Kushner Blasts Erekat, Says Trump's Deal Is Last Chance for Palestinian State

The status quo is Israel's continued expansion, Kushner warns in extensive interview on Egyptian TV, and the Palestinian leadership owes it to its people to negotiate now

Jack Khoury
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White House senior advisor Jared Kushner at the Newseum in Washington, U.S., December 9, 2019
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner at the Newseum in Washington, U.S., December 9, 2019Credit: Alexander Drago/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law, attacked senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Saturday night, saying the chief negotiator was personally responsible for failing to reach an agreement with Israel over the last 25 years.

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"He says a lot of things that have turned out not to be true," Kushner told Egyptian journalist Amr Adib on MBC Masr's Al Hikaya political program. "The guy has a perfect track record at failing at making peace deals."

Kushner argued that his outline was the first official map of a potential division of the land that he could find, and the first that Israel had officially agreed to. He enjoined the Palestinians to study the whole 181 pages of the deal in great detail, take advice from "neighbors, friends and allies," and come to the negotiating table.

Kushner further said that the plan was the last opportunity for the creation of a Palestinian state with some contiguity. He also said that U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements would be in exchange for Israel halting the expansion of settlements, and that "if we didn't do this, Israel will continue to grow at this pace and there will never be an opportuniy to create a Palestinian state."

"There's over 500,000 people now who are in the West Bank, so what we're trying to do is figure out – how can you stop the growth of Israel there in a way where you can give Israel the land in a way where you can give Israel the land that they’re never going to leave anyway," Kushner said.  

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According to Kushner, Trump is intent on creating a great deal for Israelis and Palestinians alike. The plan offers borders, and gives the Palestinians sovereignty over twice the amount of land it holds to this day, Kushner argued. In addition to $50 billion in financial aid, it gives them a capital in Jerusalem, and keeps the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem under the stewardship of the Jordanian monarchy - allowing the faithful from around the world to come and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque freely.

Critics of the plan, including the Palestinian leadership and the Arab League, say that the putative Palestinian state that would be created by the initiative is unworkable and lacks the instruments of statehood.

"We have received great feedback from Arab leaders in the region... who care deeply about the Palestinians," Kushner said. "They really pushed us aggressively to create something that will break the logjams."

Kushner said he believed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was "a man of peace," but argued that a leadership that cares about its people would hurry to the negotiating table and present their demands in order to move their case forward.

"I'll be honest. The status quo right now is that Israel will keep growing at the same rate," Kushner said, "and then there will never be an opportunity to create a Palestinian state."

"We will be fair, and unbiased," Kushner told the interviewer, arguing that "President Trump presented a detailed plan to build up the Palestinian economy."

"He is the only president who can introduce and implement this deal," Kushner added. 

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