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Kushner sets stage for Trump's Jerusalem decision

President Donald Trump's White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner waves to the audience after speaking at the Saban Forum in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Kushner says Israeli-Palestinian peace essential for stability in Mideast

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's point man on Middle East peace, said on Sunday that a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is necessary to bringing stability to the troubled region, putting him at odds with the attitude of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a rare insight into the worldview of the man leading the White House's push to revive the stalled peace process, Kushner argued at the Saban Forum in Washington DC that "a lot of the issues that come up in the [Israeli-Arab] relationships on a day to day basis are caused by not having a final status agreement."

According to Kushner, the US leader is close to reaching a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 

Palestinian leaders meanwhile are lobbying desperately against such a move, fearing it could provoke such fury in the Arab world it could sink peace hopes for a generation.

Netanyahu has frequently dismissed the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict drives unrest in the further afield, and numerous Israeli officials have trumpeted the willingness of Arab and Muslims states to conduct covert ties with Israel, despite the absence of peace.

Kushner, a former real estate developer, told questioner Chaim Saban that Middle Eastern countries are keen to build open relationships with Israel based on mutual enmity against Iran and the attractiveness of Israel's innovation-led economy, but that the ongoing conflict prevents them from doing so.

GALI TIBBON (AFP/File)

"They look at the regional threats and I think they see that Israel, who was traditionally their foe, is a much more natural ally to them today than perhaps they were 20 years ago," observed Kushner.

"There’s an old reason why this has not been put together," the 36 year-old continued, "you have a lot of people who want to see it put together but we have to overcome this issue, of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, for that to happen."

He added that the Saudi king and crown prince -- who have reportedly developed a deep relationship with Kushner -- made clear that they "care a lot" about the Palestinian people and that they "should have the same hope and opportunity as everyone else in the world."

"They recognize that finding a solution to this problem is the only way that can be achieved."

Trump's 'personal' mission

Brendan Smialowski (AFP/Archives)

Shortly after his November 2016 election win, Trump picked two lawyers -- his son-in-law Kushner and a personal attorney, Jason Greenblatt -- to figure out how to resuscitate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, stalled since the Obama administration's own attempt fell apart in 2014.

Asked by Saban, a US-Israeli businessman and philanthropist, about what motivates Trump's desire to bring about the "ultimate deal" to end the decades-long conflict, his son-in-law said that it is "very personal to him."

According to Kushner, Trump sees an agreement as "figuring out how to bring peace and how to strengthen the US-Israel relationship, he sees as very integral to America and to his personal values."

A flurry of reports on the weekend, citing US officials, suggested the Trump White House was close to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move which the Palestinian leadership warned may guillotine the administration's entire peace-making effort.

When asked by about Trump's expected speech on Wednesday to reveal his decision on moving the embassy and a new policy on Jerusalem, Kushner confirmed that his father-in-law is still considering his options.

"He's still looking at a lot of different facts and when he makes his decision he'll be the one who wants to tell you. So he'll make sure he does that at the right time."

On Monday, the president must decide whether to sign a legal waiver that would delay plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months.

The Palestinians covet the eastern part of the city as the capital of their hoped-for state, and view international recognition of an "undivided" Jerusalem as rejecting that ambition.

See also:

Hamas calls for 'intifada' in response to Trump’s Jerusalem bid

(Staff with AFP)

Comments

(2)

So the Jews are responsible for the centuries old Sushi conflicts!!!

From E Jeru the Pal hope to invade W Jeru!!!

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