Jordan’s king tells Trump adviser peace can only come with a Palestinian state

Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner in Amman, Jordan, May 29, 2019. (Yousef Allan/Royal Palace/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 30 May 2019
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Jordan’s king tells Trump adviser peace can only come with a Palestinian state

  • Jordan stands by a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • This exposed a rift with the US as the Trump administration tries to rally Arab support for a peace conference in Bahrain

AMMAN: US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on Wednesday met Jordan’s king on the second leg of a mini-regional tour aimed at finding support for his Israel-Palestinian peace plan, the royal palace said.
King Abdullah II insisted on the “need to intensify efforts to achieve a comprehensive and lasting peace based on the two-state solution that would guarantee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
Presidential advisers Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with King Abdullah and the official Petra news agency said the two parties “discussed regional developments, especially efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
The remarks, which were carried in a palace statement, were made in the presence of Kushner.
Kushner, who is seeking support for his long-delayed but controversial Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, arrived in Jordan from Morocco, where he met King Mohammed VI. Moroccan officials declined commenting on Kushner’s visit.


He is scheduled to travel to Israel next.
The Moroccan king chairs the Al-Quds Committee, an organization that brings together supporters of the Palestinian cause in the Arab world.
It was created by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation to work for the preservation of the religious, cultural and urban heritage of Jerusalem.
The United States is expected to roll out the economic aspects of the peace plan at a conference in Bahrain on June 25-26.
Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the Bahrain gathering is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.
Jordan, a key US ally, has not yet said whether it will attend the June 25-26 meeting in Manama, capital of Bahrain. The Palestinians have already said they will not attend the summit and have rejected the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan out of hand.
They have boycotted the US administration since Trump broke with decades of consensus and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
Kushner has said the conference will focus on the economic foundations of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The conference will not include core political issues, such as Palestinian statehood.
Trump’s office said the conference was a “pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”
The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.
“Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Reliant on American political and military support, it will be difficult for Jordan reject the invitation. But with most of its people of Palestinian descent, it will be difficult to embrace a plan that does not include a Palestinian state.

The meeting in Rabat focused on developments in the Middle East and North Africa as well as strengthening the partnership between Morocco and the US, a palace spokesman told AFP.
Greenblatt tweeted that he and Kushner shared an iftar dinner — the traditional meal to break the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — with Morocco’s king, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.
“Thank you to His Majesty for a special evening and for sharing your wisdom,” Greenblatt wrote. “Morocco is an important friend & ally of the United States.”


Israel spyware firm can mine data from social media: FT

Updated 26 min 43 sec ago
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Israel spyware firm can mine data from social media: FT

  • An Israeli cybersecurity company has developed spyware that can scrape data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft products
  • Pegasus harvests not only data stored on a device, but also any information stored in the cloud, including a user’s location data, archived messages and photos

JERUSALEM: An Israeli spyware firm thought to have hacked WhatsApp in the past has told clients it can scoop user data from the world’s top social media, the Financial Times reported Friday.
The London paper wrote that NSO group had “told buyers its technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, according to people familiar with its sales pitch.”
An NSO spokesperson, responding in a written statement to AFP’s request for comment, denied the allegation.
“There is a fundamental misunderstanding of NSO, its services and technology,” it said.
“NSO’s products do not provide the type of collection capabilities and access to cloud applications, services, or infrastructure as listed and suggested in today’s FT article.”
In May, Facebook-owned WhatsApp said it had released an update to plug a security hole in its messaging app that allowed insertion of sophisticated spyware that could be used to spy on journalists, activists and others.
It said the attack bore “all the hallmarks of a private company that works with a number of governments around the world.”
It did not name a suspect but Washington-based analyst Joseph Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said at the time that the hack appeared related to the NSO’s Pegasus software.
It is normally sold to law enforcement and intelligence services.
Friday’s FT report, citing documents it had viewed and descriptions of a product demonstration, said the program had “evolved to capture the much greater trove of information stored beyond the phone in the cloud, such as a full history of a target’s location data, archived messages or photos.”
NSO says it does not operate the Pegasus system, only licensing it to closely vetted government users “for the sole purpose of preventing or investigating serious crime including terrorism.”
The group came under the spotlight in 2016 when researchers accused it of helping spy on an activist in the United Arab Emirates.
NSO is based in the Israeli seaside hi-tech hub of Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. It says it employs 600 people in Israel and around the world.
Pegasus is a highly invasive tool that can reportedly switch on a target’s cell phone camera and microphone, and access data on it, effectively turning the phone into a pocket spy.
“Increasingly sophisticated terrorists and criminals are taking advantage of encrypted technologies to plan and conceal their crimes, leaving intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the dark and putting public safety and national security at risk,” the company statement said.
“NSO’s lawful interception products are designed to confront this challenge.”