Kushner: Trump Peace Plan to Address Israel's Borders, United Palestinian Entity

Top Trump aide Jared Kushner tells Sky News Arabia that peace plan will address all core issues of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner during a meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner during a meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.Credit: קובי גדעון / לע"מ

Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser, told Sky News Arabia on Monday that the administration's peace plan will address all core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including borders.

Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law, said the White House would like to see a unified Palestinian government, instead of the current situation in which Gaza and the West Bank are separated from one another. 

"We want to see Palestinians under one leadership that will allow them to live in dignity," Kushner told Sky News Arabia, adding, "We are trying to come up with realistic solutions that are relevant to the year 2019."

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One of the main principles of the plan, according to Kushner, is freedom, including freedom of opportunity and religion. He said the aim is to eliminate the borders as they are today, "in order to guarantee freedom of movement for people and goods."

According to Kushner, the economic ramifications of the plan will not just help Israelis and Palestinians, but the entire region – including Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. He added that emphasis on the economic aspect, alongside the political aspect, will improve opportunities especially for the Palestinian economy, which has been hindered due to the lack of a peace agreement.

Kushner said that whenever there are terrorist attacks in the West Bank, the ones who are most affected are the 160,000 Palestinians who work inside Israel, and that "people would like to see this issue solved." 

Kushner also attacked Iran and said it is the biggest source of instability in the region. He said Tehran stands behind regional terrorism and operates using agents and militias in order to destabilize the region. This situation only increases the number of refugees from the region and hurts economic opportunity, he said.

Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy to the Middle East, have planned a visit to the region to discuss economic aspects of the peace plan, which is expected to be revealed after Israel's election on April 9.

The plan has a strong "regional context" behind it, according to a senior White House official who spoke to Haaretz earlier this month. Trump, who has been briefed on the plan and supports it, views it as part of his broader objective of "creating new alliances in the Middle East." That’s the main reason Kushner and Greenblatt visited the recent Warsaw conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top officials from a raft of Arab countries.

The same official added that the administration isn’t trying to bypass Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and still hopes to get his support for the peace plan. 

The Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority have not had any official contacts in more than a year – ever since Trump announced he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy there. Trump later said this step "took Jerusalem off the [negotiations] table."

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