Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, said a US peace plan for the Middle East will address final issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including establishing borders.
In an interview broadcast on Monday on Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi, Kushner made no specific mention of a Palestinian state, whose creation had been at the foundation of Washington’s peace efforts for two decades.
However, he said the long-awaited peace proposal would build on “a lot of the efforts in the past”, including the 1990s Oslo Accords that provided a foundation for Palestinian statehood, and would require concessions from both sides.
Kushner is on a five-nation tour to Gulf Arab states. Accompanied by US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and US envoy for Iran Brian Hook, Kushner is visiting Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
US officials said that Kushner was expected to focus on the economic component of the plan during the week-long trip, according to the Reuters news agency.
However, Kushner said that in addition to its economic component, the proposal also contained a “political plan, which is very detailed” and “really about establishing borders and resolving final-status issues”.
“The goal will be to focus on developing the infrastructure, the rules, the training for a lot of the people so that you can bring a lot of opportunities and prosperity to the region,” said Kushner.
Kushner, 38, has been given responsibility over Washington’s Israel-Palestine policy, along with other top postings, after his father-in-law was inaugurated in January 2017.
Kushner’s reference to borders heated up Israel‘s election campaign on Tuesday. Far-right politicians portrayed his comments as a harbinger to a Palestinian state they oppose.
Naftali Bennett, a hardline rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accused the Israeli leader of conspiring with Kushner to establish a Palestinian state. Netanyahu, meanwhile, vowed to resist pressure to make concessions.
Kushner said Washington would present the plan only after the April 9 vote.
The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected the plan, with President Mahmoud Abbas saying he will not negotiate with the US in the wake of Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in talks that collapsed in 2014, said on Twitter about Kushner’s comments that “Trump’s map” envisaged “isolated territories for the Palestinians”.
Erekat also said a plan that doesn’t establish a Palestinian state “will not fly”.