Palestinians not ready to govern themselves, says Jared Kushner ahead of long-awaited peace plan

Comments from Trump’s son-in-law crush hopes his peace plan endorses independent Palestinian state

Bel Trew
Monday 03 June 2019 15:40 BST
Kushner’s comments come before US unveils ‘deal of the century’
Kushner’s comments come before US unveils ‘deal of the century’ (Getty)

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has suggested that the Palestinians are not ready to govern themselves and cannot expect freedom from Israeli military interference, dashing hopes that an upcoming US peace plan will endorse a two-state solution.

Mr Kushner’s comments come just weeks before the US is due to unveil the so-called “deal of the century” peace agreement at an economic workshop in Bahrain.

He had hinted before it may not include an independent Palestinian state, which has been a key Palestinian demand and the long-accepted solution to the decades-long crisis.

“The hope is that over time they can become capable of governing,” Mr Kushner told US website Axios when asked if he believed the Palestinians could run their own affairs without Israeli interference.

He added that they “need to have a fair judicial system ... freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions” before they can become “investable”.

Mr Kushner also said he thought it was “a high bar” when asked if the Palestinians could expect freedom from any Israeli governmental or military oversight.

“If you don’t have a proper government structure and proper security when people are living in fear of terror, that hurts Palestinians,” he added.

The peace plan efforts have been dogged by disaster.

Last year the Palestinians cut diplomatic ties with the US after Mr Trump moved his embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognising the disputed city as Israel’s capital.

Mr Trump also slashed all funding to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, causing devastating budget shortfalls and sparking further uproar.

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Despite this, Mr Trump and his son-in-law have pushed ahead with penning the agreement which is supposed to be unveiled at an economic peace conference in Manama, Bahrain on 25-26 June.

So far there has been no confirmation that any Israelis or Palestinians will attend.

The Palestinians for their part have already rejected the plan before reading it on the grounds it is likely to be too pro-Israeli.

The unveiling may also be postponed since Israel is preparing for early elections in September after the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government, despite being re-elected two months ago.

On Sunday Mr Trump lashed out, saying Israel had to “get their act together” as the political situation was “all messed up.”

“We’re not happy about that,” he added, before preparing to fly to Europe.

Mr Trump’s own administration has raised doubts about the peace plan.

In a leaked recording published by The Washington Post, the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo apparently told a group of Jewish leaders in New York that the long-delayed plan may not “gain traction”.

When questioned about the leak Mr Trump replied: “I think we have a good chance, but we’ll see what happens.”

The Palestinian media, meanwhile, have continued to reject the plan.

Abd-al-Majeed Suwaylem, writing in the pro-Fatah Al-Ayyam newspaper, said the only win the Trump administration will have is “keeping the entire region busy and duped”.

Yahya Rabah, in Palestinian Authority-owned newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadidah, added that the Bahrain workshop was based “on lies”.

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