Top White House official Brett McGurk is quietly floating a controversial plan to reconstruct Gaza after Israel’s assault concludes, HuffPost has learned, despite serious concerns from some officials inside the administration that it would sow the seeds for future instability in the region.
In recent weeks, McGurk has been pitching national security officials on a plan suggesting an approximately 90-day timeline for what should happen once active fighting in Gaza ends, three U.S. officials said. It argues that stability can be achieved in the devastated Palestinian region if American, Israeli, Palestinian and Saudi officials launch an urgent diplomatic effort that prioritizes the establishment of Israel-Saudi ties, the officials continued. Such a development is widely referred to as “normalization,” given Saudi Arabia’s refusal to recognize Israel since its founding in 1948.
There is a widespread belief that similar U.S.-led deals that involved Israel and other regional Arab governments — and that downplayed Palestinian concerns — have fueled anger and violence, including the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and other Palestinian militants inside Israel.
Still, U.S. President Joe Biden has echoed his predecessor Donald Trump in arguing that those agreements are vital for the region’s future. Biden’s focus on an Israel-Saudi pact has been especially alarming for Palestinians and officials working on Israeli-Palestinian peace. And McGurk’s accelerated timeline has only caused more concern. [Continue reading…]
20 hours after my deadline—now my story has been read by >150k people—WH has sent comment. Spox Adrienne Watson: "This story is not true. Quotes attributed to US officials are made up."
Watson played no role in my interviews.
My quotes are real. Biden team again echoing Trump. https://t.co/cQLVJgnnSK
— Akbar Shahid Ahmed (@AkbarSAhmed) January 13, 2024