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President Trump held rally with Ted Cruz in Houston, Texas on Oct. 22

Trump speaks at rally for Sen. Cruz

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HOUSTON – President Trump went to Houston, Texas Monday for a "Make America Great Again” rally for Sen. Ted Cruz.

Khashoggi’s killing threatens Trump dreams for Mideast peace

In recent months, the Trump administration has repeatedly put off the release of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan. Now, the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents may put the plan into a deep freeze.

Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was meant to be the linchpin of the plan, providing key diplomatic cover to both Israelis and Palestinians. But with the Saudi prince’s credibility facing serious questions following Khashoggi’s death, President Donald Trump may soon have to rethink his Mideast strategy.

“It definitely complicates their plans to release their proposal, if indeed they have one,” said Dan Shapiro, who served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Israel.

Trump took office promising a new approach to peace making between Israel and the Palestinians.

Criticizing decades of failure by his predecessors, he named a Mideast team headed by his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. The team has deep ties to Israel and the West Bank settler movement.

The Trump administration notably refused to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state, distancing itself from the two-state solution favored by the international community for more than two decades.

Instead, Kushner’s team turned to the Saudis, hoping that the kingdom’s deep pockets and prestige in the Arab world could somehow help bring the Israelis and Palestinians together.

Kushner struck up a special relationship with the crown prince, portraying him as a swashbuckling force, a leader who could help modernize a troubled region. Last year, Kushner paid a secret visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss his strategy for Israel and the Palestinians.

 


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