TEL AVIV – White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a proposal “along the lines of the Arab Peace Initiative” would not be possible, according to an interview with Al Jazeera.
He made his remarks shortly before departing for the U.S-led peace workshop in Bahrain, where the White House is slated to unroll the $50 billion economic portion of its long-anticipated peace deal.
“I think we all have to recognize that if there ever is a deal, it’s not going to be along the lines of the Arab peace initiative,” Kushner said.
“It will be somewhere between the Arab peace initiative and between the Israeli position,” he added.
The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, initiated by Saudi Arabia, called for a Palestinian state along pre-1967 lines with a capital in eastern Jerusalem and a settlement of the so-called “right of return” for Palestinian “refugees” — the latter of which has been rejected outright by Israel, which views the return of Palestinians to their ancestral homes in Israel proper as spelling the end of the Jewish state by demographic means.
In return for a full withdrawal from eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, the Arab world would normalize relations with Israel, according to the plan. The plan would theoretically mean an Israeli withdrawal from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and from the Western Wall and Temple Mount.
“All of the people I speak to, they talk about the Arab Peace Initiative, and again it was a great effort, but if that was where a deal was going to be made a deal would have been made a long time ago,” said Kushner, who is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
Kushner said he was hopeful that the Manama summit would be successful, despite the fact that Palestinians have snubbed both the workshop and the economic portion of the peace plan unveiled by the White House.
“We’ve been working very carefully on a very detailed proposal for what we think can help bring this conflict — which has been stuck — forward and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to put that out soon and hopefully parties will be responsible, they’ll engage on it and they’ll try to move forward.”
Kushner also defended Trump’s December 2017 declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Israel is a sovereign nation; a sovereign nation has the right to determine where their capital is and America has the right to recognize the decision of another sovereign nation, which is what we chose to do,” he said, adding that the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem should not affect final-status negotiations.
The full interview will be broadcast on Tuesday.