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Jared Kushner on the two-state solution: ‘let’s just not say it’

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On Thursday evening, Senior White House advisor and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner described the Middle East peace plan he will unfurl in June as a lengthy “operational document” that will focus on details rather than “high level concepts.” He declined to confirm if the plan, which has been kept secret, will include a Palestinian state but spoke at length about an “economic visions for the region” and a “business plan” to address “what’s been holding” Palestinians “back economically.”

Speaking at the Washington Institute’s Soref Symposium with Robert Satloff he said, “If you say two-state it means one thing to the Israelis, it means one state to the Palestinians and we said, let’s just not say it. Let’s just work on the details of what this means.”

The remarks come weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected to a fifth term and made a campaign promise to annex settlements in the West Bank.

Kushner said he has not discussed applying Israeli sovereignty with Netanyahu, but hoped both Israel and the Palestinians would avoid unilateral steps before his deal is made public. He did clarify moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is compatible with his proposal.

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that will be part of any final agreement anyway,” he said.

“Our number one goals are we want the Palestinians’ lives to get better and we want Israel’s security to be stronger and we want both sides to be able to find a pathway to come together and figure out how to bridge some of these previously unbridgeable divides,” Kushner said.

Satloff recently warned in an op-ed for Foreign Policy, Kushner’s plan is a mistake that “risks triggering a chain of events that would result in a decision by Netanyahu to annex parts of the contested West Bank.” He questioned Kushner if focusing on “Israeli security” and “Palestinian dignity” would lead Palestinians to balk at the proposal.

“It is not unreasonable for a Palestinian to hear that equation and say, ‘where is my political aspiration?’” Satloff said.

“I think that for the Palestinians the political aspirations are important, I do believe that what we will put out will address a lot of their political aspirations, a lot of their dignity that is important to us, but I just think that they are at a point where they are not able to live the lives that they think they deserve because a lot of this [political division] has kind of screwed it up for them,” Kushner said.

“The average Palestinian does not have a ton of faith in their government, they don’t have a ton of faith in their Arab neighbors, they don’t have a ton of faith in Israel, they don’t have a ton of faith in America,” Kushner said.

“They have been lied to for a long time by a lot of people and I think they are at a place where they don’t know what to believe or who to believe,” he said.

Speaking of the decade -ong split in the Palestinian leadership, Kushner said Hamas holds the population in Gaza “hostage” while the government in Ramallah represses the West Bank where Palestinians “question whether the leadership is actually looking after their interest or not.”

The Palestinian leadership has said in advance of the plan’s release that they will not accept any proposal that does not include the creation of a Palestinian state and accused the U.S. of “financial blackmail,” after cutting off more than $200 million in aid. Most recently this assertion was made after Israel froze the transfer of millions in tax revenues.

Officially, Palestinian negotiators and the Trump administration cut off contact in December 2018, but barbs have been traded in statements and speeches, even in front of one and another at the United Nations.

More recently, special envoy Jason Greenblatt, Kushner’s partner in developing the deal, took to Twitter to chide Palestinian leaders for concentrating on “calcified talking points that have not brought peace but only misery and prevented job creation.”

Despite the bitterness, Kushner was optimistic that his plan would be acceptable to the Palestinian people, if not the leadership who have “basically been attacking a plan that they don’t know what’s in it.”

“We think it could be very acceptable to them and the question will be whether the leadership has the courage to try to jump in and to try and to achieve it,” he said, “and whether they have the intent for preservation or whether they have the intent for actually betterment of the lives of their people.”

The plan, it seems, is not a document that would need to be accepted in full by both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“We do hope that what we put out has a lot of different pathways that could potentially make this better,” Kushner said.

“Success can look like a lot of different things. It can look like an agreement, it can look like a discussion, it could lead to closer cooperation, maybe resolve a couple of issues, maybe not?” he said.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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7 Responses

  1. edthespark on May 3, 2019, 9:23 am

    Great news

    • eljay on May 3, 2019, 3:05 pm

      || edthespark: Great news ||

      Yup, it does seem to be less than no news.

    • Misterioso on May 4, 2019, 9:50 am


      Here’s some real “great news.”

      “Victory – Judge supports UMass panel on Palestinian human rights”

      “There simply cannot be a First Amendment exception when it comes to Palestine.”
      (Boston, MA) May 2, 2019: “A Massachusetts district court ruled in favor of allowing a panel discussion at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to go ahead earlier today. The May 4 panel discussion ‘Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights’ will be held as planned, despite the legal request for an injunction to halt the panel, premised on a false accusation of antisemitism against the panelists, event sponsors and attendees.

      “Jewish Voice for Peace member Attorney Rachel Weber explained that, ‘The judge ruled that to shut down this event would be to violate the First Amendment. But we also challenged the false premise that criticism of Israel is somehow inherently anti-Semitic. We have every right to criticize Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. As members of JVP, and as Jews, we stand in solidarity with the event and with the panelists.’

      “This lawsuit is part of a national trend attempting to silence the free speech rights of students and faculty who advocate for justice and human rights in Israel and Palestine. Responding to the attempt to shut down the May 4 event, UMass Amherst Professor of Philosophy Joseph Levine stated, ‘The attempt to tar everyone associated with the movement for Palestinian rights with the brush of antisemitism is part of a systematic campaign to build a wall of denial behind which Israel can continue to call on the US to aid and abet its brutal oppression of millions of Palestinians living under occupation and in exile.’

      “UMass student Anna Ben-Hur explained, ‘As a Jewish student member of Students for Justice in Palestine, I’m deeply uncomfortable with the claims that this event is anti-Semitic. The struggle for Palestinian and Jewish freedom is the same struggle – it’s a movement against white nationalism.’

      “Palestine Legal Senior Staff Attorney Radhika Sainath added: ‘The court rightly recognized that UMass can’t censor Saturday’s event just because some people disagree with the message that Palestinians deserve freedom and equality. There simply cannot be a First Amendment exception when it comes to Palestine.’

      “Joining Jewish Voice for Peace Western MA in asking the court to reject the injunction were event panelists Linda Sarsour, Marc Lamont Hill, Roger Waters, Dave Zirin, moderator Vijay Prashad, event organizer Sut Jhally and the Media Education Foundation, and co-sponsor Students for Justice in Palestine at UMass-Amherst. The University of Massachusetts Amherst was represented separately and also opposed the lawsuit and request for injunction.

      “The panel discussion ‘Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights’ will address recent attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar and other progressives who have spoken out against Israel’s 50-year military occupation of Palestinian land. Admission is free to the event which will begin at 6:30PM on Saturday May 4 at the Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Free tickets will be available at the door the night of the event. For more information visit

      Attorney Rachel Weber and JVP-Western Mass members Ethan Plofsky and Emily Eliot Miller are available to speak with the media
      Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists..

  2. Ronald Johnson on May 3, 2019, 9:46 am

    See the Video of the Soref Symposium. It is theater of the absurd. Jared Kushner keeps a straight face, … well, barely.

    Meanwhile, 666 Fifth Avenue gets bailed out by the Brookfield Assets fund, which stands to gain by the Administration’s novel push for nuclear power in Saudi Arabia. That is, if contracts are awarded to Westinghouse Nuclear Services, newly-owned by the Brookfield Assets fund.

  3. JLewisDickerson on May 3, 2019, 2:05 pm

    “Success can look like a lot of different things. It can look like an agreement, it can look like a discussion, it could lead to closer cooperation, maybe resolve a couple of issues, maybe not?” ~ Kushner

    IN OTHER WORDS: Success is a great, big, double ‘nothing burger’ with all the soggy, stale, day-old fries you can eat.
    Bon appétit, y’all!

  4. Kay24 on May 3, 2019, 10:13 pm

    So Mahmoud Abbas has turned down BIin Salman’s offer of $10 Billion to accept Kushner’s ridiculous Peace Plan (most probably favoring his favorite nation, Israel). Bin Salman is repaying Kushner for his valuable advice and guidance, to get out of the ugly PR nightmare, when he ordered Khashoggi’s killing. If Abbas decides to accept this, and the Palestinians get nothing, but peace in name only, he is letting his people down very badly.

    Kushner and Bin Laden are dishonest brokers, and co-conspirators to playing the Palestinians out leaving them with nothing, after losing so much to the occupier.

    Did Saudi Arabia offer Palestine Pres. Mahmoud Abbas Billions to bow to Kushner ‘Deal of Century’?

  5. CigarGod on May 4, 2019, 11:45 am

    Dad bribes Harvard into accepting his son.
    Dad dies and he takes over real estate business at age 24.
    …which qualifies him to become a “Senior” advisor to The President of the United States of America.

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