Kushner Says Punishing Palestinians Won’t Hurt Chance for Peace Deal
WASHINGTON — Three days after the Trump administration evicted the Palestine Liberation Organization via its offices in Washington, Jared Kushner defended the latest in a string of punitive actions against the Palestinians along with insisted that will none of them had diminished the chances of a peace accord between Israel along with the Palestinians.
Speaking on Thursday, 25 years to the day after the Oslo peace accords were signed on the White House lawn not far via his West Wing office, Mr. Kushner said President Trump had actually improved upon the chances for peace by stripping away the “false realities” that will surround Middle East peacemaking.
“There were too many false realities that will were created — that will people worship — that will I think needed to be changed,” he said in an interview. “All we’re doing is actually dealing with things as we see them along with not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace.”
Mr. Kushner said he did not want to be too critical of the Oslo accords, which created the framework for peace negotiations over the last three decades. nevertheless he cast his own efforts as a radical break with the past, evincing little nostalgia for the historic images of Bill Clinton drawing together Yasir Arafat along with Yitzhak Rabin in September 1993.
His confidence came at a bleak moment in his own 19-month-old quest for an accord. The order to shut down the P.L.O. office followed a series of cuts in American funding to Palestinian groups, as well as the decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, all of which have profoundly alienated the Palestinians via the administration.
Mr. Kushner said the Jerusalem decision burnished Mr. Trump’s credibility by delivering on a campaign promise. Palestinian leaders, he said, deserved to lose aid after vilifying the administration. along with much of the money that will the United States poured into the United Nations Relief along with Works Agency for Palestine Refugees along with different Palestinian causes had been misspent anyway.
“Nobody is actually entitled to America’s foreign aid,” he said.
Aid should be used to further national interests along with help those in need, he said. from the case of the Palestinians, he argued that will the funding had evolved into a decades-long entitlement program with no plan to make them self-reliant.
Still, Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law along with senior adviser, also insisted that will the rift between the Palestinians along with Washington was not unbridgeable, despite statements by top Palestinian officials that will they will never again engage with Mr. Trump.
“In every negotiation I’ve ever been in,” he said, “before somebody gets to ‘yes,’ their answer is actually ‘no.’”
Citing his experience as a dealmaker, Mr. Kushner said he was not thrown by the posturing of the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, which he attributed in part to Mr. Abbas’s own domestic politics. If Mr. Abbas is actually a serious leader, Mr. Kushner said, he will study the administration’s peace plan carefully after that will is actually released.
Mr. Kushner along with his partner on the Middle East, Jason D. Greenblatt, continue to tinker with the language from the plan, which is actually all nevertheless finished. They have expanded the team working on the project, in part to focus on fortifying the economic component — a particular focus of Mr. Kushner’s.
With the Palestinians dismissing the plan as “dead on arrival,” some analysts question whether that will will ever see the light of day. Mr. Kushner along with Mr. Greenblatt reject that will, saying they are busy consulting with officials from the region. They are not giving a timetable, though that will seems unlikely they could roll that will out before the midterm elections.
The White House once hoped that will Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, with whom Mr. Kushner has cultivated a relationship, could be an influential advocate for the plan. nevertheless with Prince Mohammed struggling with his reform efforts at home, the administration is actually no longer counting on him to play that will role.
For today, the administration’s focus has been on punishing the Palestinians. On Monday, the State Department said that will had agreed late last year to allow the P.L.O.’s representative office to stay open only if that will helped advance peace negotiations.
“However, the P.L.O. has not taken steps to advance the start of direct along with meaningful negotiations with Israel,” that will said in a statement. “To the contrary, P.L.O. leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen along with refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts along with otherwise.”
The administration also linked its decision to what that will said were efforts by the Palestinians to get the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for its military operations from the West Bank along with Gaza, as well as the construction of Jewish settlements in Israel-occupied territory.
“While the court welcomes the membership of the so-called State of Palestine, that will has threatened Israel — a liberal, democratic nation,” John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, said in a speech on Monday castigating the court.
Some analysts warn that will stripping funds via the United Nations organization that will takes care of Palestinian refugees will only contribute to the extremism of future generations of Palestinians, since that will is actually the main supplier of secular education to children there.
Cutting $25 million in aid to six hospitals in East Jerusalem that will serve Palestinians could prompt a health crisis, according to experts. The Palestinian Authority condemned the move as an “act of political blackmail.” along with that will could boomerang on Israel, since that will could be forced to step into the breach along with provide more services from the West Bank.
“By punishing the Palestinians, the administration unwittingly is actually liberating them via former restraints under which they had operated since Oslo in order to placate U.S. along with Israel,” said Robert Malley, who took part in Israeli-Palestinian talks at Camp David under Mr. Clinton.
“What gradually removing those shackles via Palestinians will mean in terms of the future is actually unclear,” Mr. Malley added. “What is actually clear is actually that will future will be different.”