(July 3, 2019 / JNS) U.S. President Donald Trump remains “very fond” of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, despite a breakdown in ties between Ramallah and Washington, according to senior White House official and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner on Wednesday.
In a telephone briefing with reporters, Kushner faulted Palestinian leadership for rejecting the Trump administration’s Mideast peace initiative, which started last week with an economic summit in Bahrain.
“Look, you have a situation when this whole thing started where you had 800,000 Jewish refugees that came out of all the different Middle Eastern countries and you had 800,000, roughly, Palestinian refugees,” he said. “And what’s happened to the Israeli, to the Jewish, refugees, is they have been absorbed by different places, whereas the Arab world has not absorbed a lot of these refugees over time.”
“This situation exists because it exists. And when we put out a political solution, we’re going to try to put forward the best proposed solutions that we think are pragmatic, achievable and viable in this day and age.”
Nonetheless, Kushner remarked that he has “a lot of respect” for Abbas, whom he said has “devoted his life to trying to make peace.”
“I do believe in his heart he wants to make peace, and my hope is that we’re going to be able to give him that opportunity to try and achieve that,” he said.
Kushner noted that the political component of the administration’s Mideast peace plan will likely not be released until after a new Israeli government is in place following new elections in mid-September.
“We will be announcing probably next week what our next steps are going to be, and then we will keep pushing forward,” he said, without elaborating.