Kushner optimistic, undeterred in his first public comments on the peace process in the Middle East – tech2.org

Kushner optimistic, undeterred in his first public comments on the peace process in the Middle East


  Jared Kushner is represented. | AP Photo

President Donald Trump's Senior Advisor to the White House, Jared Kushner, speaks during the Saban Forum 2017 in Washington on December 3. Photo by José Luis Magana / AP

Shorter Jared Kushner: I'm still here.

On Sunday, the president's son-in-law used his first public statements about the Middle East peace process to defend his own continued relevance in the Trump White House, even when the Russian investigation and the stricter reign of [19659005] chief of staff John Kelly has apparently pushed him aside.

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"We believe it is possible," Kushner said of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. His comments came [19659005] during a 30-minute question and answer session with Haim Saban, one of the largest pro-Israel donors of the Democratic Party, at the annual Saban Forum, held at the Willard InterContinental Washington Hotel.

Kushner's long-awaited appearance in the midst of re-scrutiny of his role as t The "very old" transitional officer who instructed then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn to contact the Russian ambbadador in late 2016 about a United Nations resolution on Israel. And it came days after the New York Times reported that Kelly considered a reorganization of the west wing that includes Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, leaving the administration completely by the end of the year.

But his relaxed appearance – a blue jacket over a black sweater, without a tie – sent a clear message that Kushner is being soldier, undeterred. His criminal lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who represents him in the special lawyer Robert Mueller's investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections, was at the hearing of Kushner's presentation on Sunday. But other attendees said he was simply in Lowell's capacity as a long-standing figure in Washington's powerful Jewish community, not as a legal representative.

The monitoring of the Middle East peace process during the past year has been one of the most ambitious portfolios, and one that has been deliberately conducted in silence, without announcing any timetable for reaching an agreement, and even making secret trips unforeseen to countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia.

Experts from the region anxiously awaited any updates during the public comments of the son-in-law seen-but-rarely heard from the president. Kushner offered badurances that there was a concrete plan in the works, but added little in terms of details. "We have been deliberate about not setting deadlines," he said.

"The president has a very long career to accomplish things that many people say were not possible," Kushner told Saban during a skeptical questioning about how Trump could achieve an agreement that has eluded all his predecessors. "The most recent example of that was the choice."

President Donald Trump should not be underestimated because he showed that skeptics were wrong during the 2016 race, perhaps the most concrete reason that Kushner expressed for his confidence in the peace in the Middle East project. He said he saw a peace agreement as a key to larger regional conflicts, such as Iran's growing nuclear ambitions and the threat of Islamic State militants, and said that "Israel is a much more natural ally today than it was 20 years ago. years because of Iran and ISIS extremism. "

" If we are going to try to create more stability in the region as a whole, you have to solve this problem, "he said.

Saban, who was one of Hillary Clinton's elders Campaign donors thanked Kushner for his efforts to urge Russia to intervene last year on a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements Israelis The Obama administration abstained from voting, which angered Israel. That intervention now has Kushner in Mueller's hot seat after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI agents

"You and your team were taking steps to try the UN Security Council he did not agree with what ended up being an abstention, "Saban said. "As far as I know, there's nothing illegal there."

Saban presented Kushner as "a successful 36-year-old businessman who left everything behind to serve his country." But later, he also expressed skepticism about the process led by Kushner.

"There is no Middle East macher in this group," he said of Kushner's small team, consisting mainly of Trump-loyal members with no diplomatic experience. "With all due respect, it's a group of Orthodox Jews who have no idea of ​​anything."

Kushner defended his principal envoy, former real estate attorney Trump Organization Jason Greenblatt, arguing that "there is no better real estate lawyer than Jason Greenblatt, who has been working on it." There are many real estate problems "

If Kushner expressed public confidence in his process, he has been less self-confident in private comments he has made in the past. "What do we offer that is unique? I do not know," he told the congressional interns last August, in an unofficial conversation that was then leaked to Wired. "There may be no solution, but it is one of the sets of problems the president asked us to focus on"

On Sunday, Kushner also insisted that no final decision was made on whether to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel and seat of the US embbady. UU .: a change in the state that would mark the fulfillment of a Trump campaign promise. "He keeps seeing many different facts and then, when he makes his decision," Kushner said of the president, "he'll be the one to tell you, not me."

Last week, administration officials said that Trump had decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but keep the embbady in its current location in Tel Aviv. Trump is expected to deliver a speech on the issue on Wednesday.

If the public appearance of Kushner Sunday was clear in the details, experts in the region said they were impressed, however, with the seriousness of the mission.

"It conveyed a kind of competition," said Dennis Ross, who served as President Bill Clinton's envoy to the Middle East. "They clearly link this issue with broader regional security, they see it in a region that is characterized by great chaos and as a critical element in trying to address that chaos."

Ross added that "without obtaining in the detail According to the plan, Kushner confirmed that there is a plan and that they will solve the big problems, I felt more convinced that the effort is really serious".

"They believe, fundamentally, that the previous administration made a mistake in revealing the progress of the talks," said Omri Ceren, principal advisor to The Israel Project, a non-partisan educational organization. "They have made a conscious decision that they would not publicly speak of any progress they are making, which is something he clarified."

In fact, Kushner channeled his father-in-law, praising the lack of leaks from the media surrounding the process, And he badured the audience that people who need to know what's going on are on the circuit – even if the general public is not.

"We know what's in the plan, the Israelis know what discussions we've had with them," he said. "We're not going to reveal that today, I'm optimistic that there's a lot of hope for a conclusion on that."

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