John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump's former national security advisor, has revealed in his upcoming book that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu questioned the ability of the president's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to formulate a peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to quotes published in the Wall Street Journal and CNN.
In excerpts released on Thursday, Bolton said Netanyahu spoke with him before he joined the Trump administration and expressed bewilderment at Kushner’s appointment as White House senior advisor.
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Netanyahu “was dubious about assigning the task of bringing an end to the Israel-Palestinian conflict to Kushner, whose family Netanyahu had known for many years. He was enough of a politician not to oppose the idea publicly, but like much of the world, he wondered why Kushner thought he would succeed where the likes of Kissinger had failed,” Bolton wrote.
Kushner is considered as the one leading a more restrained approach in the Trump administration, seeking to limit or postpone Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement rejecting Bolton’s remarks. “Prime Minister Netanyahu has complete faith in Jared Kushner's abilities and resolve and rejects any description to the contrary.
“Kushner has greatly contributed to furthering peace in the Middle East.
The U.S. administration's Middle East team led by Kushner successfully formulated President Trump's principles into the Vision for Peace offering the most realistic blueprint for peace in our region,” the statement read.
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“Kushner also contributed to President Trump's historic decisions to recognize Jerusalem, move the U.S. Embassy to Israel's capital and recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“Kushner helped advance Israel's relations with the Arab world.
With these accomplishments alone and under President Trump's leadership, Kushner has already achieved what others before him did not accomplish. We are confident that working together we can achieve the lasting and secure peace that we all desire,” according to the statement.
In his soon to be published book, Bolton accused Trump of sweeping misdeeds that included explicitly seeking Chinese President Xi Jinping's help to win re-election.
Bolton, a longtime foreign policy hawk who Trump fired in September over policy differences, also said that the president had expressed a willingness to halt criminal investigations to give "personal favors to dictators he liked," according to a book excerpt published in the New York Times ahead of its release.
Trump hit back at Bolton, calling him "a liar" in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The paper also published excerpts Wednesday of the book, titled "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," as did the Washington Post.
Trump told Fox News in a separate interview that Bolton had broken the law by including highly classified material in the book
The U.S. government has sued to block Bolton from publishing the book, citing risks to national security, and is seeking a court hearing on Friday.