Speaking at the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem on Monday, Jared Kushner linked US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital to his decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal, saying both were a recognition of “truth.”
“Last week, President Trump acknowledged another truth and kept another promise. He announced his intention to exit the dangerous, flawed and one-sided Iran deal,” Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said to a standing ovation.
Trump last week announced his decision to withdraw from the 2015 deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program, saying it did not do enough to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon or address Iran’s support for regional militias and terror groups.
“Iran’s aggression threatens the many peace-loving citizens throughout the region and the entire world,” said Kushner.
Regarding the threat of Iran’s regional activities, he said, “Previously unimaginable opportunities and alliances are emerging,” referring to the unacknowledged ties between Israel and Arab states with which it has no official relations.
Turning to the Israel-Palestinian peace process, which he oversees in the White House, Kushner stressed that Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not reflect a departure “from our strong commitment to lasting peace.”
“The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can. We believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give so that all people can live in peace, safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams,” he said.
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and decision to move the embassy angered the Palestinian Authority and effectively froze the US administration’s efforts to revive peace talks, with the Palestinians boycotting the White House in response, and declaring that the US could no longer serve as a broker in peace talks.
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, as the capital of their future state.
“The United States recognizes the sensitivity surrounding Jerusalem, a city that means so much to so many,” Kushner added, reiterating Trump’s call for the status quo at holy sites in Jerusalem to be respected, namely, at the flashpoint Temple Mount.
Kushner also addressed the ongoing riots on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the context of peace prospects.
“As we’ve seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said, without directly naming Hamas.
The Hamas-led “March of Return” clashes, which began in March, hit a new peak Monday, with some 50,000 Palestinians taking part in riots along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said dozens were killed and hundreds wounded in the violence, which the army said included gunfire at Israeli troops and attempts to plant explosives on the border fence.