Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:“There have been countless mistakes over the years, and you, the Palestinian people, have paid the price”Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The comments underlined gaping divisions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership that have widened since Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the US Embassy there, overriding decades of US policy.
Palestinian officials, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, accused Kushner of trying to undermine Abbas and what they described as their leader’s moderate camp.
Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law who is meeting leaders in the region, but not Abbas – told Palestinian newspaper Al Quds in an interview published in Arabic yesterday, that he doubted whether the Palestinian president was willing or able to seal a deal.
“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly,” Kushner said, according to an English transcript of his words provided by Washington.
“However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years,” he added.
Kushner appealed directly to the Palestinian people and portrayed Abbas, 82, as a leader entrenched in the past.
“There have been countless mistakes and missed opportunities over the years, and you, the Palestinian people, have paid the price,” said Kushner, who is on the trip with US envoy Jason Greenblatt. “Don’t let your leadership reject a plan they haven’t even seen,” he added.
Abbas has refused to see Trump’s team since the embassy decision, accusing Washington of pro-Israel bias.
“This (U.S.) administration is really trying to destroy the Palestinian moderate camp. They want to throw us into chaos and anarchy,” said Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator.
“The road to peace is clear – commitment to the two-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. This is the road to any negotiations or any meetings,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas.
Kushner visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt before talks on Friday and Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.