JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Jared Kushner, the top adviser to US President Donald Trump, said he was "ready to work" with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka, spoke in an interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, the Arabic name of Jerusalem .
In the interview, which was titled, "I am ready to work with President Abbas, if you wish" and published in Arabic, Kushner gave a direct message to the Palestinian people: "You deserve to have a bright future, now is the time for the Israelis and the Palestinians to strengthen their leaders and reorient them to encourage them to open up towards a solution, and not be afraid to try, "the newspaper reported.
Washington has said it has a peace plan, but Abbas has refused to meet with Trump's team after his decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy there. UU The Palestinians want their own future state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
Kushner, who has taken the lead in Trump's plan, said he did not "want to talk about the details of the agreement we're working on." But he said it would be ready "soon".
"If President Abbas is ready to return to the negotiating table, then we are ready to participate in the discussion, but if this is not the case, then we will make the plan public."
He added: "I believe that to reach an agreement, both parties will earn more than they give, and both parties will feel sure that the lives of their people will be better in the coming decades due to the concessions they are offering. . "
The article was published after the White House confirmed that Kushner and Trump Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt met on Saturday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador David Friedman to continue their discussions that started on Friday. 19659004] Kushner and Greenblatt's trip to Jerusalem followed a regional tour that included Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. They also held talks in Saudi Arabia, which does not recognize Israel but shares its enmity with Iran.
The White House has offered few details about a plan that has generated widespread skepticism even before its inauguration. Most experts question whether Kushner and Greenblatt, who had no prior diplomatic experience, can reach any agreement.
Kushner's statements to Al Quds, in what the newspaper described as his first media interview on the Middle East initiative in the administration, highlighted the Trump administration's attempts to deliver a message directly to the Palestinian people, when their leaders refused to meet him. Team of the United States
When asked by the newspaper what the Arab leaders had told him, Kushner said that "they clarified that they want to see a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital." They want an agreement that allows the Palestinian people to live in peace and have the same economic opportunities that their people enjoy. "
He added:" They want to see an agreement that respects the dignity of the Palestinians, and a real solution to the problems that have been discussed for decades. All insist that the al-Aqsa mosque should remain open to all Muslims who wish to pray. "
Kushner emphasized the economic benefits of an agreement and said he believed that" we can attract large investments in infrastructure from both the private and public "to improve the Palestinian economy."
When the editor-in-chief of Al Quds, Walid Abu-Zalaf, asked him how his plan differs from the previous ones, Kushner said that he and his team "spent a lot of time listening and focusing on the people. " Challenged by an Abbas adviser's claim that the US plan was" a waste of time and destined to fail, "Kushner said he believed the Palestinian leadership said" because he fears that we publish our peaceful plan. "That will please the Palestinian people."
He said that he had not been in direct contact with Abbas, but that the intermediaries had transmitted the messages.
Kushner also made critical comments about Abbas. The Palestinian leader, said Kushner, "says he is committed to peace, and I have no reason not to believe him." But he added: "I question the ability or desire of President Abbas to end the deal, he has the same talking points that have not changed in the last 25 years, no peace was achieved during that period."
When asked about the situation in Gaza, controlled by Abbas's rivals, the Islamist militant group Hamas, Kushner said: "What is happening in Gaza is very sad." The situation began before President Trump arrived. to power, but we have to try to make improvements.The level of desperation reveals the worst scenario that can occur when things go unresolved and when it is allowed to continue. "
He said that the inhabitants of Gaza were "hostages of bad leadership" who could not commit themselves to the international community. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.
The plan is expected to propose detailed solutions to central issues in dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, such as borders, the future of Israeli settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security.
The Trump administration has said it would support a two-state solution if both parties agree, but in the interview Kushner did not commit to a two-state solution.
Pressed by the interviewer on "traditional" matters, in opposition to the economic concerns he had focused on, Kushner did not go into details, but said that "fundamental traditional issues are very important" and that his team appreciated "the historical differences between the two parties".
He added: "We are committed to finding a package of solutions that both parties can live in. Solving fundamental problems without creating a path to a better life will not lead to a lasting solution."
Report of Stephen Farrell and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Additional reports by Yara Bayoumy in Washington; Edition of Leslie Adler