In a behind closed doors meeting with the UN Security Council in New York yesterday, US presidential aide, Jared Kushner, blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, which erupted after Trump’s “peace plan” was unveiled on 28 January.
Kushner said Abbas “does have a responsibility” because leaders who are ready to form a state “don’t call for days of rage and encourage their people to pursue violence if they’re not getting what they want”. A spokesperson for Abbas blamed Trump’s Middle East plan for the unrest.
Violence in the Occupied Territories has escalated since the announcement of the deal, with two teens and a Palestinian Authority policeman killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank, and 12 Israeli soldiers injured in car ramming in Jerusalem yesterday.
Kushner added that the so-called “deal of the century” may be the final chance to establish a Palestinian nation because the rate of Israeli expansion will soon prevent the formation of an adjoined state.
The presidential aide said it is still possible but “very, very difficult to have a contiguous state where you can drive from the top to the bottom”.
Trump’s son-in-law, who has worked on the peace deal for three years, again appealed for the Palestinian leadership to negotiate with the Israelis in order to conclude the deal but said that “we’re not going to chase them”.
However, attempts to open channels of discussion in a proposed press conference with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have been termed “pathetic” and “irrelevant” by Kushner.
“It comes from a lot of jealousy that they couldn’t do it themselves… neither made any substantial contributions to the peace process when they had the chance,” the presidential aide added.
Despite calling for negotiations between the two parties in an interview with Egyptian news channel MBC Masr on Sunday, Kushner said “we’re not going to chase them”.
The president’s son-in-law called the Palestinian leadership “disrespectful” after Abbas “rejected the plan before he even saw it” but said he thought “that he [Abbas] was surprised with how good the plan was for the Palestinian people”.
The proposed plan would create a Palestinian state on approximately 70 per cent of the occupied West Bank, and pockets of land in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, with Abu Dis, a suburb of Jerusalem, as the capital, connected by roads and tunnels.
However, the deal is predicated on certain conditions which Kushner termed “basic”. The Palestinian leadership must create a democratic state, ensuring freedom of the press, free elections and disband Hamas.