PA: Kushner 'indifferent' about Palestinians

PA spokesman condemns Jared Kushner for questioning PA's ability to govern itself, says peace plan meant to bring 'prosperity for settlers.'

Gary Willig ,

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner

Palestinian Authority spokesman Saeb Erekat condemned Jared Kushner after the Trump administration official questioned whether the Palestinian Arabs were capable of governing themselves.

"Kushner is very much indifferent about Palestinians. He has disqualified himself from any role in the peace making. I call upon Arabs not to talk to these settlers (Kushner, Greenblatt, FrIedman) about peace.They are planning prosperity for the settlers?" Erekat said.

Erekat's comments came after Kushner, one of the architects of the White House's Middle East plan, was asked in an interview on "Axios on HBO" whether he believes the Palestinian Arabs are capable of governing themselves without Israeli interference. Kushner replied, "That's a very good question. ... The hope is, is that over time, they can become capable of governing."

Kushner added that Palestinian Arabs "need to have a fair judicial system ... freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions" before the Palestinian territories can become "investable."

Asked whether Palestinian Arabs could expect freedom from any Israeli governmental or military interference, Kushner said, "I think that it's a high bar. ... If you don't have a proper government structure and proper security when people are living in fear of terror, that hurts Palestinians."

At the same time, Kushner also said in the interview that he believes the Palestinian Arabs "should have self-determination."

He was also asked whether he understands why the Palestinian Arabs don't trust him. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been boycotting the US ever since President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December of 2017, and has rejected the US peace plan before it has even been unveiled.

Kushner replied, "I'm not here to be trusted" and added that he thinks the Palestinian people — if not their leaders — will not "judge anything based on trusting me," but instead will judge the Trump peace plan "based on the facts and then make a determination: Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?"

Asked whether Palestinian Arabs deserve their own independent sovereign state with the capital in eastern Jerusalem, he replied. "There's a difference between the technocrats and ... the people."

While "the technocrats are focused on very technocratic things," continued Kushner, "when I speak to Palestinian people, what they want is they want the opportunity to live a better life. They want the opportunity to pay their mortgage."

Asked how he knows what the Palestinian people want given he's "not exactly walking on the streets of Ramallah every day," Kushner implied he's having lots of private conversations with regular Palestinians that people don't know about.