US Presidential aide Jared Kushner said in a contradictory interview with Egyptian MBC Masr network on Sunday, that Palestinians can weigh in on map outlined in the “deal of the century”, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Kushner, who read 25 books on the Arab-Israeli conflict before formulating the deal, according to his interview with Sky News Arabic, termed the map conceptual, rather than technical, and welcomed Palestinians to propose an alternative to borders set out in the plan.
“If there are things they want to change, if they don’t like where we drew the lines, they should come and tell us,” Kushner told the Egyptian news channel.
The Presidential aide later implored Palestinian leaders to come to the negotiating table if they “want to do what is best for their people”, arguing that American efforts to resolve “probably the most complicated problem in the world” were “pragmatic”.
The Middle East plan, which was unveiled in Washington on 28 January, has been rejected in statements by the United Nations, European Union, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Arab League.
The deal seeks to keep Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” of Israel, making Abu Dis – a suburb of Jerusalem – the capital of Palestine. Under the plan, a new Palestinian state would be made up of between 70 and 80 per cent of the West Bank, with pockets of land in southern Israel, and most of the Gaza strip.
Despite calling for negotiations, Kushner said in an interview with CNN, broadcast on Sunday, that Palestinians should “not try to negotiate the same way that they’ve done it for many years because the way that they’ve done it for years hasn’t led to a result”.
“In my business, when someone tries to do business for 20 years and fails, he is replaced by someone else… [they have a] track record of failing at making peace deals,” Kushner added in an attack on Palestinian leadership.
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The presidential aide has claimed Trump’s deal marks the first time the Israeli leadership has accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state and termed the current situation “dangerous”.
Kushner argued that if Palestinians are unable to meet the conditions of the plan, which include holding free elections, and disbanding Hamas, “then I don’t think we can get Israel to take the risk to recognize them as a state”.
Despite contradictory TV interviews, Kushner concluded that “basically what [the US is] saying to the Palestinians is put up or shut up”.
Middle East Monitor