Political News

Kushner casts doubt on Palestinian leader's commitment to peace deal

Posted June 24, 2018 8:05 a.m. EDT

— Jared Kushner said he is ready to work toward a peace agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but cast doubt on Abbas' commitment to completing a deal.

In an interview with al-Quds newspaper, the White House senior adviser said although he has no reason not to believe Abbas when the leader says he is committed to peace, he criticized the Palestinian leader's "talking points that haven't changed in the past 25 years."

"President Abbas says that he is committed to peace and I have no reason not to believe him," Kushner said, according to a transcript of the interview. "More importantly, President Trump committed to him early on that he would work to make a fair deal for the Palestinian people. 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."

Kushner, who is also President Donald Trump's son-in-law, has been part of the administration's team working toward a Mideast peace proposal since Trump took office, and said in the interview that the administration's Mideast plan will be ready soon -- noting that they are "almost done."

"I don't want to speak about specifics of the deal we are working on, but like I said in my speech in Jerusalem -- I believe that for a deal to be made, both parties will gain more than they give and feel confident that the lives of their people will be better off in decades from now because of the compromises they make," Kushner said.

Kushner also addressed Palestinians directly in the interview, where he said they deserve "a bright future."

The interview comes not long after the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which sparked massive protests and stalled the peace deal efforts.

"We believe that it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give so all people can live in peace, safe from danger, free from fear and able to pursue their dreams," Kushner said during his speech at the opening of the US embassy in May. "I believe peace is within reach if we dare to believe the future can be different from the past. That we are not condemned to relive history, and that the way things were is not how they must forever be."