Kushner meets Jordan’s king, Netanyahu in new tour to discuss peace plan
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Kushner meets Jordan’s king, Netanyahu in new tour to discuss peace plan

In Amman, Abdullah tells White House adviser initiative must include Palestinian state

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd from right) meets at his Jerusalem office with the ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer (right); White House adviser Jared Kushner (center); US Ambassador David Friedman (second left); and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, on July 31, 2019. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd from right) meets at his Jerusalem office with the ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer (right); White House adviser Jared Kushner (center); US Ambassador David Friedman (second left); and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, on July 31, 2019. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

AMMAN, Jordan — US President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on Wednesday for talks on a controversial US plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, with the king calling for an independent Palestinian state.

The two discussed “efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the royal court said in a statement. Kushner was visiting Jordan on a tour that includes a number of countries in the region.

He later traveled to Israel and met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday evening. The meeting at the prime minister’s office was also attended by a trio of US officials — Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, Iran envoy Brian Hook and Washington’s ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Kushner is next reportedly set to travel to Egypt and Morocco before returning to the US for further consultations.

The peace initiative’s economic aspects were launched in June by Kushner during a conference in Bahrain, dangling the prospect of $50 billion in investments into a stagnant Palestinian economy.

But no details have been published so far about how the plan tackles key issues such as a potential independent Palestinian state, Israeli control over the West Bank, the fate of Jerusalem and the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians to homes from which their families fled or were expelled after Israel’s creation in 1948.

Trump has taken the landmark step of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Kushner has suggested the peace plan would not mention a Palestinian state.

Palestinians have rejected the plan outright, saying it was an attempt to bribe the Palestinian people without addressing Palestinian demands for independence.

King Abdullah II of Jordan addresses the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea, Jordan on April 6, 2019. (WEF via AP, Pool)

During their meeting King Abdullah stressed “the need to achieve a just and lasting peace to ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state… with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security alongside Israel,” the court said.

He said any peace plan should be based on the internationally backed two-state solution and in accordance with the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

The initiative called on Israel to withdraw from all land it seized in 1967, in exchange for normalization between all Arab states and Israel.

Kushner was accompanied by Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, the royal court said.

An official in Trump’s administration had said earlier this month that Kushner would return to the Middle East to further push the plan.

Jordan, one of only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel, is home to 9.5 million people — more than half of them of Palestinian origin. Two-thirds are Jordanian citizens, while the others are considered by the UN to be refugees who many Jordanians fear will be settled permanently and given citizenship if the Kushner plan goes through.

More than two million Palestinians in Jordan are UN-registered refugees. Israel and the US have criticized the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, for extending refugee status indefinitely to descendants of original refugees, resulting in an ever-growing number of registered refugees, and for failing to resettle them in host countries or other countries.

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