Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said Monday that a “reasonable” Palestinian leadership will be willing to negotiate with Israel based on the Trump administration’s peace plan, when it is eventually unveiled, and said the status quo was “not acceptable.”
“If there’s a reasonable leadership and there’s a reasonable plan, then they’ll come to the table,” US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law told CNN during an interview at the channel’s “Citizen CNN” conference.
He also claimed the administration had made progress on Middle East peace, without providing details, and said leaders on both sides would need to make concessions.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress. The president has done a very good job of not allowing the old ways of thinking to constrain his actions,” he said.
“The status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is not acceptable. The situation is only getting worse. At some point, the leaders will have to take a bold step and make compromise. We hope to find leaderships that are ready to do so.”
Although the administration has been touting its plan for months, details of it have been scarce, and the Palestinians, who have long boycotted the Trump administration, have vowed not to cooperate with US efforts to implement it once it is announced.
Trump, who has called an Israeli-Palestinian accord the “ultimate deal,” said during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month that the peace plan would be rolled out within the next four months.
Commenting on the more aggressive approach the White House has taken in dealing with the Palestinians, Kushner said, “one thing about this file is that there are about a thousand ways to fail and what we determined early on is that if we are gonna fail, we are not going to do it the same way that people have done before.”
Following Trump’s December 6, 2017, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinian Authority broke off contact with the White House, arguing that the Trump administration could no longer be viewed as an honest broker, and vowing to dismiss the upcoming peace proposal without reading it.
Relations plummeted further in recent weeks, after Washington slashed all its funding to the UN agency assisting Palestinians, triggering a budget panic; shuttered the Palestinian mission in Washington; and withdrew its financial support from coexistence programs.
“I think that there’s a bigger gap between the negotiators than there is between the people,” Kushner said Monday.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has shunned the US administration’s envoys — including Kushner — since Trump’s Jerusalem announcement, rejected the US president’s peace plan, in his address to the General Assembly at the United Nations, last month.
Abbas said Trump’s policies toward the Palestinians, which have been seen as embracing many Israeli policy points, were an “assault on international law,” and rejected Washington as a mediator in the peace talks.
“This administration has reneged on all previous US commitments, undermined the two-state solution, and revealed its false claims of concern about the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people,” he charged.
“We welcomed Trump when he was elected and praised his announcement of [a] peace plan, but were shocked by his actions concerning the process,” Abbas said.
Responding to charge on Monday, Kushner insisted that the US plan would meet the needs of both Israel and the Palestinians.
“I think that what we’re working on will allow Israelis to have the security that they want and the Palestinian people to have the opportunity that they want,” he said, while avoiding the question of whether the plan would call for a two-state solution.
The Trump administration has sent mixed signals on two states: Last month Trump said he “likes” two states and that it is what “works best.” But he has also said he will accept “any solution” that the two sides agree on.