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Kushner says Palestinians not ready to govern themselves

Jared Kushner meets Israeli PM Netanyahu during his trip to Jerusalem [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 June, 2019

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US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has stated that Palestinians are not ready for self-government and could expect continued military and political intervention from Israel.
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has suggested in an interview that the Palestinians are not ready to govern themselves ahead of the expected release of his peace plan.

Speaking to US news site Axios, Kushner also said he was not concerned over whether the Palestinians do not trust him since they will base their decisions on whether the plan will improve their lives.

"The hope is, is that over time, they can become capable of governing," Kushner said when asked if he believes the Palestinians can govern themselves without Israeli interference.

According to excerpts from the interview published late Sunday on the Axios website, Kushner said the Palestinians "need to have a fair judicial system... freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions" before the Palestinian territories can become "investable".

Kushner told Axios that the Palestinians "should have self-determination", without saying whether that would mean an independent state or some lesser form of autonomy.

He has previously hinted that the plan will not endorse creating a Palestinian state.

In the Axios interview, Kushner said "I think that it's a high bar" when asked if the Palestinians could expect freedom from any Israeli governmental or military interference.

"If you don't have a proper government structure and proper security when people are living in fear of terror, that hurts Palestinians," he said.

The Palestinians have already dismissed the upcoming peace plan, saying Trump's actions so far have shown him to be blatantly biased in favour of Israel. They will not attend an upcoming summit in Bahrain which will discuss the economic aspects of Kushner's plan.

Those actions include declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian aid and closing the Palestinians' representative office in Washington. Israel has also hinted that the plan would allow it to annex settlements in the West Bank.

"I'm not here to be trusted," Kushner told Axios, saying that he differentiates between the Palestinians and their leaders.

He said he believes the Palestinian people will look at "the facts and then make a determination: Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?" adding, “when I speak to Palestinian people, what they want is the opportunity for a better life. They want the opportunity to pay their mortgage.”

His comments were widely disparaged on social media, with the activist group Jewish Voice for Peace tweeting, "Kushner very clearly hasn't spoken to a single Palestinian if this is what he thinks is making life unbearable."

The interview was recorded before Kushner's visit to Jerusalem last week, a trip that also included stops in Morocco and Jordan. Jordan reiterated its commitment to Palestinian statehood during Kushner's visit.

The peace plan was previously delayed over Israel's April 9 general elections and could now face further postponements related to Israeli politics.

Israel will go to the polls again on September 17 after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition, and such a plan is considered too sensitive by many analysts to introduce during an electoral campaign.

Read more: The road to Palestinian prosperity does not lead through Bahrain

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