Kushner slams Palestinians, critics of UAE-Israel peace deal

Kushner slams Palestinians, critics of UAE-Israel peace deal
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 16, 2019. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 17 August 2020

Kushner slams Palestinians, critics of UAE-Israel peace deal

Kushner slams Palestinians, critics of UAE-Israel peace deal
  • Jared Kushner stressed that Israel will not move forward with annexation of large parts of the West Bank without approval from US President Donald Trump
  • Kushner said Palestinian ‘credibility is at an all-time low,’ and this is weakening their support among many Arab countries, especially in the Gulf

CHICAGO: More Arab countries will “normalize” relations with Israel, US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jared Kushner predicted, strongly denouncing the Palestinians and other critics of the UAE-Israel peace deal.

In a teleconference briefing attended by Arab News on Monday, he stressed that Israel will not move forward with annexation of large parts of the West Bank without approval from US President Donald Trump, and that the UAE believes the agreement gives Palestinians “hope.”

Kushner said stopping annexation was one of the conditions the Palestinians had set in order to return to the negotiating table, and their failure to respond positively is undermining the longstanding support they have enjoyed in the Arab world.

“We’ve built a very trusting relationship with Israel. President Trump is committed to holding them (Israel) accountable, and Israel has agreed with us that they won’t move forward (with annexation) without our consent, and we don’t plan to give our consent for some time,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what proposals you put out. They (the Palestinians) have the same talking points that their attack dogs say. Quite frankly I feel the world has started to block out the noise that comes out of there because it’s so predictable and it’s so illogical.”

Kushner said Trump is “ready to engage at any time” with the Palestinians to resolve the conflict, but warned: “We aren’t going to chase the Palestinian leadership. We’ve reached out to them and said if you want to engage now, the application of Israeli sovereignty (annexation) is on hold. They said they’d come back and negotiate if that happened. That has now happened. We’ll see what they decide to do.”

Kushner said Palestinian “credibility is at an all-time low,” and this is weakening their support among many Arab countries, especially in the Gulf.

“Even people who want to help the Palestinians, those people are seeing you can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves. There’s a lot of frustration in the region with the Palestinian leadership,” he added.

“It’s because they’re either stuck in the past, or they don’t want to make peace, or maybe they have a plan that none of us could figure out. I don’t see how their current actions are leading to the Palestinian people having a better life.”

Kushner said Trump has four priorities in dealing with the Arab world: Prevent aggression and military conflict, defeat Daesh, “fighting the long-term battle against extremism” and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said Trump has done more than others to achieve peace, citing the “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain in 2019, which committed $50 billion to the Palestinians.

But, Kushner added, Palestinian rejection of peace efforts has marginalized them among many Middle East nations.

“That plan would double their GDP (gross domestic product), create a million jobs and reduce their poverty rate by 50 percent,” he said.

“The Palestinians boycotted that conference and everyone else showed up, which really changed the narrative in the region to basically people saying, ‘what’s wrong with the Palestinian leadership?’” he added, emphasizing that Trump’s plan would result in a two-state solution.

Saying the plan can still move forward, Kushner added: “Israel has made a very generous offer for a state and for land swaps. The ball is really in the court of the Palestinians now, and obviously he (Trump) welcomes them at any time to come to the table. I think President Trump has earned the trust of his Gulf partners more so than his predecessors.”

Kushner brushed aside the Palestinian leadership’s criticism. “There’s a full offer on the table. They can have a Palestinian state. They can have self-determination. They can have dignity,” he said.

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque, that issue is fairly resolved. The king of Jordan is the custodian of the mosque. If Muslims want to come and pray, they can come and pray, so that issue is resolved at this point.”


UN says 12 murdered in Syria camp in two weeks

UN says 12 murdered in Syria camp in two weeks
Updated 22 January 2021

UN says 12 murdered in Syria camp in two weeks

UN says 12 murdered in Syria camp in two weeks
  • The foreigners are families of jihadists from the Daesh group

BEIRUT: Twelve murders have taken place at a displaced camp in northeast Syria in just over two weeks, the UN said Thursday, sounding the alarm over an “increasingly untenable” security situation.
Held by Kurdish forces, Al-Hol camp — Syria’s biggest — holds almost 62,000 people, of whom more than 80 percent are women and children, including Syrians, Iraqis and thousands from as far afield as Europe and Asia.
The foreigners are families of jihadists from the Daesh group, which seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014. The Iraqi and Syrian residents of the camp largely fled subsequent fighting between Daesh and Kurdish forces.
“Between 1 and 16 January, the UN received reports of the murders of 12 Syrian and Iraqi camp residents,” said the UN statement, adding that an Iraqi woman was among those killed.
“The disturbing events indicate an increasingly untenable security environment at Al-Hol,” it added.
The camp had already witnessed several security incidents in recent months, sometimes involving Daesh supporters.
These have included escape attempts and attacks against guards or staff employed by NGOs, sometimes with knives, other times with firearms.
The UN statement published on Thursday said that Imran Riza, its Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, and Muhannad Hadi, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, expressed their “serious concern over the deteriorating security conditions” at the camp.
The two UN officials also stressed the “urgent need for durable solutions to be found for every person living in the camp.”
Since the fall of IS’ self-proclaimed caliphate in March 2019 after a US-backed Kurdish offensive in eastern Syria, Kurdish authorities have repeatedly demanded that countries repatriate women and children.
But most countries, especially European nations, are reluctant to take back their citizens. Some, including France, have brought home a limited number of French jihadists and children.
“The recent rise in violence... jeopardizes the ability for the UN and humanitarian partners to continue to safely deliver critical humanitarian assistance,” the UN statement added.
Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011 after the violent repression of protests, quickly spiralling into a multi fronted conflict that pulled in numerous actors, including jihadist groups and foreign powers.