Erekat 'surprised' by Kushner's skepticism about peace plan

PA's chief negotiator says he's surprised by Jared Kushner's comments expressing doubt about existence of solution to Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Tal Polon ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Flash 90

The PA’s chief negotiator was “surprised” by a recent comments made by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner expressing doubt about the prospects for peace between Israel and the PA.

On Tuesday, Wired released a transcript of Kushner speaking in a closed conversation, during which he expressed doubt about the possibility of reaching a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“What do we offer that's unique?” he asked. “ I don’t know … 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,” Kushner said.

In an interview with the New York Times published on Wednesday, senior PA official Saeb Erekat, who has represented the PA in talks with Israel for roughly a quarter of a century, said that he had spoken with Kushner “more than once” and had held at least 19 meetings with US officials since February. He reportedly expressed surprise at Kushner’s comments, “not least because Mr. Kushner had emphasized how serious Mr. Trump was about seeking” a peace agreement, and noted that US officials have said “many times that they are not against two states.”

He also reportedly proposed, “as a next step to rebuild trust,” that Israel and the PA should put all issues into writing, and have the US organize them into three categories: issues on which there is agreement, issues of disagreement that can be resolved by US mediation, and issues about which there is “major disagreement,” whereby “the sides would have to be brought to the table to make decisions.”

Erekat has recently been suffering from a serious lung disease, and had set his hopes on receiving a lung transplant in Israel - the very country he has spent his career lambasting for “war crimes” and “genocide.”

However, the Health Ministry and the National Transplant Center made clear on Tuesday that Erekat would only receive a transplant under rare circumstances.

"Only patients who are residents of the State of Israel can be registered in the national waiting list for transplants," they said in a statement.

While they added that "In cases where no Israeli patient is found to receive the organ, it is possible to transplant the donated organ to a non-resident of Israel, subject to the consent of the donor's family, in coordination with the transplant center,” they emphasized that “Such cases are extremely rare.”