Trump to Kushner: If you can’t make Mideast peace, no one can
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Trump to Kushner: If you can’t make Mideast peace, no one can

Israeli minister calls on president-elect to keep campaign pledge to move embassy to Jerusalem, says other countries will follow

President-Elect Donald Trump talks with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., during a VIP reception and dinner with donors in Washington, January 19, 2017. (AP/Evan Vucci)
President-Elect Donald Trump talks with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., during a VIP reception and dinner with donors in Washington, January 19, 2017. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump praised his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner as a potential Middle East peacemaker on Thursday night, telling a black-tie event on the eve of his inauguration in Washington, DC that if the task proves too much for the 36-year-old, it is impossible.

‘If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump told Kushner, who has been tapped as a senior advisor to the new president. “All my life I’ve been hearing that’s the toughest deal to make, but I have a feeling Jared is going to do a great job.”

Trump also told campaign donors at the event that he expected to claim another four years in office in 2020, thanks to the successes that his first term would rack up.

“The next time we’re going to win the old-fashioned way,” because of how he and his cabinet will have performed, he said.

Trump also praised his cabinet picks, “the likes of which,” he said, “have never been appointed.”

He added: “There’s not a pick that I don’t love.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz during a Knesset session on the reform of Israel's natural gas sector, September 7, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz during a Knesset session on the reform of Israel’s natural gas sector, September 7, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meanwhile, Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio on Friday that he hoped the Trump administration would uphold the new president’s campaign pledge to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a politically charged move that has caused outrage among Palestinians who see the part of the city as their future capital.

“We are all praying that alongside the humor and colorfulness, Trump will understand the weight of responsibility on his shoulders and will be found to be a brave and serious president,” Steinitz said. “I hope and believe that he will move the American Embassy to Jerusalem. It is absurd that the embassies are in Tel Aviv — the United States should be the first to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, and afterwards other countries will [do the same] in time.”

President-elect Donald Trump (L) with son-in-law Jared Kushner during an election night party at a hotel in New York, November 9, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
President-Elect Donald Trump (L) with son-in-law Jared Kushner during an election-night party at a hotel in New York, November 9, 2016. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

Trump confirmed earlier this week that he intends to use Kushner to try to broker an elusive peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking to The Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump “confirmed that he would appoint Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to broker a Middle East peace deal,” the Times said.

Asked by Bild precisely what role Kushner would play, he replied: “You know what? Jared is such a good lad, he will secure an Israel deal which no one else has managed to get. You know, he’s a natural talent, he is the top, he is a natural talent. You know what I’m talking about — a natural talent. He has an innate ability to make deals, everyone likes him.”

Trump said his daughter Ivanka, Kushner’s wife, would play no role in government.

Asked about whether he intended to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump replied: “I’m not going to comment on that. But we’ll see.”

His comments came days after Trump named Kushner as a senior adviser in the upcoming administration, apparently skirting anti-nepotism regulations.

“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration,” Trump said at the time, calling him “instrumental in formulating and executing the strategy” behind his election victory.

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