President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner says he has a new peace plan for Palestine and Israel.
Kushner — who once said that he has no desire to read books or learn the history of the region — announced his new plan in an interview with the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds published Sunday morning. He said he said he was “almost done” with the plan and that it would be released “soon.”
In the interview, Kushner criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and tried to appeal to the Palestinian people directly instead.
“President Abbas says that he is committed to peace and I have no reason not to believe him,” Kushner said. “However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years. There has been no peace deal achieved in that time. To make a deal both sides will have to take a leap and meet somewhere between their stated positions. I am not sure President Abbas has the ability to do that.”
Kushner and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt have met with leaders of Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia over the last week to discuss the peace plan. Palestinian leadership refused to meet with Kushner.
Al Quds’ editor Walid Abu-Zalaf, who conducted the interview in Arabic, asked Kushner about statements from Abbas’ spokesman that called Kushner’s trip to the region a “waste of time” and “bound to fail.”
In response, Kushner said that “Palestinian leadership is saying those things because they are scared we will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it.”
The whole interview is worth reading in full to understand its striking lack of detail. Kushner makes no mention of Israeli settlements, the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, or the 61 Palestinians in Gaza who Israeli forces killed that day for peacefully protesting. Kushner did not say anything about the right of return for Palestinian refugees or returning to the 1967 lines as borders for a future Palestinian state. He did not criticize Israel or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at all.
Kushner said in the interview that the Arab leaders he spoke with stressed the need for a Palestinian state with a capital of East Jerusalem and for the Al Aqsa Mosque — a holy site in Islam that rests on the Temple Mount, a holy site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — to remain open to Muslims who want to worship there. When asked whether these points were in his peace plan, Kushner said he didn’t want to “speak about specifics of the deal we are working on.”
Kushner’s direct appeal to the Palestinian people is laughable, given that last month, he blamed Palestinians killed in Gaza for their own deaths.
“Those provoking problems like we see today in Gaza are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said at the opening ceremony of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The statement was later erased from the official White House transcript of the ceremony.
The Kushner family has also helped fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank — a fact that the senior advisor left off his financial records when he filed with the Office of Government Ethics last year. The funding didn’t stop even after Kushner was tasked with brokering a peace plan.
After the interview was published Sunday, Palestinian Authority chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said Kushner was trying to “dictate” a peace solution and he was clearly refusing “to talk substance, to mention Palestinian rights or a Palestinian state.”
He went on to say the interview was “an attempt to push forward a plan that consolidates Israel’s colonial control over Palestinian land and lives while telling the Palestinian people that money will compensate for our inalienable rights.”