June 24 (UPI) — Jared Kushner, senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, said the administration plans to soon release its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, in an interview with Palestinian media released Sunday.
In his interview with Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, Kushner said a successful peace deal would require both parties “to gain more than they give and to feel confident that the lives of their people will be better off in decades from now because of the compromises they make,” but added he was unsure of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas‘ willingness to accept such a deal.
“President Abbas says that he is committed to peace and I have no reason not to believe him,” Kushner said. “However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years. There has been no peace deal achieved in that time. To make a deal both sides will have to take a leap and meet somewhere between their stated positions. I am not sure President Abbas has the ability to do that.”
Kushner also expressed appreciation for Abbas’ efforts to establish the “foundations of peace,” but added he believes the Palestinian people don’t sense improvement in their lives.
“There is only so long you can blame that on everyone other than Palestinian leadership,” he said. “The global community is getting frustrated with Palestinian leadership and not seeing many actions that are constructive towards achieving peace.”
He went on to speculate that Abbas has referred to the administration’s trip to the region as a “waste of time” indicates Palestinian leadership is concerned the people may approve of his deal, but said he remains open to a meeting with Abbas.
“My job is to work with the parties in charge, so I am ready to work with President Abbas if he is willing. There is a good deal to be done here from what I assess,” Kushner said.
Kushner added he believed the Trump administration’s approach toward a deal is different than past attempts because it is focused on the desires of the people and said it might relieve some political pressure if leaders from both sides allowed people to vote on whether or not to accept the deal.
While Kushner wouldn’t reveal specifics of the peace deal proposal, he said the administration believes its economic plan for the region could “allow the governments to divert some of their funds from heavy investments in military and defense into better education, services and infrastructure for their people” if peaceful coexistence is achieved.
His comments came after he and Trump special envoy to the peace process Jason Greenblatt met with leaders in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who he said supported the Palestinian people and could also benefit from a peace deal.
“The actual details of the deal are between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the economic plan we are working on will extend to the Jordanian and Egyptian people as well,” Kushner said. “This conflict has held the whole region back and there is so much untapped potential that can be released if peace is achieved.”
Kushner encouraged the Palestinian people and their leadership to “be open towards a solution and to not be afraid of trying” and called on both parties to view the deal as a package and consider if they will be better off with what they will receive in exchange for what they choose to give up.
“It will be up to the leadership and the people of both sides to determine what is an acceptable compromise in exchange for significant gains,” he said.