Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday warned the Palestinians if they continue to reject President Donald Trump’s peace proposal for solving the conflict with Israel, their plight will worsen because Israel will continue building on West Bank territory earmarked for a Palestinian state.
“What we did with our plan was we were trying to save the two-state solution, because… if we kept going with the status quo… ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank,” Kushner said.
“The reality today is that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis,” he said.
Trump’s peace proposal sees Israel annexing 30 percent of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, which the Jewish state liberated from Jordanian occupation during the 1967 defensive Six Day War. It also delineates a demilitarized Palestinian state established on most of the West Bank with parts of eastern Jerusalem that are outside the Israeli security fence as its capital.
The Palestinian leadership warned it would unilaterally declare a state based on the pre-1967 lines if Israel went ahead with its plans to apply sovereignty over the West Bank.
Those plans were suspended as part of the U.S-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned they remain on the table. He said:
And so, right now, you have a situation where there is land that could become a Palestinian state. It is possible to connect it, but the land that Israeli settlers are in right now is land that Israel controls, and the odds of them ever giving it up is unlikely. That’s why the map that we drew was what we thought was a realistic map based on the – we played the ball as it lies, right? We took the realities in the world today and we drew a map based on that, knowing what was achievable and what was not achievable.
He added the 2002 Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative, touted by Gulf nations as a prerequisite for normalization with the Arab world, was no longer relevant nearly two decades on.
He chastened the Palestinians for always pulling the victim card.
“My fear for the Palestinians is that if they do what they’re very good at doing, which is figure out how to not make a deal and play the victim card, then what’s going to happen is, you know, more time is going to go by and the situation is just going to get worse and worse for them,” he said.
“The reason why they never accomplished anything was because both parties were getting what they wanted. Every time a negotiation failed, Israel took more land and the Palestinians got more money from the international community.”
“In the first meetings with [PA] President Abbas, he said, ‘If you could get Israel to agree to a map, then the rest will be easy to figure out.’ We did better than that: We got them [the Israelis] to agree to a state with a map,” Kushner said.
The Abbas-led government ceased talking the U.S. administration in protest over its decision to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.