U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has suggested in an interview that Palestinians are not ready or able to govern themselves ahead of the expected release of his peace plan.
Speaking to U.S. news site Axios, Kushner also said he was not concerned over whether the Palestinians do not trust him since they will base their decisions on whether the plan will improve their lives.
“The hope is, is that over time, they can become capable of governing,” Kushner said when asked if he believes the Palestinians can govern themselves without Israeli interference.
According to excerpts from the interview published late Sunday on the Axios website, Kushner said the Palestinians “need to have a fair judicial system … freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions” before the Palestinian territories can become “investable.”
Kushner told Axios that the Palestinians “should have self-determination,” without saying whether that would mean an independent state or some lesser form of autonomy.
He has previously hinted that the plan will not endorse creating a Palestinian state.
In the Axios interview, Kushner said “I think that it’s a high bar” when asked if the Palestinians could expect freedom from any Israeli governmental or military interference.
“If you don’t have a proper government structure and proper security when people are living in fear of terror, that hurts Palestinians,” he said.
The Palestinian leadership has already dismissed the upcoming peace plan, saying Trump’s actions so far have shown him to be blatantly biased in favor of Israel.
Those actions include declaring the disputed city of Jerusalem Israel’s capital, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian aid and closing the Palestinians’ de facto embassy in Washington.
Jared Kushner refused to say outright on Sunday whether he would hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the gruesome death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
MBS previously bragged Jared was “in his pocket." https://t.co/mYeREVmcb1
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) June 3, 2019
“I’m not here to be trusted,” Kushner told Axios, adding he differentiates between the Palestinians and their leaders.
The interview was recorded before Kushner’s visit to Jerusalem last week, a trip that also included stops in Morocco and Jordan.
Pompeo Doubts Plan
On Sunday, U.S. media reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is worried the Trump administration’s soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan will be considered “unworkable,” and might not gain traction.
Pompeo’s remarks to a private meeting of Jewish leaders, first reported by The Washington Post, show that even the plan’s own backers expect the latest United States blueprint for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be met with deep skepticism.
“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,'” the Post reported, citing an audio recording of the meeting it had obtained.
When asked about the recording in an interview in Switzerland Monday with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Pompeo did not deny its authenticity.
He acknowledged that, given the “important relationship” the U.S. has with Israel, “I could see how someone might be concerned that a plan that this administration put forward might – without knowing the true facts of what is contained in the plan – they might perceive that it was going to be fundamentally one-sided.”
But, he stressed, “it is just simply not true. I think there will be things in this plan that lots of people like.”
The peace plan was previously delayed over Israel’s April 9 general elections and could now face further postponements related to Israeli politics.
Israel will go to the polls again on September 17 after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition, and such a plan is considered too sensitive by many analysts to introduce during an electoral campaign.