Erekat blasts 'arrogant' Kushner

PA negotiator fires back after Trump's senior adviser said Erekat has "perfect track record at failing at making peace deals".

Elad Benari ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat

Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official Saeb Erekat on Sunday blasted US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner over his remarks holding Erekat responsible for failing to reach a peace agreement with Israel, the Xinhua news agency reports.

In an in interview with the Egyptian MBC Masr network in which he discussed the US peace plan, Kushner accused Erekat, who serves as the PA’s chief negotiator, of having "a perfect track record at failing at making peace deals".

In response, Erekat said Kushner is trying to distort the Palestinian positions by making statements that contradict with the reality of their actions.

"We will strive to achieve a Palestinian state with the support of all believers in the justice of our cause, armed with law and international legitimacy," added Erekat, according to Xinhua.

"The so-called Deal of the Century dictated the outcome of borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security, settlements and water. These issues are agreed to be negotiated between Palestinians and Israeli as permanent status issues," he said.

"When I say these issues must be negotiated between us and Israel directly, Kushner responded by calling me a failed negotiator ... and he negotiated on my behalf ... This is the art of dictation, arrogance and blackmail," Erekat charged.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejected the US peace plan outright, stating that the plan would be relegated to the "dustbin of history."

On Saturday, Abbas spoke at a gathering of the Arab League in Cairo, where he once again rejected the US plan.

"I was surprised by Trump's announcement of the peace deal. The Americans called and told me that Trump wanted to send me the deal so that I could read it. I refused. They tried to get me on the phone with him a few times. I refused,” he said.

"According to the plan, an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and Al Aqsa Mosque as well will be divided in terms of days and times for prayer. Regarding Al Aqsa, they wrote 'the Temple Mount.' Meaning one day, they (the Jews - ed.) will pray there, and one day we will,” he added.

Abbas stressed that "I reject the plan outright. I will not go down in history as the one who sold Jerusalem."

Kushner, who was part of the team that authored the US peace plan, last week urged the PA to resume talks with Israel.

“This is a pivotal moment. We can choose to work together now to build on this unprecedented opportunity or return to the same old talking points and positions that lead us to where we are today. Palestinians may have issues with aspects of this plan. But to address them, they should identify the areas they would like to improve and agree to negotiate with Israel. Failure to do so would be to miss an opportunity which may never come again,” he wrote in an op-ed on the CNN website.