Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump’s Senior Advisor Jared Kushner today held a tree planting ceremony and inaugurated the Kushner Garden for Peace at the Grove of Nations.
During the ceremony, Kushner thanked Netanyahu for his "gracious hospitality and for all the incredible time we were able to spend together working through some very complicated challenges."
"While I knew you before I got into my government's service, I have to say that over the last years I've gotten a chance to know you very, very well. It's been an absolute honor and a pleasure.
"Through all the experiences we've challenged each other, we've learned from each other, but we've been able to create a new framework that's bringing a lot of progress to Israel and to the entire world.
And I think that you know even above the positive sentiment the results are what really matter. And I do believe that together we've achieved some historic results," he told Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Addressing the four peace agreements the Trump Administration has brokered between Israel and Arab countries this year, Kushner said: "Together, we were able to focus on pursuing common interests between our countries. We approached what were seemingly intractable problems with a fresh set of eyes but we made sure that we were informed by the past approaches and we used common sense. Most importantly, we used common sense and we took a pragmatic realism towards challenges that quite frankly have been left unresolved for way too long."
"By doing things differently, we created new opportunities and then we seized those opportunities when they presented themselves.
"Working with you, President Trump was willing to take the risks that others were not willing to take. To pursue opportunities that others thought were too hard and then also to spend time and political capital that many thought he should not spend. Our collective efforts have led to the birth of the new Middle East where firsts and breakthroughs are happening almost every day.
"President Trump said that these peace agreements are a lot harder than he's making them look but they all take a lot of time and negotiation and effort and every single day we're seeing new good news coming from this region which is something that has not happened for a very long time.
"Tomorrow, we will very proudly advance the Abraham Accords with the first direct commercial flight on El Al from Israel to Morocco.
"For this breakthrough I would like to thank my friend, King Mohammed VI as this will bring about a whole new set of opportunities for northern Africa and the entire Middle East.
"As this new Middle East moves forward, I hope that all countries will focus on pursuing common interests for the benefits of their citizens instead of being held back by stale thinking and old conflicts.
Scapegoating, anti-Semitism and isolating Israel have led to destructive behavior that has held the world back for far too long.
Noting the differences between the Trump Administration's approach and previous attempts at facilitating Middle East Peace, Kushner said that "the experts for so long were focused on intellectual issues instead of focusing on what are we all trying to desire and achieve as people. And if we can agree on those common goals then the rest is just details. And we need to find win-win situations for how we get there."
"Through this common ground, there remains tremendous opportunity for more peace and progress for Israel, the Middle East and the entire world.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu and his entire team. Specifically I would like to acknowledge Ambassador Dermer in Washington who has done an incredible job representing the State of Israel and the people of Israel and also Meir Ben-Shabbat, the National Security Advisor, who we've had the great fortune to work with, and the entire team all the Israeli officials I've worked with. It's been a total pleasure. I would like to thank you for such a special friendship and partnership over the last years," he said.
"You've shown that Israel is willing to compromise for true peace, just not for security.
I urge the world as it goes forward to take the time to understand Israel's perspective and to ask yourself if you would make the compromises Israel has been asked to make if you were in the Prime Minister's shoes.
Kushner pointed out that for peace to work, both Israel and its neighbors must feel secure. "To create a lasting and sustainable peace any deal made must make all people more secure, free to worship how they choose and with sustainable opportunity for economic development and prosperity. This is a simple approach but it was surprisingly controversial when we started because it went against the conventional way of thinking."
"After four years of intense efforts and learnings, I feel even more conviction that it is the key to continued success and there is much more success to be had in the future.
"I would also like to express my love and best wishes to the amazing people of Israel and say that you will remain in my daily prayers and I have great confidence that your future will continue to be bright and exciting.
"I will finish by saying that while we have all played a role in these breakthroughs, Middle East peace is such an impossible task that it is only possible due to the intent and blessings of G-d.
"The Middle East is a region replete with stories of both triumph and defeat from biblical to modern times. Every morning in my daily prayers I recite the paragraph, sim shalom, in which I ask G-d to grant peace, goodness, blessing, grace, loving kindness and compassion to us and to all of Israel your people.
"May we continue to appreciate God's miracles every day but always pursue the righteous path to make this world a better place," Kushner concluded.