimed in December of last year, the United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders. The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.”

The Consulate General to Jerusalem was established as an independent mission in 1844. Since 1912, it has operated out of a complex on Agron Street in western Jerusalem not far from its earliest location in the Old City.

The U.S. State Department built a contemporary annex in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood. Although styled as an annex, this new campus is larger than the facilities on Agron Street.

In May 2018, the U.S. Embassy to Israel began operations on a small scale in the Arnona annex.