Kushner says economic plan won’t be implemented without political solution

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The economic plan to help the Palestinians and other Arab countries will not be implemented unless there is a political solution, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said.

“There is no plan to make these investments before achieving … political progress,” Kushner said of the 140-page plan introduced last week in Bahrain to investors and representatives of countries in the region.

He made the statement Wednesday during a rare on-the-record conversation with reporters.

Kushner touted the success of the meeting, which the Palestinians boycotted. Israel was not invited.

He said every country that was invited showed up, as well as “very senior” business leaders.

“I think we’ve definitely started a discussion in the Arab world about the Palestinians’ future and the capabilities of the current leadership to help them achieve that future,” he said.

Kushner called the Palestinian reaction to the plan and the summit “hysterical and erratic and not terribly constructive.” He said his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, “cares about the Palestinian people and would like to see this issue that’s been stuck for too long be resolved,” and that “President Trump is very fond of [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas.”

The Palestinian leadership, he added, “at some point will have to step up and they have to show that they want to see their people live better lives.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Kushner indicated that there would not be a wholesale right of return for Palestinian refugees under the political part of the plan. He pointed out that Jewish refugees were absorbed in several countries and that the Arab countries have not done their part to absorb Palestinian refugees.

He said the White House will announce “probably next week” what are the next steps in the plan.