Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

No Palestinian recognition if peace plan goals unmet, Kushner says

President Trump's plan was warmly embraced by Israel but dismissed by the Palestinians

Jared Kushner has pushed the Trump administration's policy position on Israeli annexation plans of the West Bank. AFP
Jared Kushner has pushed the Trump administration's policy position on Israeli annexation plans of the West Bank. AFP

US presidential adviser Jared Kushner said on Sunday that if Palestinians are unable to meet the conditions of the new Middle East peace plan he crafted, Israel should not take "the risk to recognise them as a state".

The plan laid out by Mr Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, was warmly embraced by Israel but curtly dismissed by the Palestinian National Authority along with others in the region, including the Arab League.

Mr Kushner was challenged by CNN host Fareed Zakaria in a programme broadcast on Sunday to explain why demands made of the Palestinians before they are given a state – including a free press, free elections, religious freedom, an independent judiciary and a reliable financial system – did not amount to "a killer amendment".

Mr Kushner replied that the Palestinian territories amount to "a police state ... not exactly a thriving democracy".

"For the Palestinians, if they want their people to live better lives, we now have a framework to do it," he said.

"If they don't think they can uphold these standards, then I don't think we can get Israel to take the risk to recognise them as a state.

"The only thing more dangerous than what we have now is a failed state."

Mr Trump unveiled the plan last Tuesday at a White House event attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said it was "a great plan for Israel... [and] a great plan for peace".

No Palestinians were present. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the plan reflected a persistent pro-Israel bias by the Trump administration and that it "will not pass".

Under the plan, Israel would retain control of the contested city of Jerusalem as its "undivided capital" and annex settlements on Palestinian lands.

Mr Trump said Palestinians would be allowed to declare a capital within annexed east Jerusalem.

Mr Kushner has been criticised for what some saw as harsh language directed at the Palestinians in connection with the plan's release.

He told CNN last week that Palestinians had "a perfect track record of missing opportunities" and said "I think that they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they're victims", if they did not accept the Trump plan.

"This is a great deal for them. If they come to the table and negotiate, I think they can get something excellent."

Updated: February 3, 2020 04:30 PM

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