Trump’s special advisor spoke with Arab and Israeli journalists on ‘Deal of the Century’, addressed PA and PLO boycott and absence at Bahrain conference; Kushner addresses Palestinian refugees and Arab’s failure to absorb them; Kushner: Palestinians are starting to see that Israel is not responsible for their problems, it’s their leaders.
“The Palestinians made a strategic mistake” by not participating in President Trump’s recent workshop in Bahrain, a $50 billion economic plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon, according to President Trump’s Special Advisor to the Middle East, Jared Kushner. His remarks are from a recent press briefing with Arab and Israeli journalists. Kushner addressed the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) absence at the workshop centered on improving the economies of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians have boycotted the Trump Administration since the President’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and even detained a Palestinian businessperson who participated in the workshop.
Kushner clarified that while the President deeply respects Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “The Palestinian leadership has made a strategic mistake by not engaging on this [workshop]; they look very foolish for trying to fight against this.” He added that the Palestinian people are able to more clearly see the corruption of its leadership by their absence, stating “Palestinians are starting to see that Israel is not responsible for their problems, it’s their leaders.”
Specifically on President Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, he claimed “The president was very clear that he wants a solution to this issue and made it clear that he would work hard for that, but the Palestinian leadership will have to enlist and show that it is interested in a better life for the citizens.”
When asked about Palestinian refugees and their claims to the “right of return,” Kushner referred to the history of Jewish refugees, who are to this day spread across the world, and the Arab world’s failure to absorb Palestinian refugees. On this, he stated, “when this whole thing started… you had 800,000 Jewish refugees that came out of all the different Middle Eastern countries, and you had 800,000, roughly, Palestinian refugees… what’s happened… to the Jewish – refugees, is they have been absorbed by different places, whereas the Arab world has not absorbed a lot of these refugees over time.”
He added that President Trump’s plan would “try to put forward the best-proposed solutions that we think are pragmatic, achievable, and viable in this day and age.”