The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) announced on Thursday that President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, has “disqualified himself” from brokering a peace deal in the Middle East because he has already taken Israel’s side.
On Tuesday, a leaked audio came out from what was supposed to be a private meeting Kushner had with a group of congressional interns. In the audio, Kushner was heard responding that he was uncertain if it would be possible to find a solution for peace in the Middle East.
“What do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know,” Kushner said, responding to a question about how to achieve peace. “I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but, again, we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is, and we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution.
“And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So, we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future,” he continued.
The Jerusalem Post reported that PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi responded to Kushner’s leaked statement, saying, “Of course, he’s not qualified because he disqualifies himself.”
Kushner had agreed that the recent crisis over the mosque in East Jerusalem was initiated by the Palestinians, a stance the PLO did not appreciate.
“His talk was really problematic. It betrays not just deep bias but a lack of knowledge of the history itself, and, therefore, of the needs and requirements for a solution,” Ashrawi said.
“If you don’t know the significance of the holy places and the fact that Israel is changing not just the status quo but religious responsibility there, and you don’t know the impact of offending people’s spiritual commitments and feelings, then you don’t know anything about the solution itself,” Ashrawi said.
“There are two things you cannot do if you want to have a real solution,” she continued.
“Firstly, you cannot approach things with a negative attitude that maybe it can’t be done. You need a very positive and determined attitude. Secondly, you can’t approach this having wholeheartedly adopted the position of one party in violation of international law and the rights of the other party. These are two things that preclude achieving any kind of solution. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that we are so pro-Israeli we are going to take Israel’s side. Israel is the occupying power, enslaving another people, acting outside the law and you cannot say there is no solution. If so, why even try?”
Ashrawi claimed Kushner is not qualified to be the middle-man on peace in the Middle East, stating, “The facts speak for themselves. Look at his statements, attitude, long-standing friendship with Netanyahu and his family, and his ideological language when it comes to Israel-Palestine. He demonstrates clearly where he stands. Of course, he’s not qualified because he disqualifies himself.”
Palestinian Legislative Council member Abdullah Abdullah, a supporter of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, also agreed Kushner is unqualified, saying, “He was raised in an extreme Zionist narrative, so you can’t expect him to know anything better. He doesn’t know the other side of the story. And, if you want to mediate, you must be objective, neutral, and listen to and absorb both narratives. He has only one narrative and it’s not easy to feed him with a new one.”
In the leaked talk with congressional interns, Kushner stated, “We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, ‘How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation?’”
The Jerusalem Post reported that Ashrawi called Kushner’s approach “ridiculous,” saying, “If he wants to move ahead to the future, he has to understand that we have a culture, a history, a reality, a presence on Palestinian land for centuries. Israel was created in 1948. This is history. It occupied another 22% of the land in 1967. This is history. And if we ignore that we have no tools to resolve the conflict or achieve any kind of solution for the future.”
Abdullah placed the larger share of the blame on President Trump. “Do you think Trump is better than Kushner in understanding there are two narratives? Trump, until this moment, did not say one word against the illegal settlements, while every administration before him condemned them. And he hasn’t uttered the words two-state solution. Both are new to the political scene. Both need to read more and be more open,” Abdullah said.
“If the Americans believe in terms of reference entrenched in international law and UN resolutions, and see the end goal as ending [the] occupation and establishing a Palestinian state, we are ready to help them,” Abdullah added. “But if they leave it to the Israeli government to determine the outcome, it’s a non-starter. Thus far, that’s what they are doing.”
On Wednesday, a bill was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) intending to restrict funding to the Palestinian Authority. The bill is heading to the Senate floor for a full vote, after being approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a 16-5 vote.
The “Taylor Force Act” is named after Taylor Force, a 28-year-old American who was stabbed to death last year by a Palestinian who launched a brutal attack in Tel Aviv that also injured 12 other people, The Hill reported. Force was in Israel with a Vanderbilt University study group at the time he was killed, and had served tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The bill will cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority until it proves it has taken “credible steps to end acts of violence against the United States and Israeli citizens,” and has “terminated payments for acts of [terrorism] against U.S. and Israeli citizens.”
Currently, in a “pay-to-slay” program, financial compensation is awarded to families of terrorists, where the Palestinian Authority shells out a whopping $300 million annually from the “Martyr’s Fund.”
The terrorist who killed Taylor Force in the Tel Aviv attack last year was shot and killed by authorities, and his family received financial compensation in return.
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