Trump adviser: Secrecy necessary to ensure plan's success

Kushner: Economy and ‘establishing borders’ the focal points of Trump peace plan

President’s son-in-law says proposal will address all final status issues, call for single Palestinian leadership for West Bank, Gaza, and have regional economic impact

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, on February 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, on February 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview Monday that the administration’s much-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan will focus on “establishing borders and resolving final status issues.”

Kushner spoke with Sky News Arabic in comments overlaid with an Arabic translation. His original English-language quotes were not immediately available.

Kushner said that since “the situation they are negotiating over hasn’t really changed much in 25 years,” the administration’s team had worked to find “a realistic and… fair solution to the issues here in 2019 that can enable people to live better lives.”

“The goal of resolving these borders is really to eliminate the borders,” he said. “If you can eliminate borders and have peace and less fear of terror, you could have freer flow of goods, freer flow of people and that would create a lot more opportunities.”

Kushner also called for unified rule over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which are currently split between the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror group, respectively.

“[W]e would like to see is them unified under one leadership and come together. There has been a lot of discussion between Hamas and through Fatah, but I think what the people want is a government that doesn’t have corruption.,” he said.

In this photo from December 7, 2017, US President Donald Trump speaks with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner after a reception in the East Room of the White House, in Washington. (AP /Alex Brandon)

Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, expressed hope the the the plan’s economic impact will “be felt throughout the entire region, by the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Lebanese.”

Kushner also said the US has tried to figure out a “realistic… and fair solution” to the issue. “We’ve focused on the following four principles that we’ve used in which to create the plan,” he said in the interview.

“The first principle is to have freedom. We want people to be able to have the freedom of opportunity, the freedom of religion, the freedom to worship, regardless of your faith. Respect: we want all people to have dignity and to respect each other. Opportunity: we want people to be able to better their lives and not allow their grandfather’s conflict to hijack their children’s future. And the final one is security.”

The Trump administration has closely guarded details of its peace proposal, which Kushner said in the interview was necessary to ensure its chance of success.

“In past negotiations, which we’ve studied, a lot of times details would get out prematurely and that would cause politicians to have to run away from the plan,” he said.

Kusher said last week that details of the US plan would be released after Israeli elections on April 9.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of late president Shimon Peres, held at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is “looking forward” to the release of the proposal, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has promised to reject the so-called “deal of the century.”

The Palestinians have been shunning the Trump administration since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved its embassy to the city, saying the US could no longer be an honest broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

According to a diplomat who spoke with the Associated Press last week, Kushner has said that despite the odds the plan faces, “privately, people are much more flexible.”

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