TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for issuing a blanket rejection of the U.S. peace proposal before seeing it, but added that the U.S. is willing to work with the Palestinian leader, in a rare interview published Sunday.
The interview, published in the Arabic-language Al-Quds newspaper, comes as Kushner and Trump’s Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt wrap up a trip to the region to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza as well as the White House peace proposal. The American officials held meetings in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, but were shunned by the Palestinian leadership itself.
Kushner said he is “ready to work with [Palestinian Authority] President Abbas, if he wishes.”
On Saturday night, the two joined U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the second in as many days.
“The interview is part of the American administration’s attempt to address the Palestinian people directly before presenting its peace plan,” a U.S. official told Israel’s Channel 10.
In the interview, Kushner said: “You deserve to have a bright future, now is the time for both the Israelis and Palestinians to strengthen their leaderships and re-focus them to encourage them to open up toward a solution, and not fear trying.”
“A lot has happened in the world since this conflict began decades ago,” he said. “The world has moved forward while you have been left behind. Don’t allow your grandfather’s conflict to determine your children’s future.”
The international community, he added, “is getting frustrated with Palestinian leadership and not seeing many actions that are constructive towards achieving peace. There are a lot of sharp statements and condemnations, but no ideas or efforts with prospects of success.”
“It’s time for the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to stop using the people of Gaza as pawns,” he said. “The narrative of victimhood may feel good for the moment and help you grab headlines but it doesn’t do anything to improve lives.”
Also on Saturday, Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat repeated his claim that the U.S. peace team aims to overthrow the Palestinian Authority.
“The goal behind this is to sustain the coup [in which Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas in 2007] and keep Gaza separated from the West Bank on the way to creating a mini-state in Gaza while bringing down the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank,” Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio, according to the PA’s official Wafa news agency.
In a separate interview with Channel 10, Erekat said the U.S. was “not neutral” in terms of brokering a peace deal. He also claimed the U.S. harbored intentions to dismantle the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
“All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees,” he said.