NEW YORK — US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the architect of the US peace plan for the Middle East, on Thursday blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a recent spike in violence in Israel and the West Bank.
“He does have a responsibility for it,” Kushner told reporters after briefing UN Security Council members on the plan that has been rejected by the Palestinians.
“He calls for days of rage in response and he said that even before he saw the plan,” Kushner added.
Three Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and police officers took place within 12 hours on Thursday, leaving 14 service members wounded.
Two members of the Palestinian security services were also killed, at least one who was apparently mistaken for a terrorist by an Israeli sniper, as violence soared amid Palestinian anger at the US administration’s peace plan announced last week.
Palestinian leaders said the violence was an inevitable result of the plan’s pro-Israel bias, while Israeli officials accused the Palestinian Authority of encouraging the attacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a direct appeal to Abbas: “This won’t help you. Not the stabbings, not the ramming attacks, not the sniping attacks, and not the incitement… We will do everything necessary to guard our security, secure our borders, and guarantee our future. We will do this with you or without you.”
Kushner said Abbas had “rejected the plan before he even saw it.”
“I think that he was surprised with how good the plan was for the Palestinian people but he locked himself into a position before it came out and I don’t know why he did that,” he added.
“There is a long history of the Palestinian leadership paying the families of terrorists, inciting intifadas (uprisings) when they don’t get their way,” said Kushner.
“I just think the international community has grown very tired of that behavior,” he added.
Kushner presented the plan to Security Council members at a private lunch Thursday hosted by the US Mission to the United Nations.
Kushner described the two-hour-long talks with the Council’s 14 other members as “very constructive.”
Last chance for the Palestinians
Kushner warned that his plan “may be the last chance to resolve the situation,” because the rate of expansion of Israeli settlements may preclude a contiguous Palestinian state.
Right now, Kushner said, “it’s very, very difficult to have a contiguous state where you can drive from the top to the bottom,” but it is still possible.
He said the most constructive thing the Palestinians can do is to sit down with the Israelis and go over the plan “line by line.”
“If they would like to meet, we’re happy to do it, but we’re not going to chase them,” Kushner said.
His briefing comes as Palestinian supporters have circulated a draft UN resolution that would reject the plan, saying it violates international law and Security Council demands for a two-state solution based on borders before the 1967 Six Day War.
The resolution, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, could be put to a vote on Feb. 11 when Abbas is expected to address the Security Council and deliver his government’s objections to the Israeli-backed US peace plan. If a vote is held, the resolution is virtually certain to be vetoed by the United States.
The US plan, unveiled by Trump on Jan. 28, envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel, siding with Israel on key contentious issues including borders and the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.
The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in 1967 — for an independent state and the removal of many of the more than 700,000 Israelis from these areas.
But under terms of the “peace vision” that Kushner worked on for nearly three years, all Israeli settlers would remain in place, and Israel would retain sovereignty over all of its settlements as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.
Dismissing the plan as “nonsense,” Abbas declared: “We say 1,000 no’s to the ‘Deal of the Century,’” using a nickname for Trump’s proposal.
Netanyahu, who stood beside Trump when the plan was announced, called it a “historic breakthrough” equal in significance to the country’s declaration of independence in 1948. He said it provided a green light for annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank.
The proposed resolution, drafted by Indonesia and Tunisia, condemns recent Israeli statements calling for annexation “of areas of the occupied Palestinian territory” and stresses “the illegality” of any annexation.
It also reaffirms that all Israeli settlements and other measures “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, are illegal and imperil the viability of a two-state solution.”
The draft emphasizes the need to preserve “the territorial integrity, contiguity and unity of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
It reiterates the call to achieve lasting peace “without delay” based on UN resolutions dating back to 1967. It would also give the Security Council’s “unwavering support” to a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace based on pre-1967 borders.
The proposed resolution calls on all 193 UN member nations to comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions — and “not to render aid or assistance to illegal settlement activities” or recognize any actions or measures that might imply Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian territories.
It would also express the council’s determination “to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions, including enforcement measures under Chapter 7 of the (UN) Charter.”
Chapter 7 provides for both military and non-military enforcement measures.