President Donald Trump’s son-in-la and personal advisor Jared Kushner on Sunday told Egyptian journalist Amr Adib on MBC Masr’s Al Hikaya news program that the White House peace plan, a.k.a. Deal of the Century, seeks to curb the expansion of the settlements where more than half a million people live today, in order to enable the feasibility of a future Palestinian state.
Kushner told the Egyptian interviewer that blocking the growth of the settlements was made possible in exchange for giving territory to Israel which it would have never left anyway. He also said the map that has been attached to the program is not a scientific map, but only a concept map.
“Whether you draw the line here or there – it doesn’t matter,” Kushner said.
“If the Palestinians don’t like where the line is drawn they should tell us where they want to draw it,” Kushner said.
The Trump adviser rejected the claims that the PA had been offered better maps in the past, and said that never in the past peace negotiations had any official map been presented that Israel agreed to.
“It will take us two months to work out some of the territory and understand how to turn the concept map into a technical map – every road, every hill and every inch – and we want to see if we can this territory recognized,” Kushner said.
Kushner went on to say that Israel made some compromises when it agreed to the proposed American outline, stressing that Israel had never before agreed to a Palestinian state, to the principle of land for peace in Judea and Samaria, to a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, and to a map.”
Kushner pointed out that the Trump peace outline allows every Muslim in the world to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but evaded a question about the separation between the mosque and the border of the future Palestinian capital.
He attacked the “Palestinian leadership,” saying it has a 20-year track record of missing every opportunity and a zero success rate.
“In my business, when someone tries to make a deal for 20 years and fails, they are replaced by someone else who knows how to make a deal,” Kushner said.
In that context we should remind the reader that back in January 2007, Tishman Speyer sold 666 Fifth Avenue to Kushner Properties for $1.8 billion, which at the time was the highest price ever paid for an individual building in Manhattan. Then, virtually a minute later, the real estate market took a deep dive, sticking the big deal maker Kushner with an ever-increasing debt, unable to raise rents to the anticipated levels and losing millions of dollars a year just in interest payments on the loan he had to take out.
Kushner told Egyptian TV that many people had told him the PA never wanted to make a peace deal at all over the years, since it was receiving billions of dollars from abroad and its senior officials, together with their associates and friends, were becoming rich.
“So why would they want to make a deal?” Kushner asked, “I don’t think they wanted to solve the problem.”
Kushner turned his criticism in particular against the head of the PA negotiating team, Saeb Erekat: “He’s been saying the same things all these years and for some reason journalists continue to take him seriously. Much of what he says turns out to be wrong. He has been head of the negotiating team for 25 years without making a deal. He is an example of a serial failure in trying to achieve a peace agreement.”
He called on Erekat to return to the negotiating table, thank Israel for the compromises it has made as part of the plan, then raise “four, five, six reservations” about it and say: “Consider changing it, and if you do – there’s a deal.”
Saeb Erekat responded to Kushner’s lashing, saying: “The failure to reach a peace agreement is because of people like you (Kushner), who want to dictate and think they are capable of forcing Netanyahu’s apartheid over the Palestinian people forever. Ending the occupation and establishing two states along the 1967 lines – that’s the only thing that can work.”