Kushner trying to dictate peace, Palestinian chief negotiator says


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said White House advisor Jared Kushner is attempting to “dictate” a peace solution, after Kushner in an interview criticized P.A.  President Mahmoud Abbas for rejecting an as-yet unannounced U.S. peace plan.

Erekat called the interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds published on Sunday morning “an attempt to push forward a plan that consolidates Israel’s colonial control over Palestinian land and lives while telling the Palestinian people that money will compensate for our inalienable rights.”

A full transcript of the interview was released on Sunday by the U.S. National Security Council.

In the interview, Kushner noted that the Arab leaders “care a lot about the Palestinian people,” and that “they want to see a Palestinian State with a capital in East Jerusalem.”

Kushner, who also is President Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, and Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s  special envoy to the peace process, held meetings last week with leaders in Arab countries including  Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and in Israel, to discuss the peace plan and economic assistance to Gaza.

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Kushner said that the peace plan would be unveiled “soon.”

Kushner said he does not believe that Abbas has the “ability” to make a peace deal with Israel. Abbas, he said, “has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years. There has been no peace deal achieved in that time. To make a deal both sides will have to take a leap and meet somewhere between their stated positions. I am not sure President Abbas has the ability to do that.”

He added, however: “I am ready to work with President Abbas if he is willing.”

Abbas has refused to meet with Kushner and other members of the Trump administration, accusing them of bias toward Israel. Abbas cut off all communication with the administration after Trump’s announcement that he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, which he said is the capital of Israel.

Erekat said in response to the interview that Kushner’s interview “represents a policy of dictation rather than negotiations. It is the Trump Administration that has walked away from the negotiations, from international law and U.N. resolutions,” he added.