Monday, July 16, 2012

Washington to Havana via Palestine (Updated)

Thanks to Café Fuerte, I ran across articles and a set of e-mails that detail a gambit in the case of jailed USAID contractor Alan Gross that reaches to Palestine and involves a freelance Israeli negotiator and Gross’ attorney. 

One participant, the Israeli, confirmed that the e-mails are authentic.  Others have been silent, so it is impossible to know if all the details are correct.

According to the story, the deal was that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, would urge Cuba to release Alan Gross, and in return for his release or for Abbas’ efforts, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen would desist from blocking USAID money destined for Palestine.  The proposal did not work out, although the e-mail trail stops before any reporting of Cuba’s response.  After Abbas’ efforts, the Congresswoman lifted her objection to the release of half the money, although it is not known whether she was motivated by Abbas’ action or by other factors.

The story from the Ma’an News Agency is here and the e-mail trail is published here.

Update: Today’s Herald story here including comment from spokesman for Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

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