White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told Sky News Arabia on Monday that the highly anticipated U.S. Mideast peace plan will be about “drawing the borders” between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in addition to resolving fundamental issues surrounding the 70-plus-year tension.
“What we have been trying to do is to formulate realistic and just solutions to these issues in 2019 that will allow people to live a better life,” said Kushner, also U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law who, along with special envoy Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, has been negotiating since Trump took office in 2017.
“Our focus was on four principles: the first is freedom, where we want people to enjoy freedom, freedom of opportunity, religion and worship, regardless of their beliefs, as well as respect,” added Kushner.
He did the interview as part of his Mideast trip this week that includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The Trump administration announced the peace plan will be released after the Israeli elections.
On Sunday, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett sounded the alarm on the upcoming peace proposal: “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and President Trump have agreed to come out with the plan to establish a Palestinian state on 90 percent [of the West Bank],”
He added, “They’ve agreed not to present the plan before election day so that it doesn’t hurt Netanyahu, but a day or two after election day the plan will be presented, and will include the division of Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu dismissed Bennett’s claims: “It’s natural for him to be anxious, and to get a little confused. It goes without saying that elections can do funny things to small parties.”
Bennett added to his concerns in response to the Kushner interview: “There’s a clear and immediate danger in front of us: the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
The so-called “deal of the century” will consist of the United States recognizing a Palestinian state with contingencies; its capital would consist of remote parts of eastern Jerusalem. It will also include official U.S. recognition of large Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, according to the source, who did not know which ones.